Results tagged ‘ national league ’

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

 

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.

 

Proud Pittsburgh Pirates Team Roberto Clemente Knew Pillaged Over the Years


clemente.jpgMajor 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.

Who Will Consider Carlos Delgado for 2010?


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.

MLB’ Top 20 Latinos in Florida History


hanley.jpgIn 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)

MLB’ Key Latino Players Down The Stretch

al.jpgThis 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.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
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

NATIONAL LEAGUE
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

Baseball’s Best Latino Players By Number

clemente.jpgSince 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:

0-Rey Ordoñez
1-Luis Castillo
2-Hanley Ramírez
3-Alex Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners-Texas Rangers))
5-Albert Pujols
6-Tony Oliva
7-Ivan Rodríguez
8-Dickie Thon
9-Minnie Miñoso
10-Miguel Tejada
11-Luis Aparicio, Edgar Martinez, George Bell
12-Roberto Alomar
13-Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees), Dave Concepcion, Omar Vizquel
14-Andres Galarraga
15-Carlos Beltran
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
29-Rod Carew
30-Orlando Cepeda, Dennis Martinez, Magglio Ordoñez
34-David Ortiz, Fernando Valenzuela
35-Mike Cuellar
40-Bartolo Colón
41-Victor Martínez
42-Mariano Rivera
45-Pedro Martínez, Carlos Lee. John Candelaria
46-Tony Armas Sr.
51-Bernie Williams
53-Bobby Abreu
55-Fausto Carmona
57-Francisco Rodriguez
61-Livan Hernández
63-Rafael Betancourt
74-Ugueth Urbina

MLB’ Best Latino Players Last 20 Seasons

Ivan Rodriguez.jpgESPN is celebrating 20 years of covering Major League Baseball and the network asked fans to vote for their all-time team of the last 20 seasons.

At this moment, fans are being asked to pick the winners for each position.

Not surprisingly, winning names in this national poll have been Edgar Martinez as the top DH, Albert Pujols top first baseman, Ivan Rodriguez as top catcher, and Mariano Rivera as the top closer in the last 20 years.

All players from Latin America.

For the last 23 years I have been covering the Major League Baseball beat of the Puerto Rican and Latin American players, and over that time I have seen a bunch of great players.

I’ve also seen how appealing they are to their fans. I have seen how hall-of-famers Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Tany Perez, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, and Juan Marichal are perceived as never-gone heroes in the respective towns they played in in their hey-days.

Nowadays players like Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Manny Ramirez, Johan Santana and many others are closely watched and being regarded as the No. 1 players of their respective franchises.

Quite different to ESPN’ SportsNation Poll, I will share whom I believe are the best Latino players the last 20 years. Most possibly readers will have have a different opinion, but this is my own Latino All-Star team.

Catchers-Santos Alomar Jr., Javier López, Jorge Posada, Iván Rodríguez, Benito Santiago

First Base-Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Delgado, Andrés Galarraga, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols

Second Base-Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Julio Franco

Third Base-Vinny Castilla, Mike Lowell, Alex Rodríguez

Shortstop-Hanley Ramirez, José Reyes, Miguel Tejada, Omar Vizquel

Outfielders-Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltran, José Canseco, Juan González, Vladimir Guerrero, Magglio Ordoñez, Sammy Sosa, Bernie Williams

Pitchers-Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana

Closers-Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez

Designated Hitter-Edgar Martinez, David Ortiz

Bye, Bye Baltimore Orioles

alomar1.jpgC’mon…whom the South Florida politicians are kidding that are sad and crushed with the departure of the Baltimore Orioles from Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

“It’s very, very dissapointing to see a tremendous era of spring training end”, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Selier said. “It’s a sad day”.

Yeah, right.  Since 2004, the team has been on a year-to-year lease with the City of Fort Lauderdale. Every time a possible discussion for a long term deal was brought to the table by the Orioles there was always some type of road block.

Finally after so much, should I stay or should I go, the franchise is relocating to the state’s west coast. The City of Sarasota and its county approved a $31.2 million renovation and expansion of Ed Smith Stadium, which hosted the Cincinnati Reds from 1998 to 2009. Also renovations were approved for the Twin Lakes Park, the new Orioles’ full time minor league complex.

The Orioles are expected to be in Sarasota next February.

In this side south side of the Sunshine State a big deal have been made now that it will be without a major league team in the spring for the first time in 60 years.

Let’s not forget long time ago Fort Lauderdale was home for the New York Yankees for 33 seasons before they went off to Tampa in 1995.

One year later, in 1996, Fort Lauderdale became the spring training home of the Birds franchise. Since that opening year you could hear the rumbles of problems between the two sides. It look the marriage was not going to be a long one.

It is true the nowadays Orioles are not even close to those of the late 90’s anchored by Cal Ripken Jr. and other big name stars such as Roberto Alomar, Mike Mussina and many, many others.

However no matter the Orioles product, the City of Fort Lauderdale never show a commitment and effort to keep them for a long time in town.

Let’s not forget either they are the same politicians never wanted to build a home for the Florida Marlins. Hey, no sorrow and complaints now that they will be the Miami Marlins in 2012.

Fort Lauderdale should not cry. The truth is they never like the baseball business in their backyard.

Cheers to Sarasota. The Orioles will have a spring training home there for the next 30 years.

Bye, Bye Orioles.

NOTE: The author covered the Baltimore Orioles from 1997 to 2008. Thanks Bill Stetka for your support to the international media.

MLB’ Midseason Report: 2009 Latino Awards


al.jpg

The All-Star Game is almost here and the 2009 season have reached its historically midway point of its schedule, making the perfect moment for this year Midseason Awards.

Disregard the predictions written back in April. Both The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated had the Yankees, Twins, Angels and Red Sox making October . Both publications went Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers and Mets in the National League.

Honestly, not bad at all. Except in both Central Division, the Tigers and the Cardinals at the moment are changing the spring prognosis.  Also,  the Angels have to be careful with the surprising Rangers  in the American League West. Moreover,  in the National League wild-card race unless the Mets get a miracle as the famous New York expression “Forget About It!”. At the moment the Giants, Marlins and Brewers look best for the coveted prize in the old circuit.

I will not give any forecasts. After all, who said back in 2007 the Colorado Rockies would make it to the World Series. Nobody crystal ball predicted the Phillies and the Rays last season in the October Classic.

Let’s have fun. Here are my midseason award winners:
American League

Best Team: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees (tie)
Surprise Team: Texas Rangers
Disappointing Team: Cleveland Indians
Best Latino Player: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Best Latino Pitcher: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
Best Latino Rookie: Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
Best Boricua: Mike Lowell, Boston Red Sox
Best Latino Surprise Player: Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers
Dissapointment Latino Player: Magglio Ordoñez, Detroit Tigers
Forget About Him!: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

National League
Best Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Surprise Team: San Francisco Giants
Disappointing Team: Chicago Cubs
Best Latino Player: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Best Latino Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
Best Latino Rookie: Omir Santos, New York Mets
Best Boricua: Carlos Beltrán, New York Mets
Best Latino Surprise Player: Joel Piñeiro, St. Louis Cardinals
Dissapointment Latino Player: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs
Forget About Him!: Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers

My Midseason Latino All-Star Team:
C Victor Martinez (Indians); 1B Albert Pujols (Cardinals); 2B Robinson Cano (Yankees); 3B Mike Lowell (Boston); SS Hanley Ramirez
(Marlins); OF Carlos Beltran (Mets); Carlos Lee (Astros); Juan Rivera (Angels); P Felix Hernandez (Mariners); PR Mariano Rivera (Yankees).

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook

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