Profile Cuban Omar Linares is considered to have been the most influential amateur baseball player ever. The third baseman won six World Cups and three Olympic medals, including two golds.
Born on 23 October 1967 in Pinar del Río, Omar Linares first joined the Cuban national team at the age of 17 and was therefore nicknamed "El Niño" ("The Kid"). His biggest achievements came at the Olympic Games where he was the star player of Cuba’s gold winning teams in 1992 and 1996, adding a silver medal in 2000. His most impressive display came in the 1996 Olympic final when he hit three home runs to lead his country to a 13-9 victory over Japan. Linares’s Olympic career batting average is an amazing .444. He also holds Olympic career records for most games (27), most hits (51), most at bats (115) and most home runs (14). Also, Linares was a part of Cuba’s World Cup winning teams in 1986, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2001.
"The Kid" played a total of 20 seasons for Pinar del Río, hitting 404 home runs and compiling a career .368 batting average. In 2002, Linares was given permission by the Cuban government to pursue a professional career in Japan. He joined Chunichi Dragons, but never made an impact and retired after three undistinguished seasons in Japan. However, his record with the Cuban national team is unprecedented and many feel he should be inducted in the Hall of Fame, despite never having played in the American Major League.