Rogan: Sports’ Forgotten Heroes: Dolf Luque

From SABR member Warren Rogan at Sports’ Forgotten Heroes on April 17, 2019, with SABR member Peter Gordon:

Dolf Luque won 194 games over the course of his 20-year Major League career. In 1923, he put together one of the greatest seasons ever for the Cincinnati Reds going 27-8. Luque, however, never again won 20-games in a season, but remained extraordinarily consistent. In fact, in 1925 he went 16-18 and finished in the top-15 (13th) in MVP voting and in 1933, at the age of 42, he went 8-2 for the New York Giants and finished 25th in MVP voting. In that year’s World Series, pitching in relief, Luque became the first pitcher from a Latin American country to win a World Series game. But like so many, the career of Luque is long forgotten, despite the fact that he is the 5th winningest pitcher in the rich history of the Cincinnati Reds. Even more surprising is the fact that he isn’t even mentioned is one of the most treasured pictorial histories of the Reds. How is this possible?

Baseball historian Peter Gordon, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) who has also written and researched about a variety of topics on the game, returns to Sports’ Forgotten Heroes for a conversation about Luque. One of the first from Cuba to play Major League Baseball, Luque also salvaged several careers including that of Sal “The Barber” Maglie. Luque, working as a coach in the rival Mexican League when Maglie was trying to work his way back to the Majors, taught Maglie how to pitch inside and that turned Maglie’s career around. Luque, who was inducted into Mexico’s Baseball Hall of Fame, is also a member of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame for his career as a player and the fact that he’s the second winningest manager in Cuban baseball history … and he’s also a member of the Reds Hall of Fame.

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Originally published: April 17, 2019. Last Updated: April 17, 2019.