Liptak: When White Sox GM Roland Hemond nearly acquired Fernando Valenzuela

From Mark Liptak at Chicago Now on August 7, 2015, with mention of SABR member Roland Hemond:

Some of you might remember Fernando Valenzuela and the way he took the baseball world by storm starting in 1981. The five time All-Star won the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year award that year and Spanish crowds flocked to Dodger Stadium to watch him pitch.

I recently heard a story about him and wanted to check on it, so I went to the source, former Sox GM Roland Hemond who said it was true.

The story? That Fernando was almost a member of the White Sox.

Hemond remembered getting a call from Fernando’s GM, Carlos Ramirez in the summer of 1979. Hemond personally knew Ramirez from when he was the scouting and farm director of the California Angels and Ramirez was a middle infielder in their system.

Hemond’s association with the Mexican Professional League is legendary and hes used his contacts for decades to get such players as Aurelio Rodriguez, Cy Acosta and Salome Barojas up to the big leagues. When Ramirez told him about Valenzuela and the year he was having for Yucatan, Roland was interested.

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Originally published: August 7, 2015. Last Updated: August 7, 2015.