Diunte: Cholly Naranjo never played for Senators, but he sat with the President

From SABR member Nick Diunte at La Vida Baseball on August 24, 2018:

As a 19-year-old rookie with the 1954 Washington Senators, Gonzalo “Cholly” Naranjo was just trying to manage all of the emotions associated with his first major league Opening Day. Right up until the first pitch, Naranjo stood at Griffith Stadium still unsure about his place in the big leagues.

“They had me pitching batting practice,” the 83-year-old Naranjo recalled recently from his Florida home. “That gave me the idea that I wasn’t going to be staying with the ballclub. I thought I made the team because I had a heck of a spring training. I beat the Yankees and the Tigers. I pitched better than anyone there.”

As one of Papa Joe Cambria’s prized recruits, Naranjo entered spring training after pitching shutout relief for Almendares in the 1954 Caribbean Series. He continued to impress throughout the spring, enough for the Senators to take him north for Opening Day.

“[He] has been showing some pitching know-how beyond his years and has delivered handsomely in the Grapefruit League contests,” Shirley Povich noted in the April 7, 1954, edition of The Sporting News.

Read the full article here: https://www.lavidabaseball.com/cholly-naranjo-eisenhower-senators/

Originally published: August 29, 2018. Last Updated: August 29, 2018.