The player Yoanis Delgado Pedroso, former head of the Sancti Spíritus and member of the legendary baseball family Gourriel Delgado, He died this Thursday night a victim of COVID-19. He had just turned 39 years old.
The death of the former player and coach occurred shortly before 8 pm in an intensive therapy room of the Provincial General Hospital “Camilo Cienfuegos” of Sancti Spíritus, after remaining in critical condition due to bacterial bronchopneumonia, as confirmed by CiberCuba sources close to the family.
It was kept coupled to artificial respiration equipment since last September 23, in a battle for life that had the solidarity of his former teammates in the national team of Espirituan, and with the support of friends and family from abroad.
Yoanis was the son of José Raúl Delgado Diez, a stellar receiver for the Sancti Spíritus teams and the national team, and a cousin of the idol Lourdes Gourriel and his sons Yuliesky, Yunieski and Lourdes Jr, all high-profile figures in Cuban baseball. Yulieski and Lourdes Jr play today in the United States Major Leagues after an outstanding career in their country.
“Once again Cuban baseball is dressed in mourning with the death of Yoanis after several days fighting for his life,” said Edmundo González, former coach and baseball statistician and friend of the Delgado family. “The terrible pandemic hits us again, depriving of life a good human being who deserved to live with his children, wife and parents. Rest in peace Yoanis!”
The news moved baseball fans, the media and sports authorities in Sancti Spíritus.
“He could not, not even with the vigil of days of his father José Raúl Delgado and his mother Yolanda on the outskirts of the Camilo Cienfuegos Provincial Hospital, where they accompanied him, also for days, who were his teammates: Frederich Cepeda, Yunior Ibarra, Ifreidi Coss, Pedro Álvarez, José Luis Sáez, Ismel Jiménez, Roberto Ramos, Miguel Rojas … and many others, “he wrote in a emotional article the sports journalist of the newspaper Escambray, Elsa Ramos.
Yoanis’s gravity brought together dozens of baseball players and personalities on a daily basis outside the provincial hospital, in a show of affective support for the sick athlete and their family members.
The population of Espirituana was also mobilized to provide help to the sick athlete and even requests were made on social networks to send them the drug Heparin Sodium or Fraxiparin, an anticoagulant apparently not available in the hospital institution.
“He could not, neither with the magic of his smile that used to contrast with the regalness of his character. He could not, nor with the strength of all Yaguajay that raised him for days with the hope of having him back through its streets where he drew affections and admiration, “added the journalist, who is married to former pitcher Roberto Ramos, the mainstay of the Villareño teams.
The Gourriel family, who live in Miami, have followed the evolution of Yoanis’s disease from the beginning. His cousins Yulieski (Houston Astros) and Lourdes Jr (Toronto Blue Jays), currently in their respective teams’ battle to reach the major league playoffs, have been kept up to date on the situation.
Born on August 30, 1982 in Yaguajay, Sancti Spíritus, Yoanis followed in his father’s footsteps and was a receiver with the Gallos de Sancti Spíritus during ten national series, between 2000 and 2010.
With the flannel of the Cuban team, he participated in the Youth Baseball World Cup in Canada (2000), the Haarlem International Tournament (2002), in the Netherlands, and the Messina University Baseball World Cup (2002), in Italy.
After his retirement, he dedicated himself to training and educating young talents in his native Yaguajay, and assumed responsibilities as a manager in front of teams in the territory in provincial tournaments.
Sancti Spíritus is one of the epicenters of the Covid-19 pandemic in Cuba. The province has one of the highest incidence rates in the country for the last 15 days, with 2,704.83 per 100,000 inhabitants.
This Thursday the provincial territory registered 628 infections, with critical situations in the municipalities of Trinidad, Jatibonico, Cabaiguán and Sancti Spíritus.