Rafael Robles (TRADING CARD DB)

Rafael Robles

This article was written by Malcolm Allen

Rafael Robles (TRADING CARD DB)Through the 2021 season, 29 of the 30 major-league teams have started a shortstop from the Dominican Republic on Opening Day at least once.1 Fifty-two different Dominican-born shortstops have achieved the feat, including 15 who became All-Stars the same year, four Gold Glove winners, and one MVP.2 Only Rafael Robles of the 1969 San Diego Padres manned the position for a franchise’s inaugural contest, however.

Although Robles appeared in just 47 games over parts of three seasons (1969-1970, 1972), he was also at shortstop when the Dominican Republic won its first Caribbean Series title in 1971. Yet, his professional baseball career ended just over three years later. “I wouldn’t say it was his choice, but it didn’t faze him,” recalled Robles’s son Orlando in 2021. “I think everything happened too quick. . . . It was too much too fast for a small-town guy. He had the world at his feet, and it caught up to him.”3

Rafael Radames Robles Natera was born on October 20, 1947, in San Pedro de Macorís.4 He was the oldest of five children–four boys–from the marriage of Otilio Robles and Mercedes “Chea” Natera. Rafael also had four older half-siblings from his father’s previous wife. Originally from San Juan de la Maguana, 160 miles to the west, Otilio and Chea settled in the Ingenio Quisqueya section of San Pedro de Macorís, home to one of the nation’s leading sugar production mills. Otilio managed the municipality’s transportation, and his family lived in a mansion-type house with horses, pigs, rabbits, and chickens in the backyard.

Basketball and volleyball were two sports that Rafael loved growing up, and he was an active participant in amateur baseball leagues. In 1960, one of his teams traveled to the United States as part of the People-to-People Goodwill tour. Although the Dominicans lost to a local squad in Newport, Rhode Island, Robles’s three hits and dazzling shortstop defense prompted the Newport Daily News to describe the 12-year-old as “potential professional timber.”5

By the mid-1960s, scouts from several big-league franchises agreed. But Robles’s parents didn’t want him to him to play professional baseball. Fewer than 20 Dominicans had appeared in the majors at the time, and signing a contract was not yet considered the life-changing opportunity that it later became. Robles was already assisting his father at work, and that career path remained his family’s top priority.

In 1966, however, Dominicans posted the National League’s top three batting averages. Brothers Mateo and Felipe Alou hit .342 and .327, respectively, followed by San Pedro de Macorís native Rico Carty at .326. (Manny Mota batted .332, but did not qualify for the batting title with just 359 plate appearances.) Another Dominican, Juan Marichal, compiled a 25-6 pitching record. The pressure on Robles to see if his skills could also make him a professional star became overwhelming. Prior to the 1967 season, he was signed for the San Francisco Giants by Horacio “Rabbit” Martínez, the same scout who’d inked Marichal and the Alous to their first contracts.6

The Giants assigned Robles to the Decatur (Illinois) Commodores of the Class A Midwest League in 1967. On April 30–Opening Day in Waterloo, Iowa–he hit a grand slam in the top of the first inning.7 Three weeks later in Dubuque, Robles went 5-for-5 in consecutive contests; reaching base 11 straight times and notching 13 hits overall in a three-game series.8 In a team-high 116 games, Robles led Decatur in hits (127), runs scored (53) and triples (eight) while batting .287 with two homers. He was named the circuit’s All-Star shortstop.9

Robles was “a somewhat quiet, classy sort of guy,” according to Roe Skidmore, Decatur’s first baseman that season. “He was very clean-cut and wore nice clothes and had his uniform tapered just right. A good-looking ballplayer.” Skidmore recalled that Robles, who–like most of his contemporaries–didn’t wear batting gloves, consistently tried to avoid soiling his hands or uniform. “It wasn’t unusual to get knocked around by breaking up double plays, close plays at the plate, and getting knocked on the seat of your pants by a brushback pitch. Rafie didn’t like any of that!”10 When Robles did get dirty, he meticulously shined his spikes and scrubbed his lone team-issued cap with a brush.

Although Robles missed just five games all year, a minor cut from a shaving accident sidelined him for three days. “He couldn’t stand playing with a Band-Aid on his finger!” Skidmore said. “We were all afraid someone would take our jobs if we missed as much as a couple of innings . . . Not Rafie! He remained clean to the bone!”11

The winter of 1968, Robles was a reserve infielder for the Dominican League’s Leones del Escogido, where his teammates included Marichal and the Alou brothers. He batted .217 in 23 regular-season at-bats and went 0-for-4 in three playoff appearances.

Then in 1968, Robles played with the Fresno Giants of the Class A California League. He led his teammates in games (138), hits (153), and runs scored (74) for the second straight year, while hitting .259 with four homers. On August 30, he collected four hits and three RBIs in the victory over Lodi that clinched the second-half pennant.12 In the playoffs, Fresno defeated San Jose to win the California League championship.

When the draft was held in October to stock the rosters of two National League expansion franchises for 1969, the Giants did not protect Robles. Hal Lanier (then 26) was entrenched as the big club’s starting shortstop, and César Gutiérrez had produced back-to-back strong seasons in Triple-A.

The San Diego Padres selected Robles with their 26th pick. That winter, San Diego manager Preston Gómez toured the Caribbean and sent GM Eddie Leishman a letter naming Robles and the club’s 18th pick, José Arcia (a Cuban shortstop playing in Venezuela) as two players who had impressed him.13

In winter ball with Escogido, Robles formed an outstanding keystone combination with another Cuban, second baseman Tito Fuentes. On November 24, Fuentes trapped a line drive by Licey’s Danny Breeden with runners on first and second and flipped the ball to Robles to force out Pedro González. After Robles tagged Dave Marshall, who was diving back into second base thinking the liner had been caught cleanly, he fired to first to retire Breeden. It was just the fourth triple play in Dominican League history. Escogido won, 4-1, extending its winning streak to eight straight.14

Robles appeared in 47 of 48 regular-season games and batted .289 with a team-high 24 runs scored. He led the league with five triples and was named the circuit’s Rookie of the Year. When Escogido dethroned the Estrellas Orientales, five games to two, in the playoff finals, he batted .290. “I talked to [St. Louis Cardinals GM] Bing Devine and he said everyone who has seen Robles down there came away raving about him,” remarked Padres President Buzzie Bavasi.15

Robles continued to impress in spring training, so much so that Gómez shifted Roberto Peña to second base, a position the veteran had never played in his first nine seasons and 1,164 games in the United States.16 The skipper announced that Robles “has the shortstop job until he plays himself out of it.”17 On Opening Night at San Diego Stadium on April 8, Robles started and batted leadoff against the Houston Astros. As the first batter in the history of the major-league Padres, he grounded to second base against right-hander Don Wilson and reached on an error by future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. Robles then stole second against two-time Gold Glove catcher Johnny Edwards. He did not advance any further and finished 0-for-4 without any defensive chances in San Diego’s 2-1 victory.

The following day, Robles made five plays successfully and committed his first error. In the series finale, he drew a walk, notched his first hit–a single off righty Tom Griffin–and scored the first run as the Padres won, 2-0, to complete a sweep. Along with Peña, Robles formed the first all-Dominican double-play duo in big-league history.18 Robles started their first twin killing on April 12, ending the sixth inning and keeping San Diego within one run by corralling a one-out grounder by the Giants’ Jim Davenport with runners at the corners in a nationally televised, Saturday afternoon contest. The Padres lost, 5-1, however, in part because a Robles throw allowed the opposing pitcher, Marichal, to score on a play at the plate (it was scored a triple and error).19

After one week, Robles was 2-for-20 with two errors in six games. The Padres decided that the jump from Class A to the majors was too much. San Diego did not have a Triple-A affiliate in 1969, so Robles was sent to the Elmira (New York) Pioneers, a co-op team in the Double-A Eastern League that also featured Kansas City Royals prospects.

Elmira first baseman Jeff Pentland had been a pitcher/outfielder before signing with the Padres, but he learned to play the infield with Robles’s help. “How to field a grounder. How to throw. Basically, he re-did me. He was very friendly,” Pentland explained. “We didn’t have coaches in those days. We had to learn from other players.”20

Fistfights between teammates–on the team bus, or by the side of the highway–were common that summer. Some started over simple things like an open window, which many pitchers believed was bad for their arms. Some of the team’s hurlers didn’t like Robles because he wouldn’t move when they tried to reposition him. “Raffy, being so skinny, he would be a little intimidated by some of the things going on,” Pentland said. “He was a good friend of mine. We took care of each other a little bit.”21

Robles appeared in 128 contests for Elmira, including the extra game against Waterbury on August 4, played because the teams had lost track of the number of prior rainouts to make up. He batted .261, with a personal-best 32 extra-base hits, and struck out just 42 times in 521 at-bats. He also had a team-high 32 errors. In the winter of 1969-70, he again played for Escogido, who finished with the worst record in the Dominican League and missed the playoffs, but Robles continued to pair with Fuentes and batted .251 while playing 49 of 50 games.

During Padres spring training in 1970, Gómez said, “I have José Arcia, Tommy Dean and Rafael Robles fighting for the shortstop job. All can play the position but none can hit.”22 Dean, considered the steadiest defender, won the position but battled injuries. Arcia proved too erratic in several opportunities. April trade acquisition Steve Huntz–a switch-hitter who lacked range–also received a shot.23 Meanwhile, Robles remained with the Salt Lake City Bees in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. By early May, he had collected nine hits in a doubleheader at Eugene and been asked to take the team’s lineup card to the pregame meeting with the umpires at home plate during a couple of series’ games.

“Robles has improved 200 percent over the way he played last year,” raved Padres’ farm director Peter Bavasi. “If I didn’t know any different, I wouldn’t even know he was the same guy. We like the way he swings the bat; he can really pop the ball. We feel he is one of our brightest prospects.”24

Salt Lake City’s record was a dismal 44-99, but Robles lost 10 pounds off his 6-foot, 170-pound frame by playing every game, refusing to rest even in PCL opponent Phoenix’s 110-degree heat.

“He was a better player than I thought he would be,” said Bees manager Don Zimmer, a former big-league infielder for 12 seasons. 25 “All I can say about him is that he has given me more than 100 percent out on the field.”26 Robles batted .261, ranked second on the club with 22 doubles, and led PCL shortstops with a .957 fielding percentage. “His range and arm are adequate, and he’s a funny kind of hitter–the slashing type,” Zimmer observed.27 Robles’s biggest weakness was his on-base percentage, which declined for the third straight year–to .273–as he walked just eight times in 622 plate appearances.

The Padres recalled Robles in September. He started 21 of the club’s last 27 contests at shortstop and recorded four two-hit games. “He is making all the plays, getting his bat on the ball and doing everything that we expect of a young player,” said Gómez.28 Although Robles batted just .213, his hits included an opposite-field single to break up future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry’s perfect-game bid in the seventh inning on September 19, and a leadoff single against Marichal one week later.

Robles began another winter season with Escogido, but he was traded to the rival Tigres del Licey for Mario Guerrero on November 12, 1970. Overall, he batted .264 in 56 regular-season games, followed by a .375 performance in the playoffs to help Licey defeat his former teammates. As league champions, Licey then traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico to represent the Dominican Republic in the country’s second Caribbean Series appearance. Robles homered off righty Steve Barber in the opening, 5-4, victory over Venezuela. It was a catalyst for the Dominicans, who went undefeated in six games and won the tournament for the first time.

By the time Robles reported to spring training, though, the Padres were willing to trade him, Arcia, or Dean. The team planned to start offseason acquisition Enzo Hernández at shortstop in 1971.29 As it happened, Dean seized the chief reserve role while Arcia and Robles split time with the Hawaii Islanders in the PCL. The July 3 issue of The Sporting News showed that Hawaii’s 41-31 record was the best in the circuit, with Robles hitting .308 in 104 at-bats (versus Arcia’s .292 mark in 161 trips).30 But the following page reported the club’s signing of Clete Boyer, who’d been released by the Atlanta Braves after publicly feuding with GM Paul Richards.31 (Commissioner Bowie Kuhn had advised major-league clubs not to sign Boyer until an investigation into the player’s betting on college football games was complete.)32 Arcia was optioned to a California Angels affiliate before July was over.

Robles batted just .181 over his last 94 at-bats to wind up at .248–with more appearances at third base (40) than shortstop (39). Boyer–a 34-year-old former Gold Glove third baseman–saw the bulk of his action at short as Hawaii fizzled to a .500 finish.

Although Robles spent the entire year in the minors, Tito Fuentes, a former double-play partner remembered him. In a Giants game that summer, Fuentes barehanded a ball hit up the middle and scooped it to San Francisco shortstop Chris Speier to start a double play. Giants fans responded with a standing ovation and Reds manager Sparky Anderson marveled, “I’ve only seen that play two or three times in my life.” On the other hand, Fuentes said, “In the Dominican Republic, I did it a couple of times a week with Rafael Robles.”33

Licey returned to the Dominican League finals in the winter of 1971-72 before falling to the Águilas Cibaeñas. Bee Richard of the Chicago White Sox was the primary shortstop, so Robles made just one plate appearance in the playoffs after batting .232 in 32 games during the regular campaign.

Robles opened the 1972 season with the Padres after Dean retired at the beginning of spring training.34 He made just three starts in his 18 appearances, however, with Hernández entrenched at shortstop. Robles’s highlight occurred on June 4. The basement-bound Padres lost for the 11th time in 12 games that day, but most of the 17,842 attendees–San Diego Stadium’s largest Sunday crowd of the year–were still in their seats when Robles entered the game in the top of the ninth inning, awaiting a postgame concert featuring Boz Scaggs and Santana. Baseball, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Richard Dozer, was something the “marijuana-smoking young ones among the throng must have considered a needless preliminary.”35 The Cubs, leading 3-1, put runners on first base and second with nobody out against rookie southpaw Mike Caldwell before Randy Hundley batted. When Hundley hit a sharp grounder to shortstop, Robles fielded it and tagged Chicago’s Carmen Fanzone before relaying the ball to second baseman Derrel Thomas to force José Cardenal for out number two. Thomas then fired to first baseman Nate Colbert to complete a triple play.

Over the next week, Robles went hitless in a pair of pinch-hitting appearances. On June 11, San Diego acquired infielder Fred Stanley from the Cleveland Indians. Robles’s Padres career ended on June 20 when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for first baseman Mike Fiore and Triple-A reliever Bob Chlupsa. (Fiore was returned to the St. Louis organization less than two weeks later). Robles reported to the Tulsa Oilers, the Cardinals’ Triple-A American Association farm club, where he backed up three players who commenced lengthy big-league careers that September: shortstop Mick Kelleher, second baseman Mike Tyson, and third baseman Ken Reitz. Robles batted .271 for the Oilers, while appearing in just 44 games.

That winter, Robles batted .263 in 39 contests for Licey. Despite only three extra-base hits, he ranked third on the team with 24 RBIs, but he made just one plate appearance in the playoffs as the Tommy Lasorda-managed club won the Dominican League championship (and the Caribbean Series in Caracas, Venezuela). Bobby Valentine manned shortstop.

Near the end of spring training 1973, the Cardinals traded Robles to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Barry Houser, a tall lefty who had posted a 2-8 pitching record in the minors the previous year.36 The Pirates assigned Robles to the Charleston (West Virginia) Charlies of the Triple-A International League, where he was expected to play second base until Art Howe recovered from an injury. Charleston had 23-year-old Dominican speedster Frank Taveras slated to start at shortstop.37 Robles appeared in 17 games and batted .120 (6-for-52) before he was released on May 6.

That winter, Robles helped Licey win another Dominican League championship though his contribution was just a 2-for-11 performance in 13 regular season games and a lone plate appearance in the playoffs. In February 1974, he was on the Dominican Republic’s Caribbean Series roster for the third time in four years, but the Puerto Rican entry prevailed in Hermosillo, Mexico.38 That marked the end of Robles’s professional baseball career. In addition to batting .188 in 47 major-league contests, he hit .262 in 679 minor-league games, and .261 in 254 Dominican League appearances (plus .295 in 19 playoff games).

In the early 1970s, the pay for a player struggling to establish himself in the majors offered little incentive to keep hanging on. Robles was already dating Sonia Altagracia Montas when he stopped playing baseball. After she made it to the United States, they married, settled in New York City, and had Orlando, their only child. Robles found employment in factories, assisted a porter, and worked as a handyman.39

As Orlando grew up and played baseball himself, his father was tough on him. They enjoyed watching games on television. Rafael became a devoted Atlanta Braves fan, and he remembered his first big-league plate appearance–when he reached safely on an error by Joe Morgan–whenever the Hall of Famer was one of the announcers. The elder Robles enjoyed predicting what would happen next, and his son recalled, “He was right nine out of 10 times.”40

Like many Dominicans of his generation who settled in New York, Robles enjoyed spending his free time at Highbridge Park in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, which had attracted a large Dominican population. He watched and coached young baseball players while reminiscing about the old days. Sad to relate, during the summer of 1998, Robles slipped on his way out of the park and fell into a coma after hitting his head.41 He never recovered and died at age 50 on August 13. Robles is buried at the Cementerio Municipal in his hometown, Quisqueya.

Orlando was in San Pedro de Macorís at the time of his father’s accident, preparing to sign a contract with the Baltimore Orioles. An arm injury scuttled that plan, and he returned to New York to be with his suddenly widowed mother. Orlando discovered that music was an ideal outlet to release his emotions, and he spent years touring as a hip-hop artist, performing under the name Young Sosa. As of 2022, he produces music for others. Most of his memories of his father as a ballplayer come from listening to stories from Robles’s old friends. “My dad was a magician with the glove,” he concluded. In addition to describing his father as a “good man” and a “great dad,” he laughed recalling tales of his father standing up to [Licey manager] Tom Lasorda and arguing with him. “My dad was a very good baseball player, and a stubborn person.”42

In December 2021, Orlando was watching a Leones del Escogido game on TV when Rafael Robles was mentioned as part of the team’s centennial celebration. Robles was the first player from Ingenio Quisqueya to reach the majors, paving the way for others such as his good friend, Rufino Linares, and seven-time All-Star Alfonso Soriano. Although his big-league career was brief, Robles’s place in San Diego Padres history is safe for all time.

 

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Orlando Robles (telephone interview with Malcolm Allen, December 5, 2021).

The author would also like to thank Rory Costello, the author of Roe Skidmore’s SABR biography, for sharing Skidmore’s memories of Rafael Robles.

Special thanks are given to Evan Katz for assistance in arranging for the author interview with Robles’s teammate Jeff Pentland.

This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Howard Rosenberg and fact-checked by Evan Katz.

 

Sources

In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted baseball-reference.com, retrosheet.org, and sabr.org/bioproject.

Dominican League statistics are from stats.winterballdata.com/players (subscription service, last accessed December 28, 2021).

 

Notes

1 As of 2022, the Reds are the only team that have never started a Dominican shortstop on Opening Day. The first Dominicans to achieve the feat for the other 29 franchises are as follows: Angels (Erick Aybar, 2009), Astros (Rafael Ramírez, 1988), Athletics (Mario Guerrero, 1978), Blue Jays (Alfredo Griffin, 1979), Braves (Pepe Frías, 1979), Roberto Peña, 1971), Cardinals (Rafael Furcal, 2012), Cubs (Roberto Peña, 1965), Diamondbacks, (Tony Batista, 1999), Dodgers (Mariano Duncan, 1986), Giants (José Uribe, 1986), Indians (Julio Franco, 1983), Mariners (Félix Fermín, 1994), Marlins (Hanley Ramírez, 2006), Mets (Frank Taveras, 1980), Nationals (Cristian Guzmán, 2005), Orioles (Deivi Cruz, 2003), Padres (Rafael Robles, 1969), Phillies (Mariano Duncan, 1992), Pirates (Frank Taveras, 1975), Rangers (Nelson Norman, 1979), Rays (Félix Martínez, 2001), Red Sox (Mario Guerrero, 1974), Rockies (Neifi Pérez, 1998), Royals, (José Offerman, 1996), Tigers (Deivi Cruz, 1997), Twins, (Cristian Guzmán, 1999), White Sox (Juan Uribe, 2005), Yankees (Rafael Santana, 1988).

2 In addition to the 23 players named in note 1, these Dominicans have also started an Opening Day game at shortstop: Willy Adames, Juan Bell, Rafael Belliard, Angel Berroa, Rafael Bournigal, Alexi Casilla, Starlin Castro, Andújar Cedeño, Tony Fernández, Pedro Florimón, Erik González, Manuel Lee, Julio Lugo, Ketel Marte, Eduardo Nuñez, Tony Peña Jr., Jhonny Peralta, Jorge Polanco, José Ramírez, José Reyes, Amed Rosario, Danny Santana, Jean Segura, Fernando Tatis Jr., Miguel Tejada, Andres Thomas, Wilson Valdez, Jonathan Villar and José Vizcaino. The MVP was Tejada. Aybar, Fernández, Griffin and Pérez won Gold Gloves. The 15 All-Star shortstops were Aybar, Castro, Fernández, Furcal, Griffin, Guzmán, Offerman, Peralta, Polanco, Hanley Ramírez, Rafael Ramírez, Reyes, Segura, Tatis, and Tejada.

3 Orlando Robles, Telephone interview with Malcolm Allen, December 5, 2021 (Hereafter Robles, interview).

4 Some sources list his full name as Rafael Orlando Robles, but the player’s son confirmed that Rafael Radames Robles Natera is correct. The latter name matches The Sporting News’s contract card database, and the facsimile autograph on Robles’s 1971 Topps baseball card includes the middle initial “R.” Rafael’s son, Orlando Rafael Robles, explained that “Orlando” was a nickname of unknown origin. Robles, interview.

5 “In Big League,” Newport (Rhode Island) Daily News, April 8, 1969: 11.

6 Bienvenido Rojas, “Córdova Defiende al ‘Rabbit,’” Diario Libre (Dominican Republic), February 15, 2013, https://www.diariolibre.com/deportes/crdova-defiende-al-rabbit-PMDL371592 (last accessed December 30, 2021).

7 Jim Eland, “Midwest Tripped by Weatherman at Starting Gun,” The Sporting News, May 13, 1967: 39.

8 “Hot Tear by Robles,” The Sporting News, June 3, 1967: 41.

9 “Ex-Muskie Dodder All-Star Midwest Loop 1st Baseman,” Muscatine (Iowa) Journal and News-Tribune, July 8, 1967: 6.

10 Roe Skidmore, E-mail to Rory Costello, March 7, 2022.

11 Skidmore, E-mail.

12 “Twins’ Auburn and St. Cloud Farms Win Class A Pennants,” The Sporting News, September 11, 1968: 34.

13 Paul Cour, “Rivals Bidding for Giusti,” The Sporting News, November 30, 1968: 51.

14 Fernando A. Vicioso, “Alou Clan Provides Escogido with Three-Way Swat Threat,” The Sporting News, December 14, 1968: 47.

15 Paul Cour, “Padres’ Camp Yields Pair of Plums,” The Sporting News, February 1, 1969: 36.

16 Prior to Robles, Peña-with the 1965 Cubs-had been the majors’ only Dominican Opening Day shortstop.

17 Paul Cour, “Padre Pickups,” The Sporting News, April 12, 1969: 26.

18 Héctor J. Cruz, “Miniaturas del Béisbol: Número 20, Rafael Robles,” Lisíin Diario, May 18, 2020, https://listindiario.com/el-deporte/2020/05/18/617961/numero-20-rafael-robles (last accessed October 25, 2021).

19 Associated Press, “McCovey Leads SF,” Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, Illinois), April 13, 1969: 11.

20 Jeff Pentland, Telephone interview with Malcolm Allen, March 14, 2022. (Hereafter Pentland, interview.)

21 Pentland, interview.

22 Joe Sargis, “San Diego Padres Goal: 70 Victories in 1970,” Delaware County (Chester, Pennsylvania) Daily Times, March 25, 1970: 17.

23 Paul Cour, “Rookie Robles Give Padres Eyeful,” The Sporting News, September 26, 1970: 18.

24 Ray Herbat, “Hustling Shortstop Likes S.L.,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 7, 1970: 62.

25 Cour, “Rookie Robles Give Padres Eyeful.”

26 Herbat, “Hustling Shortstop Likes S.L.”

27 Cour, “Rookie Robles Give Padres Eyeful.”

28 Cour, “Rookie Robles Give Padres Eyeful.”

29 Paul Cour, “Padre Pickups,” The Sporting News, March 6, 1971: 42.

30 “Batting and Pitching Records,” The Sporting News, July 3, 1971: 41.

31 Wayne Minshew, “Clete Puts Heat on Paul and It’s Bye-Bye Boyer,” The Sporting News, June 12, 1971: 15.

32 Boyer never did return to the majors. After the 1971 season. He signed with the Taiyo Whales of the Japan Central League, where he played his final four professional seasons. Wayne Minshew, “Boyer Says He Suspects a Blacklisting,” The Sporting News, June 26, 1971: 38.

33 “Tito, Chris Play-Making Makes History,” Santa Cruz (California) Sentinel, July 26, 1971: 9.

34 “Lose 3 Players,” Daily News (New York, New York), February 29, 1972: 234.

35 Richard Dozer, “Hundley HR Lifts Cubs 3-1,” Chicago Tribune, June 5, 1972: C1.

36 “Charlies Swap Barry Houser,” Raleigh Register (Beckley, West Virginia), March 30, 1973: 8.

37 Associated Press, “Many New Faces on Charlie Roster,” Beckley (West Virginia) Post-Herald, April 6, 1973: 2.

38 Guía de Medios Tigres del Licey 2017-2018: 162.

39 Robles, interview.

40 Robles, interview.

41 Robles, interview.

42 Robles, interview.

Full Name

Rafael Radames Robles Natera

Born

October 20, 1947 at San Pedro de Macoris, San Pedro de Macoris (D.R.)

Died

August 13, 1998 at New York, NY (USA)

If you can help us improve this player’s biography, contact us.

Tags

© SABR. All Rights Reserved