NEW RECORD: Aroldis Chapman Surpassed Cuban Legend

By Reynaldo Cruz

For a long time, Diego Seguí was the Cuban pitcher with the most games pitched. But this pitcher from Holguín, who pitched between 1962 and 1977, led the American League in ERA in 1970 (2.56) and participated in most of his games as a reliever, has just been eclipsed in this record by another pitcher from his homeland: Aroldis Chapman.

In what seemed to be a routine outing in which he again allowed runs for the fourth consecutive time (three hits, one earned run and one strikeout), although he did manage to earn his ninth save of the current campaign, the lanky left-hander from Cayo Mambí participated in the 640th game of his career in the majors, moving past Seguí’s 639.

Seguí, whose son David Seguí played as a first baseman and outfielder with fairly decent numbers in the Show, debuted with the Kansas City Athletics as a swingman. He stayed with the yellow-green team until 1965, taking the unfortunate merit of leading the circuit in losses in 1964. In 1966 he would move on to the second version of the Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers) and would return to the Athletics the following year, remaining with them until the middle of the 1972 season, including the club’s migration to Oakland and the Seattle Pilots’ only season in 1969.

The right-hander had 10 or more wins in three straight campaigns, including ’70, when he finished 10-10 and was the leader with a 2.56 ERA. In mid-1972 he moved to the National League with the St. Louis Cardinals, and after that half season and another full year with the Redbirds, he went to the Boston Red Sox for two more years. In 1977 he had his last hurrah with the Seattle Mariners.

In total, Seguí would amass 92 wins with 111 losses, 3.81 ERA and 71 saves, with 1,298 strikeouts and 786 walks.

Aroldis, on the other hand, debuted with the Cincinnati Reds in 2010, and has yet to start a game in the majors. Since the beginning, he has stood out for his velocity, becoming the fastest pitcher ever clocked, and his strikeout capacity, at a rate of 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

After leaving for the Yankees in 2016, he went to the Chicago Cubs mid-season, winning Game 7 of the World Series with them—although his goal that day was really to save, but the overuse Joe Maddon gave him took its toll—and then returned to the Bombers. After a low-key season in 2020, motivated in part by the pandemic, he returned with 30 saves and an All-Star Game nomination in 2021, though he was rather intermittent in the second half of the campaign.

This year, despite some instability in his last outings, he has been in very good shape, and now he has just added another record to the fact of being the Cuban with the most saves in the MLB with 315, by becoming the Cuban with the most games pitched in the Big Show. For the time being, the 700 games pitched are in sight, and do not seem at all unattainable, because with the pace of last year he could achieve it this season or the next.

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