Designated hitter Frederich Cepeda of Cuba at bat in the top of the first inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool E Game Four between Cuba and Japan at the Tokyo Dome on March 14, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Cuban baseball legend Frederich Cepeda broke the all-time extra base hit record in Cuban Baseball League history on Friday with the Gallos de Sancti Spíritus.
In the second year of the Cuban Elite League, Cepeda, 43, hit a solo home run over the right field wall Friday for the 854th extra base hit of his career in his fifth at-bat of the game. He hit the homer off Industriales de La Habana relief pitcher Yosvani Penalver in the top of the ninth inning in a 6-2 loss on the road at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana.
Avispas de Santiago de Cuba legend Orestes Kindelan previously held the record with 853 extra-base hits during his career. There have only been four other players in Cuban Baseball history with 700-or-more extra base hits: Omar Linares with 785, Antonio Pacheco with 774, Antonio Munoz with 713, and Lazaro Junco with 709.
Cepeda has played 26 seasons during his career in Serie Nacional, the Elite League, the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol with Toros de Tijuana in 2018 and a lone season in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan in 2015 with the Yomiuri Giants.
Cepeda has played in 1,964 games in 26 seasons, making 8,451 plate appearances with 2,126 hits, 415 doubles, 51 triples, 314 home runs, 1,240 RBI, 37 stolen bases, 1,852 walks, 933 strikeouts and a 1.037 OPS in his career.
Cepeda has played in six international senior events with the Cuban National Team during his career and has won nine gold medals, collecting the top prize at the 2004 Olympics, the 2003 and 2005 Baseball World Cup, the 2022 and 2006 Intercontinental Cup, the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, and the 2006 and 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Cepeda was a part of four World Baseball Classic teams, appearing for Cuba in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2017, and helped them reach the finals in 2006 against Japan at Petco Park, where they lost 10-6.
Cepeda has 32 hits and 23 RBI in the World Baseball Classic, which is the most by any player since the tournament began in 2006. He recorded 23 RBI through his first 19 games of the WBC before playing in the 2013 tournament. Cepeda recorded 10 hits in 2006, 12 hits in 2009, nine hits in 2013, and one hit during the 2017 event. Cepeda also holds the walk record in the WBC with 22 free passes, ahead of Carlos Beltran’s 19.
The 2023-24 Elite League season includes the top six teams that finished from the 2023 Serie Nacional regular season standings. The Elite League is in its second year of operation by the Federacion Cubana de Beisbol.
The Gallos de Sancti Spíritus, at 5-3, will play Industriales de La Habana, also 5-3, at 6:30 p.m. EST in Havana at Estadio Latinoamericano on Saturday. The Gallos de Sancti Spíritus and Industriales de La Habana are tied for first place.