Tagged: Latinos in the Major Leagues

Yadier Molina: St. Louis Golden Boy

Yadier Molina.jpgYadier Molina has three goals for this season.

“I’m looking to win a World Series, try to hit .300 and try to win another Gold Glove,” said Molina recently at the St. Louis Cardinals winter fan festival.

On a Red Bird team where Albert Pujols is “El Hombre,” many players tend to go unnoticed.

The young Molina should not.

In five seasons, he has won two Gold Gloves, caught one 20-game winner, caught one Cy Young award winner, and was elected to start in last year’s All-Star Game at his own home turf.

“Yadi”, as known in the Gateway Arch city, hit the home run shot that gave the Cardinals the lead in Game Seven of the 2006 National League Championship Series.

In the same game Molina was who called for Adam Wainwright to pitch the the change up to fellow Puerto Rican and Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, setting the stage for Adam Wainwright’s curve ball for the final out and a trip to the World Series.

Last season, he was a key player in their National League Central Division championship.

In a few interviews during the winter, Molina said similar words about his goals but he emphasized on winning his third National League Gold Glove in a row.

Possibly nowadays some players do not give real importance to the Gold Glove Award, which is given annually for those who have shown a superb individual performance in their fielding position.

The award, presented by Rawlings, is given in both the National League and American League.

For Molina it is really important. He wants to prove that he is the best catcher today in baseball.

Not that he has anything against his older brothers, fellow major league catchers, Giants Bengie Molina, and Yankees Jose Molina.

He just wants to be the best.

Not an easy task when he wants to emulate his hero, future Hall-of-Famer Ivan Rodriguez.

Molina  knows his baseball history and particularly that defensively, “Pudge” Rodriguez has won the most Gold Gloves as a catcher in Major League history with 13 career awards in the American League.

Molina also knows that since 1988 catchers from his native Puerto Rico have dominated the Gold Glove Award, except in the 1991 and 2005 seasons.

Those names are Rodriguez, brother Bengie, Benito Santiago, and Sandy Alomar Jr., and he wants to keep on the tradition.

Manager Tony La Russa has said publicly that he has a lot of confidence in Molina and expects him, once again, to have a great 2010 season.

As for Molina, he knows he is not Pujols, but he is the gold glove “hombre” behind the plate.

Latino Winners of the most Gold Gloves at his position:
Catcher-Ivan Rodriguez   / 13
First Base- Vic Power   / 7
Second Base- Roberto Alomar / 10
Third Base- Adrian Beltre / 2
Shortstop- Omar Vizquel   / 11
Outfield- Roberto Clemente / 12
Pitcher- Joaquin Andujar; Johan Santana; Fernando Valenzuela / 1


Due Up Next: Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa

palmeirososa.jpgMark McGwire finally came clean with the truth.

The “Bic Mac” was not different to former performance-enhancing drugs users Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte, Jason Giambi, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz.

In the long run, they have to admit it–they were cheaters.

At least, McGwire called it the most “regrettable mistake” in his life.

The question nowadays is “who’s next?”

Next should be Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa.

Both have yet to divulge their personal transgressions.

For years both former sluggers had been named in multiple reports for their steroid use. They know they were not clean, and they know we know it.

Palmeiro and Sosa should know this is their time. It is. Both they know they have to clean their images to have the chance to be immortalized someday in Cooperstown.

Palmeiro quietly built numbers over a 20-year career that can be compared with Latino greats Roberto Clemente and Rod Carew.

The Cuban-born first baseman was a four-time All-Star; three-time Gold Glover, and two-time Silver Slugger.

He ended his career as member of the exclusive 500-home run and 3,000-hit club and is only one of four players in history to be member of both.

However, Palmeiro has never been forgotten for his actions at a Congressional hearing in 2005; while under oath, he pointed his finger, stating “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”

Same with Sosa.

Most fans probably have forgotten that he was the biggest player ever after Ernie Banks in a Cub uniform. He was the “Bambino Latino” from the Dominican Republic that electrified fans for many seasons Wrigley Field.

He and McGwire were the men who gave us that magical 1998 season.

Sosa and McGwire were back-to-back in the pursuit of Roger Maris’ single-season home run record of 61. McGwire wound up with 70 and Sosa with 66.

No doubt his final career numbers are bound for the Hall of Fame.

However, what many fans remember is Sosa with an interpreter telling Congress after many years in the States he did not speak English and he should be excused.

As with McGwire, both Palmeiro and Sosa were liars in the infamous 2005 Congressional hearing on baseball and steroids.

Please, no more lies.

According to substantial media reports, Palmeiro and Sosa are not the only Latinos that should step forward for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Juan Gonzalez, a two-time American League MVP and two-time American League home run champion, had been mentioned often to have used steroids and human growth hormone mainly during his glory days as a Texas Ranger.

Gonzalez is eligible next year in the Hall of Fame ballot, and it should be his time to speak up too.

Other active Latino players highly mentioned by media reports are Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Delgado, Magglio Ordoñez, and José Guillén.

It has been reported that, in Latin America, the reaction of the McGwire news was muted and taken with little fuss.

Probably very true.

South of the border, baseball-loving fans want their heroes to have the courage to come clean on the use of controlled substances.

They want that Palmeiro, Sosa, and many others to at least make the attempt to help close the chapter of the so-called steroid era in Major League Baseball.

Let’s hope they make it soon.

The MLB’s Latino Decade Team: The 2000’s

pujols.jpgThe 2000’s are heading into history.

As in all sports, fans love to know the opinion of who were the best players of the decade.

As Barry Bonds was the man in the 1990’s, this decade was all property of Albert Pujols.

“El Hombre” from the St. Louis Cardinals his offensive numbers made all the talking hitting every year for at least a .300 average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in.

He was as good as a hitter, defensively as a first baseman and as a ball player off-the-field that it was a no brainer was MLB’s Player of the Decade.

Both The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated agreed with the latter.

Pujols was the king of the diamonds but there were other bunch of player that excels to their best through the decade.

Only Latino great names from the best of the best of the decade of the 1990’s around major league baseball are Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and Omar Vizquel. Very possibly the duo will be future shoo-ins into the Hall of Fame.

Long gone are those great from the 90’s as Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Bernie Williams.

There is a great possibility Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martinez will be getting next January their enshrinement into Cooperstown.

As we are approaching the 2010’s this is a good time to select the All-Decade Latino Team for the 2000’s.

Our MLB’s Latino Decade Team 2000-2009:
C-Jorge Posada
1B-Albert Pujols
2B-Placido Polanco
3B-Alex Rodríguez
SS-Miguel Tejada
OF-Carlos Beltrán
OF-Vladimir Guerrero
OF-Manny Ramírez
SP: Bartolo Colón, Liván Hernández, Pedro Martínez, Johan Santana, Javier Vázquez
RP: Mariano Rivera


Hanley Ramirez: En Silencio Total

hanley.jpgPor tiempo hemos aprendido que Hanley Ramirez no es un pelotero de mucho hablar.

Al final de temporada cuando ganó el título de bateo de la Liga Nacional pocas palabras se le escucharon decir a los medios de comunicación.

Ahora que arribó segundo en la votación para el premio de Jugador Más Valioso de su circuito tampoco nada de nada del joven torpedero y toletero de los Marlins de Florida.

Sí esta contento, feliz, afortunado, satisfecho o otro adjetivo es una pura adivinanza.

Lo que muchos seguidores suyos especialmente en la Ciudad del Sol les anda preocupando del acertijo es que sí su silencio es por alguna razón en especifico.

Sencillamente los rumores están volando por los aires floridianos que tanto los Medias Rojas de Boston como los Cardenales de San Luis andan interesados en sus servicios.

El joven Todo-Estrella dominicano desde que llegó a la novena Marlin en el 2006 ha sido la luminaria de este conjunto.

El quisqueyano tiene en su resumé el galardón de Novato del Año de la Nacional; dos veces Todo-Estrella; dos veces Bate de Plata; tres veces Marlin del Año y claro esta su reinato de bateo con .342 de promedio.

Ramírez se convirtió en el primer Marlin en la historia en lograr un título de bateo y solo el cuarto campocorto en la historia de la Nacional en ser un titular con el madero. Antes que Ramírez el último paracorto en obtener un titulo de bateo lo fue en 1960 Dick Groat de los Piratas de Pittsburgh.

Entre los suyos de tierra quisqueyana, Ramirez se unió al exclusivo club de reyes de bateo en Las Mayores a los nombres de Mateo Alou, Rico Carty, Julio Franco, Alex Rodríguez, Manny Ramírez y Albert Pujols.

Ademas de su título de bateo, Ramírez terminó entre primeros diez en alrededor de nueve importantes categorias ofensivas.

Sí no hubiese sido por el super año de Pujols seguramente el natural de Samaná hubiese sido el candidato más fuerte para Más Valioso y hubiese sido el primer Marlin en obtener tal reconocimiento.

El Marlin más cercano antes de esta pasada temporada a tal distintivo lo fué el venezolano Miguel Cabrera en el 2005 y el 2006 que arribó en ambas ocasiones en quinto lugar en la boleta.

Vale señalar que Ramirez ha estado en la boleta de Más Valioso por la ultimas tres temporadas.

Lo que le inquieta a muchos aficionados de los Marlins es sí Ramírez terminará igual que Cabrera. En otro uniforme despues de haber irradiado en el uniforme de los Marlins donde tantas estrellas han pasado y tiempo despues han sido desvanecidos a otros equipos.

Y ojo que como están las cosas por la económia en que andamos viviendo cualquier cambio puede suceder.

El mismo Miguel Cabrera esta siendo ofrecido hoy día como pieza de canje por sus Tigres de Detroit. Muy interesante ver quien toma su contrato actual que le faltan seis años y $120 millones.

También muchos rumores andan revoleteando que los Bravos de Atlanta desean canjear a Javier Vazquez; los Padres de San Diego a Adrian González; los Rangers de Texas a Nelson Cruz; los Mets de Nueva York a Carlos Beltrán y los Cachorros de Chicago a Alfonso Soriano.

Dos ex-Marlins quien sabe si regresan a su antigua hueste floridiana. Tanto Luis Castillo de los Mets como Mike Lowell de los Medias Rojas de Boston están siendo ofrecidos por sus equipos como piezas de cambio.

También andan rumorandose al presente como fichas de cambios entre otros Bengie Molina, Placido Polanco, Marco Scutaro, Rafael Soriano y José Valverde.

De Hanley Ramírez no debe haber sorpresa alguna de los rumores tanto con Boston o San Luis. Ambas franquicias publicamente este pasado verano dejaron saber que sí hubiese la oportunidad de obtener sus servicios las puertas estaban abiertas para negociación.

Los Marlins inauguran su nuevo estadio en el 2012. Estará Hanley Ramírez en el uniforme de Florida ?

El tiempo dirá. Veremos.

The All-Time Latinos in the Majors By Country

haab.jpgEvery fan knows them. They are cheer. Some times not.

Albert Pujols is known as “El Hombre” in St. Louis and possibly could win his third career National League MVP award.

Felix Hernandez is known as “El Rey” in Seattle and possibly could win his first career Cy Young award.

Elvis Andrus is regarded the next best shortstop in the model of Omar Vizquel in the majors. Fans of the Texas Rangers are waiting to see if he will be this season’s American League Rookie of the Year.

Fans know many more of them and have high regards of them.

Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins is this season’s National League batting champion; superstar New York Yankees Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada; Carlos Lee in Houston and Miguel Cabrera in Detroit.

Of course, there is always in Dodger Blue Manny being Manny in Los Angeles and new names to follow in the other side of Los Angeles’ Angels, Kendry Morales.

All of them Latinos.

They all come from the passionate countries of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Venezuela.

We know them today but through history all this countries have supplied the best of the best to the majors.

As of the end of the 2009 season, these are the top Latinos by country:

At Bats

Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 10,472

Dominican Republic: Sammy Sosa, 8,813
Panama: Rod Carew, 9,315

Puerto Rico: Roberto Clemente 9,454
Venezuela: Luis Aparicio, 10,230

Batting Average

Cuba: Tony Oliva, .304

Dominican Republic: Albert Pujols, .334
Panama: Rod Carew, .328

Puerto Rico: Roberto Clemente, .317
Venezuela: Magglio Ordoñez, .312


Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 3,020

Dominican Republic: Julio Franco, 2,586
Panama: Rod Carew, 3,053

Puerto Rico: Roberto Clemente 3,000
Venezuela: Omar Vizquel, 2,704


Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 585

Dominican Republic: Manny Ramirez, 531
Panama: Rod Carew, 445

Puerto Rico: Ivan Rodriguez, 547
Venezuela: Bobby Abreu, 483


Cuba: Tony Taylor, 86

Dominican Republic: Juan Samuel, 102
Panama: Rod Carew, 112

Puerto Rico: Roberto Clemente 166
Venezuela: Luis Aparicio, 92

Home Runs

Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 569

Dominican Republic: Sammy Sosa, 609
Panama: Carlos Lee, 307

Puerto Rico: Carlos Delgado, 473
Venezuela: Andres Galarraga, 399

Runs Batted In

Cuba: Rafael Palmeiro, 1,835

Dominican Republic: Manny Ramirez, 1,788
Panama: Carlos Lee, 1,103

Puerto Rico: Carlos Delgado, 1,512
Venezuela: Andres Galarraga, 1,425


Cuba: Luis Tiant, 229

Dominican Republic: Juan Marichal, 243

Puerto Rico: John Candelaria, 177
Venezuela: Johan Santana, 122

All-Time Latino Wins Leader is Nicaragua’s Dennis Martinez, 245



Cuba: Mike Cuellar, 3.14

Dominican Republic: Juan Marichal, 2.89

Puerto Rico: John Candelaria, 3.13
Venezuela: Johan Santana, 3.13

All-Time Latino ERA Leader is Panama’s Mariano Rivera, 2.25



Cuba: Danys Baez, 114

Dominican Republic: Jose Mesa, 321

Puerto Rico: Roberto Hernandez, 326
Venezuela: Francisco Rodriguez, 243

All-Time Latino ERA Leader is Panama’s Mariano Rivera, 526

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10 Latino MLB ’09 Season Highlights

Ivan Rodriguez.jpgFor more than a century, fans across America have called out Major League Baseball as “The Show”.

It is true is America’s pastime. It is also true in Latin America.

For Latinos beisbol is the greatest show and season after season there is a moment, a feat or an accomplishment that will go to the history books.

These were the 10 Latino season highlights of 2009:

  • Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez with the Houston Astros recorded career game number 2,227 on June 17 against the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez career game 2,227 as a catcher passed Carlton Fisk for most games caught in major league history. Rodriguez was traded on August 18 to the Rangers.
  • Omar Vizquel of the Texas Rangers became Venezuela’s all-time hits leader on June 25 against the Arizona D’Backs with his career hit 2,678. He surpass hall of famer Luis Aparicio.
  • Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees on June 28against the New York Mets became the only second pitcher ever to break the 500 save mark. In that game he also hit his first career RBI. Rivera trails Trevor Hoffman in the majors career saves list.
  • Jonathan Sanchez of the San Francisco Giants tossed his first career complete game in the majors and best was a no-hitter July 10against the San Diego Padres.
  • Johan Santana of the New York Mets became Venezuela’s all-time winning pitcher on July 11 against the Cincinnati Reds. Santana finished the season with career 122 victories. Freddy Garcia is second in Venezuela’s victories list with 121.
  • Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers pinch hit his 21st career grand slam on July 22 against the Cincinnati Reds, placing him second behind Lou Gehrig major league grand slam career record 23.
  • Ramon Castro of the Chicago White Sox joined the Puerto Rican catcher fraternity (Eliseo “Ellie” Rodriguez, Javier Lopez, Ivan Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Geovany Soto) that had caught a no-hitter in their careers in the majors. Castro was behind the plate for Mark Buehrle when he tossed his perfect game July 23 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Francisco Rodriguez of the New York Mets became Venezuela’s all-time leader on September 6 against the Chicago Cubs with career save 238 surpassing Ugueth Urbina career 237 saves.
  • Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees drives an American League record seven RBIs in an inning on a three-run homer and a grand slam on the last game of the regular season October 4 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Rodriguez feat secured his 12th consecutive season of 30 homers and 100 RBIs, tying Jimmie Foxx’s major-league record (1929-1940). Rodriguez’s 13th season of 30/100 is a record.
  • Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins became only the fourth National League shortstop to win a batting title. Ramirez finished the season with .342.


MLB’ Top 10 Latino Yankees in League Championship Series

mariano.jpgJoe Girardi is fully enjoying his first appearance in League Championship Series as the New York Yankees manager.

Hopefully he would love that his joyous ride continues all the way to the Fall Classic. However, first of all they have to beat the red hot Los Angeles Angels.

As a manager, Girardi is counting with one of each of its squad members in order to accomplish the wish of all fans, management and themselves. However, publicly he has mentioned that two very important players in order to get to the World Series are All-Star and Reliever of the Year Mariano Rivera and catcher Jorge Posada.

Both Rivera and Posada were part of the three-peat championships (1998-2000) and the not so lucky 2001 and 2003 teams. Both are part of a probable Yankee era that is getting to his end with such luminaries as Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte.

For many years Latino players have been part of the fabric of the success of the New York Yankees. Of course, Rivera, whom probably will be a future hall of famer, and Posada are a big part of history.

This is a good moment to remember, in my opinion, are the top 10 performances by Yankee Latino players in League Championship Series action:

Bernie Williams, 1996, .474, 2 HR, 6 RBI

Bernie Williams, 1998, .381, 0 HR, 5 RBI
Orlando Hernández, 1999, 15.0 IP, 1 W, 13 SO

Mariano Rivera, 1999, 4.2 IP, 2SV, 0.00 ERA

Orlando Hernández, 2000, 15.0 IP, 2 W, 14 SO

Bernie Williams, 2000, .400, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Alfonso Soriano, 2001, .400, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Bernie Williams, 2001, .235, 3 HR, 5 RBI

Mariano Rivera, 2003, 8.0 IP, 2SV, 1.12 ERA, 6 SO

Jorge Posada, 2003, .296, 1 HR, 6 RBI