SABR

Interesting Inter-American League Items

By John Cronin

This article was published in the Spring 2011 Baseball Research Journal.

Editor's note: This article is a sidebar to John Cronin's "When a Dream Plays Reality in Baseball: Roberto Maduro and the Inter-American League", from the Spring 2011 edition of the Baseball Research Journal.

  • Wayne Tyrone, who played for the Miami Amigos and led the IAL with eight homers, was a contestant on “The Price Is Right” in 1983. He ended up winning a car valued at approximately $6,500.
  • Jim Tyrone, Wayne’s brother, who also played for Miami, led the league in batting.
  • Mike Anderson, a pitcher, developed an unusual offering while playing for the Panama Banqueros: a one-finger knuckleball.
  • Before joining the Maracaibo Petroleros, pitcher Luis Aponte had been retired for three years after spending four years in the Boston Red Sox farm system. While pitching in the IAL, he developed a great forkball. This impressed the Red Sox, who re-signed him. He pitched for Boston 1980–83 and for Cleveland in 1984.
  • One player responded that his favorite thing about playing in the IAL was “Great steaks, shrimp, and beer.” This same player also indicated that his least favorite thing about playing in the IAL was “Luis Aparicio.” He also indicated that “Luis Aparicio” was the reason that he thought the IAL failed. Apparently this player was no fan of the Hall of Fame shortstop.
  • Another player said that his most memorable IAL moment was “winning $500 in a casino in Panama.”
  • One player indicated that his “scary” IAL moment involved his team not being able to leave the Dominican Republic for unknown reasons. Another player noted, “Getting out of Panama City just ahead of the Sandinistas.”
  • The Santo Domingo Azucareros couldn’t catch a break during the first six weeks of the season. During that time, 12 of their games were cancelled because of rain.
  • Panama also experienced “technical difficulties” during an afternoon game in mid-April 1979. The scoreboard was inoperable because the man who ran it worked only at night. A 30-minute rainstorm preceded the game, giving the grounds crew the opportunity to unfurl the stadium’s new tarpaulin. There was only one small problem, however; the crew, composed of mostly kids, didn’t know how to spread the cover over the field.
  • During a night game in Venezuela, the lights went off and stayed off, necessitating that the game be called.
  • Jose Alfaro, pitcher for Panama, had previously thrown a no-hitter for Dubuque Packers of the Class A Midwest League in 1975. Oddly, four other pitchers on Panama’s club had hurled no-hitters prior to the IAL.
  • The Miami Amigos got beautiful new uniforms to start the season. Before the team played a game, however, someone stole the uniforms from Miami Stadium. The club temporarily had to wear uniforms reading “Miami Marlins.”
  • At least one former IAL player met a tragic fate. Outfielder Danny Thomas of the Miami Amigos committed suicide in a Mobile, Alabama jail cell during July 1980. He was being held on a rape charge.

LEAGUE LEADERS

Batting

  • Average: Jim Tyrone, Miami, .364
  • Home runs: Wayne Tyrone, Miami, 8
  • Runs batted in: Brock Pemberton, Miami, 51

Pitching

  • Wins: Mike Wallace, Miami, 11
  • ERA: Ron Martinez, Miami, 0.89
  • Strikeouts: Al Williams, Panama-Caracas, 52

JOHN CRONIN, a longtime SABR member, currently serves on the Minor League Committee. He is a lifelong Yankees fan whose special interest is Yankees minor league farm teams over the years. A CPA and retired bank executive, Cronin has a B.A. in History from Wag- ner College and an M.B.A. in Accounting from St. John’s University.

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