The 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:
SP: Bartolo Colón, Liván Hernández, Pedro Martínez, Johan Santana, Javier Vázquez
RP: Mariano Rivera
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.
Major League Baseball announced few weeks ago, on Roberto Clemente Day, the names of the 30 finalists for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.
The award is given annually to the Major League Baseball Player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field.
Among the winners are 13 members of the Hall of Fame and nominees this year feature 13 players selected for the 2009 All-Star Game. And once again you the fans have the opportunity to vote for who you think deserve this coveted award.
For Pittsburgh Pirates fans, Clemente’s name live in the nostalgia of great years long gone.
Even though he was not present, he would have been proud of Willie Stargell and his 1979 “We Are Family” World Champions.
He would have been proud of Jim Leyland’s Bucs from 1990-92.
But sitting up there in heaven, he can’t be proud of the club’s 17-year cycle of futility and losing. By the way, that’s a new major league record.
This season, they’ve proved to be so bad that the only position player remaining from opening day is catcher Ryan Doumit.
I bet Clemente would not be proud of what used to be, from the ’60s to the ’90s, a franchise driven year after year to have in its roster the best Latino players possible.
Let’s not forget either that a day like Sept. 1, 1970 Manager Danny Murtaugh made the first all-black and Latino lineup in MLB history.
Clemente was batted third in that lineup that beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-7 at Three Rivers Stadium.
Clemente who was a very proud man himself definitely would be very sad to see what have become his once great Bucs whom are inothing great and not even for 2010.
Only a light from heaven can give them little brightness for the future.
Since the start of the season rumors flew that 2009 would most definitely was Carlos Delgado’ last season in the Big Apple.
Even though was considered one of the key players for a pennant run this season, management knew behind the scenes most likely the 37-year-old Delgado, whose contract expires after this season, was not going to be ask to return.
For Mets management luckily they have the excuse to tell him goodbye after Sept. 28.
Delgado could never comeback from hip surgery and derailed by a right oblique strain. Not withstanding if he makes a comeback in the final weeks and shows his healthy no matter what it is very unlikely he will be ask to be a Met in 2010.
Well, no matter if he would not have suffered his setback Delgado would have been a victim anyway.
Fred Wilpon, the Mets principal owner, was one of the hardest hit financially by the losses caused by the Ponzi scheme run by his former friend Bernard Madoff.
According to various media reports, it have been divulged that Wilpon business, Sterling Equities, lost an estimate $700 million in Madoff’ $65 billion fraud revealed last December.
Moreover, it is not clear yet if Wilpon will lose more money in rights if the federal government re-asserts that Citigroup have to withdraw the name from Mets’ Citi Field as part of the federal banking bailout settlement.
However Delgado’ fate was not only because Wilpon’s financial distress.
Mets management has been closely watching if younger and less expensive Daniel Murphy could replace him in first base.
Another choice that has been mentioned is to trade make a trade for San Diego Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez. Due his high-priced tag words is also the Mets will make trades for Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes.
As for Delgado, he has said he wants to play in 2010.
If he can show he can comeback from injury odds are very likely he will land a deal as a designated hitter in the American League. Nobody be surprise the Toronto Blue Jays bring him back for a year with incentives.
Let keep in mind Delgado is a player with strong leadership skills and power hitting. Let be clear if it had not been for his hip injury he was coming from a 2008 season in which he hit 38 homers and 115 RBI.
Delgado is hungry career ego. The Puerto Rican All-Star, who wears number 21 in honor of Roberto Clemente, well knows that his shy of 27 dingers to reach the home-run club. That means possible Cooperstown bound.
Who will consider Delgado, time will let us know.
In two weeks Latinos living in the United States will start celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.
It is the period to recognize the contributions of Hispanics to the United States and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.
Every year Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries–Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16 and Chile on September 18. October 12, Columbus Day or Dia de la Raza, also falls within this 30-day period.
As a Florida resident and a baseball fan and writer, I have to acknowledge that one of the most notable contributions to the Sunshine State is baseball itself.
I can write a whole essay about it. However I’m going to keep it short and bring on the best 20 Latinos that have played either for the Marlins or Rays in the major leagues.
This season we are watching in both sides of the state two great All-Stars from the Dominican Republic.
The Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez is going on with an MVP season and is one month shy from winning his first career batting title in the National League.
On the other side, the Rays’ Carlos Peña is on pace to finish the season as the American League home run king.
This is my list of the top 20 Latinos to wear a Marlins and/or Rays jersey in the Major Leagues:
Luis Castillo (Marlins)
Miguel Cabrera (Marlins)
Hanley Ramírez (Marlins-active)
Mike Lowell (Marlins)
Alex González (Marlins)
Antonio Alfonseca (Marlins)
Edgar Renteria (Marlins)
Liván Hernández (Marlins)
Iván Rodríguez (Marlins)
Moises Alou (Marlins)
Bobby Bonilla (Marlins)
Armando Benitez (Marlins)
Ugueth Urbina (Marlins)
Carlos Delgado (Marlins)
Alfredo Amezaga (Marlins)
Jorge Cantu (Rays/Marlins-active)
Dioner Navarro (Rays-active)
Carlos Peña (Rays-active)
Roberto Hernández (Rays)
Julio Lugo (Rays)
This is the time of the year that many players are thinking October. It is the time to step up en route to the World Series.
Every franchise in the post-season race is looking closely at their so-called “super nine”, but there is always one or two players that can make the difference.
These are the Latino players that their franchises need, and count on as key factors.
These are the Latinos that can be their key master to this year 2009 Fall Classic.
New York Yankees: 3B-Alex Rodriguez; P-Mariano Rivera
Boston Red Sox: 3B-Mike Lowell
Tampa Bay Rays: 1B-Carlos Peña
Detroit Tigers: IB-Miguel Cabrera; OF-Magglio Ordoñez
Minnesota Twins: SS-Orlando Cabrera
Chicago White Sox: Ozzie Guillen (Yes! The Manager)
Los Angeles Angels: OF-Vladimir Guerrero
Texas Rangers: P-Neftali Perez; C-Ivan Rodriguez
Philadelphia Phillies: 3B-Pedro Feliz; C-Carlos Ruiz
Florida Marlins: SS-Hanley Ramirez; 3B-Jorge Cantu
Atlanta Braves: SS-Yunel Escobar; P-Javier Vazquez
St.Louis Cardinals: 1B-Albert Pujols; C-Yadier Molina
Los Angeles Dodgers: OF-Manny Ramirez; SS-Rafael Furcal
Colorado Rockies : P-Ubaldo Jimenez; P-Jorge de la Rosa
San Francisco Giants: C-Bengie Molina; 3B-Pablo Sandoval
Since 1929 when the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians were the first major league clubs to wear uniform numbers, players have been marked forever by their jersey numbers.
In Yankee Stadium at Monument Park you can see all the famous numbers that have been immortalize by such names as Billy Martin, Babe Ruth, JoeDiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly and Reggie Jackson.
The most famous no. 8 ever in Baltimore Orioles history was Cal Ripken. In Boston the most notable no. 9 ever was Ted Williams. No fan in Philly have forgotten that no. 20 was property of Mike Schmidt.
In Pittsburgh never has been forgotten the no. 8 Willie Stargell and number 21 Roberto Clemente.
Every franchise has its own history. Every fan is loyal to their favorite player’s number. When I pitched in the little leagues I was no. 30 in honor of Nolan Ryan. When my pitching young days were over my jersey number was no. 8 in honor of Dickie Thon.
This is my list of numbers that have been immortalize by latinos in Major League Baseball history:
3-Alex Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners-Texas Rangers))
11-Luis Aparicio, Edgar Martinez, George Bell
13-Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees), Dave Concepcion, Omar Vizquel
18-Moises Alou, Omar Moreno
19-Juan Gonzalez, Bert Campaneris
20- Jorge Posada
21-Roberto Clemente, Sammy Sosa, Ruben Sierra, Carlos Delgado (New York Mets)
24-Tany Perez, Manny Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera
25-Jose Cruz, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Lowell, Carlos Delgado (Toronto Blue Jays)
27-Juan Marichal, Vladimir Guerrero
30-Orlando Cepeda, Dennis Martinez, Magglio Ordoñez
34-David Ortiz, Fernando Valenzuela
45-Pedro Martínez, Carlos Lee. John Candelaria
46-Tony Armas Sr.