Five Best Latino Pitchers to be Ranked by Panel of SABR Members

From Jose M. Romero at on September 15, 2011:

In the wake of “The Year of the Pitcher” and in a salute to Hispanic Heritage Month, posed the following question to some of the most respected authorities on baseball — men and women who have deep knowledge of Latinos in baseball: Who were the top Latino pitchers in the history of the game? Only retired players could be considered.

The time will come when the National Baseball Hall of Fame will feature more than three Latino pitchers, those being Dihigo, Mendez and Juan Marichal. But that won’t preclude a discussion about the very best.

It’s easy to come up with a top-five list of active Latino (foreign or U.S.-born) pitchers. But their time will come. Until then, there are five retired pitchers who are considered the best of the best. Their stature is the result of their statistics, their mound presence, lengthy careers and their indelible mark on the game and its fans. They are men who changed perceptions, who rallied entire communities in the United States and in their homelands and became household names from San Francisco to Canada to New York.


“The impact of Latinos in the game stretches back not just in the Major Leagues with ‘Papa’ Joe Cambria scouting Cubans for the Washington Senators in the 1940s,” said [SABR member] Anthony Salazar, a respected baseball historian. “But prior to that, you have Alex Pompez, owner of the New York Cubans of the Negro Leagues, scouting incredible talent in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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The No. 5 selection, released Thursday, was Fernando Valenzuela. The No. 4 selection, released Friday, was Dennis Martinez. The top three will be revealed next week.

The voting panel consists of SABR members Peter Bjarkman, Adrian Burgos, Dick Clark, Leslie Heaphy, Larry Lester, James A. Riley and John Thorn, along with Raymond Doswell, Bob Kendrick and Luis Rodriguez-Mayoral.

Originally published: September 16, 2011. Last Updated: September 16, 2011.