Padres Special: Yonder Alonso and Odrisamer Despaigne Have Family History

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Courtesy: UT San Diego
Courtesy: UT San Diego

Both Odrisamer Despaigne and Yonder Alonso are of Cuban decent. Each player is currently a San Diego Padres player. They also share an interesting history that goes back one generation. Yonder Alonso’s father use to catch Odrisamer Despaigne’s father when each played in the Cuban League.

When Francisco Despaigne joined the Industrailes of Cuba’s premier Serie Nacional, Luis Alonso was the starting catcher. The catcher was known as a great defensive catcher who worked well with pitchers. The younger in age Franciso Despaigne looked forward to working with Luis Alonso. Who would have thought the two would have sons playing on the same major league team some 30 years later?

It’s an amazing story that warms your heart. Coming from a country in such turmoil like Cuba, it’s astounding that these families were once again linked three decades later. Yonder Alonso and Odrisamer Despaigne were born four days apart in April 1987. The friendship and bond they have is beyond just being countrymen and baseball players, it’s about life.

In 10 seasons with the Industriales Francisco Despaigne was 46-37 with 39 saves. He had a career ERA of 3.70 in 293 games for his countries professional league. In 1992 Despaigne had his best season where he led the league in ERA at 0.92. He was a quality pitcher, and his make-up is said to be similar to his son’s.

When Yonder Alonso talked to his father and he told him he used to catch Odrisamer Despaigne’s father, he reported that the elder Despaigne used a lot of arm angles. He also said he had a great curve and pitched with a lot of command. Sounds just like what the Padres current pitcher brings to the table each time he toes the rubber.

Luis Alonso evenually retired from the Industriales in the early 90’s and immediately became a coach with the team. He was granted permission to leave Cuban in 1997 and the Alonso family settled in Miami. Yonder Alonso eventually went to the University of Miami and was a first round draft pick (7th overall) from the Cincinnati Reds in 2008.

The elder Despaigne coached in Cuba after his 10 year playing career. He went on to play in El Salvador and Spain, where he still coaches baseball in Barcelona to this day. His son Odrisamer Despaigne played eight seasons with the Industriales compiling a 58-42 record with a 3.81 ERA. That is in 208 games and 105 starts in the Cuban league. Very similar numbers to his father.

The game of baseball is a game that reflects life in my opinion. I really do believe that. The circular patterns that make up life are evident in the game of baseball. You really never know what is around the corner and the story of these two ball players reflect just that.

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