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Mexico Béisbol


VIVA BÉISBOL!
Although there is some dispute about exactly when and where béisbol started in Mexico, baseball has a long and colorful history in Mexico with historians placing its origin there as early as the 1840’s. Today, baseball flourishes in Mexico with a 16-team Summer League and an 8-team Winter League. Approximately 100 native Mexicans have played in the major leagues in the United States, including Fernando Valenzuela, Vinny Castilla, Ismael Valdéz, and Esteban Loaiza. The first Mexican native to play in Major League Baseball in the United States was Baldomero “Melo” Almada, who debuted with the Boston Red Sox on September 8, 1933.

The Liga Mexicana de Béisbol was founded in 1925 with six teams playing all their games in Mexico City. In the 1930s and 1940s, African-Americans from the United States—who were still barred from Major League Baseball until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947--played alongside Mexicans and Cubans in the Mexican League. This arrangement benefited the African-American players through higher salaries and better conditions than in the Negro Leagues in the United States, and helped the Mexican League gain status and revenue from increasing the caliber of their ballplayers. In 1937, legendary Negro Leagues’ stars Satchel Paige and James “Cool Papa Bell” left the Pittsburgh Crawfords to play in Latin America. After playing a year in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, Paige and Bell joined the Mexican League. In 1940, Bell won the Triple Crown, hitting .437, with 12 home runs, and 79 RBIs. The next year, fellow Negro Leaguer Josh Gibson hit .374, and set Mexican League records with 33 home runs and 124 RBIs in only 103 games. His home run mark almost tripled the existing Mexican record and stood until 1960 when the Mexican League had a longer season.

In the 1940s, multi-millionaire Jorge Pasquel attempted to turn the Mexican League into a first-rate rival to the Major Leagues in the United States. In 1946, Pasquel traveled north of the border to pursue the top players in the Negro and Major Leagues. Although he was reportedly turned down by Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio, Pasquel signed up close to twenty white major leaguers, including such well known names as Mickey Owen and Sal Maglie, and a number of Negro League players. Ultimately, Pasquel’s dream faded, as financial realities led to decreased salaries and his high-priced foreign stars returned home.

Currently, 16 teams divided into North and South Divisions play in the Liga Mexicana in a summer season, which ends in a 7-game championship series between the winners of the two divisions. Since 1967, the league has been sanctioned as an “AAA” minor league. In the winter, eight teams play in the Liga Mexicana de Pacifico, whose winner advances to the Caribbean Series against other Latin American winners.

In 1957, baseball in Mexico got a big boost when a little league team in Mexico won the Little League World Series in Williamsport. 12-year old Angel Macias won the championship for the Mexicans by throwing a perfect game against a team from La Mesa, California.

The El Sálon de la Fama, the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, has enshrined 167 into its Hall of Immortals, consisting of 138 Mexicans, 16 Cubans, 12 from the United States, and one Puerto Rican. Distinguished players include Major League Baseball stars Roy Campanella and Monte Irvin, who played in the Mexican League in the 1940s. Nicknamed “El Bambino Mexicano,” or the Mexican Babe Ruth, Hector Espino was inducted in the Mexican Hall of Fame in 1988, after playing with San Luis Potosi, Monterrey, and Tampico from 1962 to 1984. His 453 home runs remained the record until Nelson Barrera surpassed him in 2001. Espino still holds the all-time records in many offensive categories.

In international competition, the Mexican national team failed to advance beyond the second round of the World Baseball Classic in 2006. But its second-round 2-1 victory over the United States before a heavy pro-USA crowd of 38,284 in Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, proved to be a big highlight to Mexicans as the win prevented its bigger rival from moving on to the semi-finals. Mexican teams have won the Caribbean Series against other Latin countries six times, most recently in 2005 when Venados de Mazatlán won in its home town.

Links
Official Site of Mexico’s Summer League (Liga de Mexicana)
Official Site of Pacific League of Mexico
Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame

Available for Purchase
"Viva Baseball! A book about Latin Major Leaguers" by Samuel O. Regalado
"Baseball's First Mexican-American Star: The Amazing Story of Leo Najo," by Noe Torres

Players Born in Mexico

Name Birthdate Birthplace First Game
Juan Acevedo 5/5/1970 Ciudad Juarez 4/30/1995
Cy Acosta 11/22/1946 El Sabino 6/4/1972
Mel Almada 2/7/1913 Huatabampo 9/8/1933
Gabe Alvarez 3/6/1974 Navojoa 6/22/1998
Tavo Alvarez 11/25/1971 Ciudad Obregon 8/21/1995
Victor Alvarez 11/8/1976 Culiacan 7/30/2002
Ruben Amaro 1/6/1936 Veracruz 6/29/1958
Alfredo Amezaga 1/16/1978 Ciudad Obregon 5/24/2002
Bobby Avila 4/2/1924 Veracruz 4/30/1949
Luis Ayala 1/12/1978 Los Mochis 3/31/2003
Salome Barojas 6/16/1957 Cordoba 4/11/1982
German Barranca 10/19/1956 Veracruz 9/2/1979
Francisco Barrios 6/10/1953 Hermosillo 8/18/1974
Rigo Beltran 11/13/1969 Tijuana 6/2/1997
Andres Berumen 4/5/1971 Tijuana 4/27/1995
Jorge Campillo 8/10/1978 Tijuana 5/20/2005
Matias Carrillo 2/24/1963 Los Mochis 5/23/1991
Vinny Castilla 7/4/1967 Oaxaca 9/1/1991
Juan Castro 6/20/1972 Los Mochis 9/2/1995
Jose Cecena 8/20/1963 Ciudad Obregon 4/6/1988
Juan Cerros 9/25/1976 Monterrey 9/8/2003
Francisco Cordova 4/26/1972 Veracruz 4/2/1996
David Cortes 10/15/1973 Mexicali 8/30/1999
Humberto Cota 2/7/1979 San Luis Rio Colorado 9/9/2001
Jorge de la Rosa 4/5/1981 Monterrey 8/14/2004
Miguel del Toro 6/22/1972 Ciudad Obregon 4/6/1999
Elmer Dessens 1/13/1971 Hermosillo 6/24/1996
Erubiel Durazo 1/23/1974 Hermosillo 7/26/1999
Narciso Elvira 10/29/1967 Tlalixcoyan 9/9/1990
Chico Escarrega 12/27/1949 Los Mochis 4/26/1982
Frank Estrada 2/12/1948 Navojoa 9/14/1971
Hector Fajardo 11/16/1970 Sahuayo 8/10/1991
Jesse Flores 11/2/1914 Guadalajara 4/16/1942
Chico Garcia 12/24/1924 Veracruz 4/24/1954
Karim Garcia 10/29/1975 Ciudad Obregon 9/2/1995
Luis Garcia 9/22/1975 Hermosillo 4/10/2002
Daniel Garibay 2/14/1973 Maneadero 4/9/2000
Benji Gil 10/6/1972 Tijuana 4/5/1993
Geronimo Gil 8/7/1975 Oaxaca 9/8/2001
Chile Gomez 5/23/1909 Mazatlan 7/27/1935
Luis Gomez 8/19/1951 Guadalajara 4/28/1974
Edgar Gonzalez 2/23/1983 San Nicolas de los Garza 6/1/2003
Bob Greenwood 3/13/1928 Cananea 4/21/1954
Rudy Hernandez 10/18/1951 Empalme 9/6/1972
Bobby Herrera 7/26/1926 Nuevo Laredo 4/19/1951
Teddy Higuera 11/9/1958 Los Mochis 4/23/1985
German Jimenez 12/5/1962 Santiago 6/28/1988
Houston Jimenez 10/30/1957 Mexico City 6/13/1983
Max Leon 2/4/1950 Pozo Hondo 7/18/1973
Esteban Loaiza 12/31/1971 Tijuana 4/29/1995
Aurelio Lopez 9/21/1948 Tecamachalco 9/1/1974
Carlos Lopez 9/27/1948 Mazatlan 9/17/1976
Rodrigo Lopez 12/14/1975 Tlalnepantla 4/29/2000
Memo Luna 6/25/1930 Tacubaya 4/20/1954
Ever Magallanes 11/6/1965 Chihuahua 5/17/1991
Isidro Marquez 5/15/1965 Navojoa 4/26/1995
Mario Mendoza 12/26/1950 Chihuahua 4/26/1974
Sid Monge 4/11/1951 Agua Prieta 9/12/1975
Felipe Montemayor 2/7/1928 Monterrey 4/14/1953
Andres Mora 5/25/1955 Rio Bravo 4/13/1976
Angel Moreno 6/6/1955 Veracruz 8/15/1981
Noe Munoz 11/11/1967 Escatepec 4/30/1995
Miguel Ojeda 1/29/1975 Sonora 5/17/2003
Jorge Orta 11/26/1950 Mazatlan 4/15/1972
Antonio Osuna 4/12/1973 Sinaloa 4/25/1995
Vicente Palacios 7/19/1963 Manlio Fabio Altamirano 9/4/1987
Jose Pena 12/3/1942 Ciudad Juarez 6/1/1969
Oliver Perez 8/15/1981 Culiacan 6/16/2002
Tony Perezchica 4/20/1966 Mexicali 9/7/1988
Horacio Pina 3/12/1945 Matamoros 8/14/1968
Miguel Puente 5/8/1948 San Luis Potosi 5/3/1970
Alfonso Pulido 1/23/1957 Tierra Blanca 9/5/1983
Roberto Ramirez 8/17/1972 Vega de Alatorre 6/12/1998
Dennys Reyes 4/19/1977 Higuera De Zaragoza 7/13/1997
Armando Reynoso 5/1/1966 San Luis Potosi 8/11/1991
Ricardo Rincon 4/13/1970 Cuitlahuac 4/3/1997
Luis Rivera 6/21/1978 Chihuahua 4/4/2000
Oscar Robles 4/9/1976 Tijuana 5/10/2005
Sergio Robles 4/16/1946 Magdalena de Kino 8/27/1972
Aurelio Rodriguez 12/28/1947 Cananea 9/1/1967
Carlos Rodriguez 11/1/1967 Mexico City 6/16/1991
Rosario Rodriguez 7/8/1969 Los Mochis 9/1/1989
Enrique Romo 7/15/1947 Santa Rosalia 4/7/1977
Vicente Romo 4/12/1943 Santa Rosalia 4/11/1968
Jorge Rubio 4/23/1945 Mexicali 4/21/1966
Celerino Sanchez 2/3/1944 El Guayabal 6/13/1972
Jose Silva 12/19/1973 Tijuana 9/10/1996
Marcelino Solis 7/19/1930 Real de Catorce 7/16/1958
Jose Tolentino 6/3/1961 Mexico City 7/28/1991
Hector Torres 9/16/1945 Monterrey 4/10/1968
Alex Trevino 8/26/1957 Monterrey 9/11/1978
Bobby Trevino 8/15/1943 Monterrey 5/22/1968
Ismael Valdez 8/21/1973 Ciudad Victoria 6/15/1994
Mario Valdez 11/19/1974 Ciudad Obregon 6/15/1997
Benny Valenzuela 6/2/1933 Los Mochis 4/27/1958
Fernando Valenzuela 11/1/1960 Navojoa 9/15/1980
Guillermo Velasquez 4/23/1968 Mexicali 9/14/1992
Oscar Villarreal 11/22/1981 Nuevo San Nicolas de los Garza 3/31/2003



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