Meet "The Cuban Missile" Alexei Ramirez
A total of 156 MLB Players and Managers past and present were born in The Republic of Cuba. Most of these players were born in Havana which has a population of about 2.5 Million. About 10 players including 8X All-Star and 1964 AL Rookie of The Year Tony Oliva were born in a city just Southwest of Havana called Pinar Del Rio. (Pop. 200,000)
In September 2007, 26 Year Old Cuban Baseball star Alexei Ramirez left Pinar Del Rio and filed for citizenship in the Dominican Republic. Alexei was able to enter the D.R. legally because his wife is a Dominican Citizen. Ramirez hit .332 with 87 home runs and 391 RBIs in seven seasons in Cuba with Pinar Del Rio. In 2006, he hit .335 with 68 RBIs and led the league with 20 homers. The Chicago White Sox immediately took a liking to the Cuban Star and signed him on December 21, 2007 to a 4 year $4.75 Million contract He has been given the nickname The "Cuban Missile" based on his excellent combination of speed and power.
Alexei Ramirez seemed poised and ready to play in the MLB by impressing coaches with his skills during spring training. He started off the season slow hitting a weak .138 in April but showed some life batting .295 in the month of May. Nothing to be impressed by that's for sure, but everything has changed for Alexei Ramirez since June 1.
In the first week of June, Ramirez hit .586 picking up 3 hits in a game 4 times. He also slugged 2 HRs with 9 RBIs and only struck out one time. Lucky for me, I needed "Middle-Infield" help in one of my Fantasy Leagues right about that first week of June. It seems to me like that was the week Alexei Ramirez finally made it through the "Adjustment Period" all International MLB players go through. For the entire month of June, Ramirez hit .355 and he is hitting .346 in the month of July. Ramirez hit a Grand-Slam last week vs Texas and has hits in six of his last eight games and has five RBI in his last three. Overall, I am getting some good Fantasy Production from Alexei Ramirez these past couple of weeks.
"Right now we have to work with him at second base if he's going to make it," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of Ramirez. "He's pretty rough at second base." If MLB Advanced Media wasn't so stubborn, I could go to YouTube and link that "Ridiculous" play Alexei made the other day on that flip to Konerko. Instead, you'll just have to watch it here.
At 26 years of age, Alexei Ramirez is a seasoned Professional Baseball player who may just win the MLB 2008 AL Rookie of The Year Award. To think that he is actually in his "prime" is something White Sox fans can be satisfied with. The best chance for the White Sox to win another Championship is right now or within the next few years. Alexei Ramirez has played in big games before, but just not in the MLB. With the White Sox, he will get his chance and it will be televised to the masses. It will be fun to watch because Cuban baseball stars dream of showing their skills on the "Big-Stage".
Sox fans everywhere can only hope that the Blue Jays don't miraculously sneak into the MLB playoffs and get matched up with the Sox because Ramirez doesn't have the right paperwork yet to be able to cross into Canada. I'm glad I needed someone in my Fantasy League. It gave me a chance to get to know some fresh faces in MLB baseball. One of those is Alexei Ramirez. Although Fidel Castro retired as the President of Cuba in 2008, the fear of the "Cuban Missile" still remains...Just in the minds of a few teams in the AL Central.