For 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.
Joe 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