Cooperstown is the hallowed hall of the immortals of the sport of balls and strikes. It is the greatest aspiration of the players after they reach the Major Leagues. But not everything works well in this sports institution, as several Latino players deserve recognition and have been forgotten.
Only 19 players and three narrators born in Latin America, plus a leader (of Cuban descent), have their names engraved in the Hall of Fame.
Among the players, the list is headed by Cuba, with six: Martín Dihigo (1977, Black Leagues), Tany Pérez (2000), José de la Caridad Méndez (2006, Black Leagues), Cristóbal Torriente (2006, Black Leagues), Tony Oliva (2022, Veterans Committee) and Orestes Miñoso (2022, Veterans).
Puerto Rico has five: Roberto Clemente (1973), Orlando Cepeda (1999, Veterans), Roberto Alomar (2011), Iván Rodríguez (2017) and Edgar Martínez (2019).
The Dominican Republic accumulates four: Juan Marichal (1983), Pedro Martínez (2015), Vladimir Guerrero (2018) and David Ortiz (2022).
Panama has two: Rod Carew (1991) and Mariano Rivera (2019). While Venezuela has one player: Luis Aparicio (1984).
In addition to these players, Cooperstown welcomes the manager Alejandro Pompez (2006), born in Key West, but of a Cuban father, who was an executive and owner of the Cuban Stars and New York Cubans teams of the Negro Leagues (1916-50 ). Also to three narrators (Ford C.Frick Award): the Argentine Eloy “Buck” Canel (1985), the Ecuadorian Jaíme Jarrín (1998) and the Cuban Rafael “Felo” Ramírez (2001).
These 23 figures are in the Hall of Fame on their own merits. But they are not the only retired Latinos who have credentials to be in Cooperstown. Today, we want to take a look at a group with merit, some with potential, and others that will continue to wait or be eliminated forever.
CUBA: With statistical merits for the Major Leagues: Luis Tiant, Rafael Palmeiro and José Canseco. For the Negro Leagues: Alejandro “El Caballero” Oms and the leader Roberto “Bobby” Maduro. Luis Tiant deserves to be recognized. Palmeiro (569 homers, 3,020 hits, 1,835 RBIs) and Canseco (462 homers, 1,407 RBIs) are off the ballot as they are ignored on steroids.
Alejandro Oms (.330 average between 1922 and 1935) with four Negro League teams has been forgotten. If we look at his numbers, he should be looked at more seriously.
Bobby Maduro, with an extraordinary legacy in Cuban and Latin American baseball, owner of the Cerro Stadium in Havana, majority owner of the Cuban Sugar Kings (Triple A) and Major League Baseball coordinator for Latin America between 1965 and 1978, gather merits as a leader.
The Cuban player with the best chance: Louis Tiant. Through the Veterans Committee.
In the future: As manager Bobby Maduro and as baseball player Alejandro Oms (In the event that both receive greater advertising management).
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: By statistics in the Major Leagues: Alex Rodríguez (born in New York, Dominican parents), Sammy Sosa, Adrián Beltré, Bartolo Colón and Manny Ramírez. For the Negro Leagues: Juan “Tetelo ” Vargas, known as “El Gamo Dominicano” because of his speed on the field, and who was also a superstar in Latin America. Similarly, Horacio “Rabbit” Martínez, considered one of the best defensive shortstops of all time.
Alex (696 homers, 3,115 hits and 2,086 RBIs) will one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but it won’t be soon because of steroids. Sammy Sosa (609 homers) doesn’t have the support he needs for the same reason.
Bartolo Colón, the Latino pitcher with the most wins (247) and winner of a Cy Young Award in 2005 (21-8-3.48), will find it very difficult to receive the required votes.
Manny Ramirez, with excellent numbers that include 555 home runs, 1,831 RBIs, a .312 average, a .411 OBP, a .996 OPS and an 81.8 offensive WAR (#33), has also been rebuffed by steroids.
Juan “Tetelo” Vargas, who hit .356 with .419 on base in the Negro Leagues, does not have the support for playing only five seasons in that tournament. While Horatio “rabbit” Martinez will continue to be ignored.
Adrián Beltré finished his career with 477 home runs, 3,166 hits, 1,707 RBIs with a .286 offensive average, he will be on the ballot for the first time in 2022.
The Dominican with the best chance: Adrian Beltre. He must be chosen at the first opportunity of him.
In the future: Alex Rodriguez. And Manny Ramírez could do it through the Veterans Committee. Maybe Sammy Sosa (with a lot of luck).
PUERTO RICO: With numbers to be recognized: Carlos Beltrán, Juan Igor González, Carlos Delgado and Jorge Posada. For the Negro Leagues: Francisco “Pancho” Coimbre who surpassed the .300 mark in all the seasons he played in this baseball.
Carlos Beltrán finished with 435 home runs, 1,587 RBIs, 312 stolen bases, 2,725 hits and a Power-Velocity average of 364.9 (#9 all-time). Looking at his numbers, we can say that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But he weighs the traps made on the field acting in 2017 with the Houston Astros.
Juan Igor González was one of the best hitters of his time. He had 434 homers, a .295 average, 1,404 RBIs, a .343 on-base percentage and a .904 OPS. While Carlos Delgado hit 413 home runs, he drove in 1,512, with a .383 on-base percentage and a .280 batting average. But both players had suspicions of steroids.
Francisco “Pancho” Coimbre, a star among the great luminaries of the Negro Leagues and Latin America, only appeared in four seasons in the Negro Leagues, with the New York Cubans.
Jorge Posada has enough numbers looking at him as a catcher. He had no suspicion of illegal substances. But he did not receive the necessary votes in 2017 (3.8%) to stay on the ballot.
Puerto Rican with a better chanceCarlos Beltran. Although it may not be induced on the first occasion.
In the future: Through the Veterans Committee and being very lucky: Jorge Posada, Juan Igor González and Carlos Delgado.
PANAMA: With good statistics: Carlos Lee (358 home runs, 1,363 RBIs and a .291 average). But he has been off the ballot since 2018. It will be very difficult for him to receive votes through the Veterans Committee.
VENEZUELA: They gather credentials by their numbers: Omar Vizquel and Bobby Abreu.
David Concepción, Andrés Galarraga, Magglio Ordónez, Víctor Martínez and Johan Santana had excellent races, but they will not be recognized by the Veterans Committee.
When we look at Bobby Abreu’s overall stats (288 homers, 1,363 RBIs, .291 batting average, 1,453 runs scored, .395 OBP, and 400 stolen bases), we’re bound to say he deserves to be honored. The same goes for Omar Vizquel, who has been one of the best defensive shortstops in history with 11 Gold Glove awards.
Venezuelan with the best chance: Omar Vizquel will be in his sixth year on the ballot and Bobby Abreu in his fourth. Perhaps they will be chosen in the next votes. Otherwise, they will go to the Veterans Committee.
NICARAGUA: The best exponent of this country is pitcher Dennis Martinez (Veterans Committee) who accumulated 245 wins with a 3.70 ERA. He has no chance.
COLOMBIA: Edgar Rentería and Orlando Cabrera (Veterans Committee). No chances.
MEXICO: Fernando Valenzuela, Vinicio Castilla and Adrián González (Veterans Committee). No chances.
It is true that a group of Latinos who are not in Cooperstown deserve to be honored for the accumulated statistics. But when we see that Barry Bonds, considered by many to be the greatest hitter of all time; and Roger Clemens one of the great pitchers, their names passed to the Veterans Committee, the obligatory question is this: What could we expect for these remaining players with excellent numbers, but inferior?
Upcoming Latino players who could be chosen: Dominican Adrián Beltré in the next election. Cuban Luis Tiant for the Veterans Committee, in 2023. Puerto Rican Carlos Beltrán also has merits to be elected in his first year, but the problem he had in 2017 with illegal signs depends on the importance that most voters give him. .
In the future: If you are not elected on the first ballot, Carlos Beltrán must be recognized in the following. Also the Dominican Alex Rodríguez. The Venezuelan Bobby Abreu should enter before regulation years to do so by the United States Baseball Writers Association.
Through the Veterans Committee: Only with a lot of luck, Puerto Ricans Jorge Posada and Juan Igor González. The Venezuelan Omar Vizquel. Dominicans Manny Ramírez, Bartolo Colón and Sammy Sosa. Cuban Alejandro Oms for the Negro Leagues, if they wish to honor him. And in the event that Bobby Abreu does not receive the votes in the normal way, then he could be chosen by the Veterans.
NOTE: After the retirement (very close) of the Dominican Albert Pujols and the Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera, both must be elected on the first ballot. But this will be after 2027.
This story was originally published on February 27, 2022 5:37 p.m.
We wish to thank the writer of this short article for this remarkable material
Why have these deserving Latino ballplayers in Cooperstown been forgotten?