That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Yadier Molina to the Gigantes, in Puerto Rico

The St Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina has reached out the Cardinals for a two year contract but says it’s God’s will if he does or doesn’t get an offer from the Cards and if not plans to retire (AP file photo)

Yadier Molina to the Gigantes, in Puerto Rico

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Yadier Molina, future Hall of Fame catcher of the St Louis Cardinals was approved by Carlos Berroa, Director of the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League in Puerto Rico to play in the island. Molina belongs to the reserves of the Gigantes de Carolina.

According to the bylaws of the league, Yadier Molina, according to Section 1.06 of the league as stated by their Director Carlos Berroa announced the catcher is eligible to play during the postseason in Puerto Rico because he is a Major League player and native of Puerto Rico.

Such players, born in Puerto Rico who are currently in rosters in the Major League are eligible to play in the Puerto Rican League during the postseason, even if they have not played during their regular season. The spirit of this Section 1.06 “allows these Puerto Rican-born players to play in front of their fans in their homeland” according to Director Berroa.

With roughly a month left before the Cardinals are scheduled to have pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Florida for spring training, Molina remains unsigned. The team has been in touch with Molina’s representative and both sides expect the dialogue to continue and increase in the near future.

Molina, a free-agent, now 38 years of age, has made it clear he wants to stay in St Louis and is seeking a two-year contract, but acknowledged that if an appealing offer is not there, he will consider retiring. “Getting ready as always and God will tell” Molina said in an interview with Cardinals broadcaster Polo Ascensio. Molina added “If God wants me to come back, then I’ll come back. And if not I will retire with my head held high”.

Yadier Molina has played for the St Louis Cardinals his whole career from 2004 to 2020, 17 years. One of the greatest defensive catchers of all time has won nine Rawlings Gold Gloves and six Fielding Bible Awards. Two-time World Series champion with eleven playoff appearances and four National League pennant winners. Molina’s compatriot, Iván Rodríguez has won the most Gold Gloves at catcher, with 13. Rodríguez was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017.

Puerto Rico is the land of catchers. José Molina, Bengie Molina and Yadier Molina all from the “Isla del Encanto”(The Enchanted Island) are the only three brothers in Major League Baseball history to all win World Series rings. And of course, all catchers.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Catch Amaury each Tuesday morning for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Hendriks signs with White Sox 3 yrs $54M; Yankees LeMahieu looking for $110 million deal hasn’t heard from Yanks; plus more

Former Oakland A’s reliever Liam Hendriks signed a three year deal for $54 million. Hendriks was the most sought reliever in free agency in baseball (CBS Sports file photo)

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary:

#1 Liam Hendriks former A’s pitcher has signed with the Chicago White Sox three year deal $54 million. In a big deal completed on Monday. The A’s Vice President Billy Beane will have to do his magic and build again.

#2 The New York Yankees DJ LeMahieu has heard very little from the Yankees as he’s seeking free agency. He wants a deal better than what Josh Donaldson got for four years and $92 million and something in the range of what JD Martinez got $110 million and five years. LeMahieu has said he would like to stay at the Yankees but has not heard from them.

#3 Amaury, former Los Angeles Angels clubhouse attendant Bubba Harkins said that he was defamed by the Angels who said he was distributing illegal substances to visiting and Angels pitchers. Harkins who worked for the Angels for four decades said he has named close to a dozen pitchers who pitched for the Angels who have used a sticky substance to doctor the ball. Harkins is suing for defamation and that the Angels used him as a “scapegoat” for distributing foreign substances. Harkins is suing for $4 million and his lawyer is waiting for the judge in the case to make a ruling to move the case forward.

#4 The New York Mets who signed shortstop Francisco Lindor last Thursday are expecting him to be their future at shortstop for the next decade for the team. Linder came to the Mets in a six player deal from Cleveland. Lindor hit .258, 8 home runs, 27 RBIs last season.

#5 Former Chicago Cub Kyle Schwarber signed a one year $10 million deal with the Washington Nationals Monday. The Nats say they like Schwarber for his bat and he has the potential to hit 30 or more homers a season. Last season Schwarber hit .188, 11 homers and 24 RBIs for Chicago.

#6 Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer whose agent is working the phones for Bauer. Bauer is talking with the New York Yankees and New York Mets. Before he joins another club Bauer has said he wants to see how those teams train, he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild, and wants to be part of a team that doesn’t mind is vlogging, face time and social media commentaries.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast Tue Jan 11, 2021 by Sports Radio Service | Free Listening on SoundCloud

He Was A Giant? The Duke of Flatbush a Giant? Pure blasphemy!

Former San Francisco Giant Duke Snider who played for San Francisco for just one season 1964 (San Francisco Giants archives file photo)

HE WAS A GIANT?

Duke Snider – OF – 1964 – #28

By Tony the Tiger Hayes

The Duke of Flatbush a Giant? Pure blasphemy

To old school New Yorkers, the thought of a legendary Brooklyn Dodger – decked out in Orange & Black is about as incongruous as putting ketchup on a hot dog or passing up an opportunity to jay-walk.

But it happened in 1964, when Duke Snider, the iconic 1950s Dodger, turned up in Giants colors in the curtain closing campaign of a spectacular Hall of Fame career.

As a Giant, the 38-year-old Snider had clearly slowed as he ambled about the dugout resembling a wizened coach. He had an fluctuating waistline and steel gray sideburns that contrasted vividly against the midnight black of a Giants cap.

Frankly, Snider’s on-field performance did not belie his appearance. With his CF days behind him, Snider made just 34 starts for SF – his position divided between LF and RF. In 91 games, Snider batted . 210, 4 home runs, 17 RBIs – all career lows.

But there was no denying the prestige Snider added to a Giants club already teeming with all-time greats.

That ‘64 San Francisco club featured no less than six future Hall of Fame players: Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and the Duke.

Throw in World Series Perfect Game pitcher Don Larsen, former Rookies of the Year Harvey Kuenn and Jack Sanford, two out of three Alou brothers (Matty and Jesus) and the first Japanese-born big leaguer : Masanori Murakami, and the Giants were box office gold.

In a tightly packed National League, the ‘64 Giants would finish in fourth place with a fantastic 90-72 record, three games behind the World Champion St.Louis Cardinals.

Though his final numbers we’re pedestrian, Duke, née Edwin Donald, had his most notable moment as a Giant early in the season against the Dodgers.

Why Was He A Giant?

In 1963, after 16 seasons a Dodger, Snider was dealt to the woeful expansion New York Mets.

Snider had seen his playing time dwindle with Los Angeles, and he had openly questioned manager Walter Alston’s strategy in the Dodgers 1962 playoff series loss to the Giants.

On one hand Snider wanted to see how much he had left in the tank. But Duke’s feelings were still hurt by the trade.

Despite helping the Dodgers to their first west coast World Series title in 1959, Snider was not the same ball player in Los Angels as he had been in Brooklyn. His knees were achy and the Dodgers had young talent brimming in the minor leagues. As his time in Los Angeles winded down, Snider found himself losing playing time to the likes of Tommy Davis, Willie Davis and Ron Fairly – all bonafide big league talents.

So the the Big Apple beckoned and the slugger – who once belted 40 or more HRs in five consecutive seasons with Brooklyn- was returning to a city that truly adorned him.

Though the transaction was essentially a public relations move, Snider was still a decent hitter. He would give the Mets a much needed established star after the club went a dreadful 40-120 in their first year of existence.

But Snider’s return to New York was bittersweet.

Though appreciative of the overwhelming fan support, the Mets inadequacies gnawned at the prideful athlete who had never played on a losing ball club with Brooklyn.

Duke was the Mets All-Star Game representative in 1963, but the infamously bumbling club was only marginally better than their maiden season – losing an embarrassing 111 games.

Snider was determined not to end his storied career as a member of the slap-stick comedy routine called the “Amazins.”

“This can drive you out of your mind,” said Snider the following spring when he still found himself on the Mets roster. “You go crazy on a team like this.”

For the sake of his own sanity, Snider practically begged to be traded. He got his wish when his contract was sold to San Francisco.

“Just the opportunity to play for a contender makes me feel younger. I can play two or three more years. It means a lot more when you go up to the plate for something more than individual achievement,” he said.

Before & After

The Golden Age of New York baseball in the 1950s, the game was dictated from center field.

The best player from each NY club during that glamorous era roamed CF. Yankee Stadium had Mickey Mantle, the Polo Grounds’ vast emerald acreage was the playground of Willie Mays and Ebbets Field’s lawn was the domain of Snider’s.

Career-wise; Snider clearly ranks third of the trio. But during a four -year stretch from 1953-56, they were practically equals. Over that period, Snider averaged .320, 42 HR and 124 RBI.

The Duke led Dodgers won the pennant five times and one World Series once during his five borough tenure from (1948-57). During that time frame the Giants captured the pennant twice – winning the World Championship in 1954 – and each season, the Dodgers came in second.

The blood rivals had countless battles in which Snider cemented his legendary pedigree.

When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, Snider was going home, having been born and raised in Southern California.

Snider became the first batter to reach base in the first big league game ever played in California, when he walked in the first inning vs. the Giants at SF’s Seals Stadium (4/15/58).

Though he was one of several Brooklyn stars to make the journey west, Snider was 34 and his numbers declined in California.

In his final at bat in the majors, Snider singled as a Giants pinch hitter off the Cubs Lindy McDaniel in a 10-7 home loss (10/3/64).

He was released after the season and soon announced his retirement.

Snider would finish his career with a lifetime average of .295 with 407 HR and 1333 RBI. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1980.

He Didn’t Get His Own (Giants) Bobblehead. But…

Snider introduced himself to SF by going a deflating 0-for-13. Then SF visited LA. In the Saturday night tilt of a three game series (5/2/64), Snider found his groove.

In his first at bat, Snider cracked a single to right and then came home on a Jim Ray Hart triple. Dodgers starter Joe Moeller carried a 4-2 lead into the ninth, but he walked McCovey on four straight pitches to to start the frame. On the next pitch, Duke hit a searing drive over the head of Frank Howard and into the Dodger Stadium right field pavilion to knot the score. SF would win 5-4 on a 12th inning knock by Chuck Hiller.

Giant Footprint

During the prolonged bitter baseball strike of 1981, obscure songwriter Terry Cashman released a nostalgic day novelty record titled “Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey and the Duke).”

A surprise hit, the track, dripping with Americana, was a paean to a simpler baseball stars could cure a nation’s ills with a swing of the bat.

The song covers on the sports most romanticized era of the 1950s through the early 1980s – with the lyrical refrain returning to the kicker “Willie, Mickey and the Duke.”

Of the more than two dozen baseball figures name-checked in the lyrics – 10 of them have ties to the Giants, which is more than any other team, including of course “Willie and the Duke.”

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary:Tommy Lasorda Ambassador and Character of the game

Signed MLB ball by former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy LaSorda that is part of the author’s sports memorabilia collection (photo from Amaury Pi Gonzalez)

Tommy Lasorda Ambassador and Character of the game

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

With the passing of Tommy Lasorda, baseball lost a baseball man, Ambassador of the game and a character in every sense of the word. He was a Hall of Fame manager than won two World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

His name became synonymous with his love for Dodger Blue and the franchise. His playing career as a pitcher was short, in the mid 1950’s with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Kansas City Athletics, also pitched in Cuba in the old Cuban Professional Winter League. Lasorda passed this Thursday January 7, 2021 in Los Angeles.

He was 93 years old. During the times I did spoke with him, he spoke conversational Spanish and was mostly a guy that once you met him you will like him because of his connection to the game, his sense of humor and his many stories.

In 1977 I was in Dodger Stadium covering the World Series between Tommy’s Dodger team and the New York Yankees, managed by Billy Martin. The Yankees won that Series in six games. Very early, even before the team arrived at Dodger Stadium, I was there with my tape recorder waiting for the Dodgers to arrive and my main interview in mind was Tommy Lasorda.

Those days there was not as much media as today, especially during a World Series. It was basically the local people in each city and some of the national writers and reporters. So the younger crowd gets an idea, in 1977 ESPN was not around yet, sports channels were few and mainly in places like Los Angeles and New York.

One of the biggest baseball network was WTBS the official television station of the Atlanta Braves, who televised the Braves games on cable for the whole country. I did speak with him behind the batting cage prior to the game and was lucky to get a few minutes one-on-one interview, which I feed to station in San Francisco and also WQBA AM in Miami, as I was also doing interviews and reports.

That was not the only time I was to speak to Lasorda. But in that instance in 1977, I had to go up to the press box and with my alligator clips (an instrument used to get the audio from a tape recorded to a radio station for airing) for a feed of the interview with Tommy who was popular in Miami with the Cuban community, he was the Grand Marshall for the largest Cuban-American parade at Calle Ocho.

If you walked inside Tommy Lasorda’s office inside the Dodgers clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, you will see the walls decorated with a Who’s Who of Hollywood, photos with Frank Sinatra, to Bob Hope to a galaxy of other movie stars. He was the perfect character for a city that is the capital of show-business.

Tommy could be funny and sometimes not very funny, if he lost a game, he was not in a good mood and would take him longer to have his post game pasta meal he loved. He was the owner of a Pasta and Ribs restaurant for a few years.

Last time I saw Tommy Lasorda it was at Dodger Stadium when the LA Angels were playing, a few years ago. He was walking very slowly and had a handler with him. I was not aware he was going to walk inside the Angels dressing room.

My focus with my cameraman was waiting to interview a player for the Spanish pregame show of our telecast of the game for Fox Sports West. I just said a few words to him in Spanish; he smiled, answered briefly and kept walking.

During the last few years, Tommy will be seen many times on television sitting behind the plate at Dodger Stadium. His health deteriorated, but made it to the ripe age of 93 and saw his beloved Dodgers win the World Series in 2020, for the first time since he managed the last Dodger World Series title in 1988 over Tony La Russa’s Oakland Athletics. The autographed ball is from my personal collection.

Rest in Peace Tommy.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Join Amaury for News and Commentary podcast each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: It’s a Brand New World for Women in Sports

Boston Red Sox minor league coach Bianca Smith in Jan 4, 2021 tweet from the Red Sox welcoming Smith to the organization as coach making her the first black female in MLB history (photo from @RedSox)

It’s a Brand New World for Women in Sports

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Recently the Boston Red Sox hired Bianca Smith, the first black female coach in professional baseball history. She was assigned as a minor league coach in the Boston organization.

On November of 2020 Kim Ng was hired as the General Manager of the Miami Marlins, first woman GM and first Asian-American. And there are other women ascending into the professional baseball world. There is one category in Sports where woman are also under represented, Sports Agents.

Rachel Luba is an up-coming star in this field. A sports agent named to Forbes under 30 lists in 2021 of the Young Entrepreneur stars. Luba currently represents Trevor Bauer, who won the Cy Young Award in 2020 with the Cincinnati Reds and today is the most famous free-agent pitcher in Major League Baseball.

Last year, Bauer declined the team’s qualifying offer of $18.9 million to stay and pitch in 2021. Rachel Luba is currently negotiating a contract on behalf of her client and pitching star with different clubs.

At 29 years of age Rachel Luba is an Attorney and Baseball Agent in a male dominated field. She did not play baseball, but was a Gymnast in her high school days in Monterey, California, were she was born. Since High School her major career objective was to be a sports agent. She got her Degree in Communications at UCLA, where she also was a gymnast and later in 2016 graduated with a Law Degree from Pepperdine University.

Luba worked for the Major League Players Association and also Beverly Hills Sports Council, working on salary arbitration cases. Now she is close, perhaps, of making big news for her biggest client one of the most coveted baseball players in MLB, Trevor Bauer.

The New York Mets under their President (ex-Oakland A’S President Sandy Alderson) just acquired superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor and right handed pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland team. The trade puts the Mets in the ‘thick of things’ against their top rival, the 2020 NL East Champion Atlanta Braves.

There are other teams trying to come back into contention, like the Los Angeles Angels, who need to give the great Mike Trout more support and catapult that club to their first playoffs since 2014.

In the American League there is no team in need of pitching more than the Angels. especially starting pitching and one of the caliber of Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer could be a big fish to catch in the team with the biggest Trout.

Rachel Luba could soon find a suitor for the #1 free agent pitcher in the baseball market and when that happens, she would have landed her biggest high profile athlete. By then the whole world would have learned of that. Good luck to her as an agent in her young career in the business.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead announcer for the Oakland A’s for Spanish radio on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: How Darvish will fit in in San Diego; Red Sox hire baseball’s first black woman coach; plus more

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish seen here pitching on Oct 2, 2020 in game 2 of the NLWCS in Chicago against the Miami Marlins. Darvish signed this week with the San Diego Padres shoring up their pitching staff (AP News photo)

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser will leaving the Oakland A’s beat to work the San Francisco Giants beat vacated by Henry Schulman who is retiring and Matt Kawahara will be taking over the A’s beat at the Chronicle.

#2 Amaury, Yu Darvish was surprised that he was dealt from Chicago to San Diego. Although many expected the deal to go down, Darvish really like being in Chicago and really wanted to be part of the Cubs organization.

#3 The Padres general manager AJ Preller moved so fast on the deal to get Darvish from the Cubs that Darvish first learned about on twitter. Darvish upon learning about the deal said “I’m very happy to be joining a team as strong as the Padres”

#4 The Boston Red Sox have hired the first black woman in baseball history to coach in their minor league system Bianca Smith. Smith joins baseball’s first woman coach San Francisco coach Alyssa Nakken and New York Yankees coach Rachel Balkovec as the three female coaches in baseball.

#5 The Miami Marlins signed left hand pitcher Ross Detwiler to a one year deal worth $850,000. Detwiler’s signing is intended to bolster Miami’s bullpen. The Marlins lost most of their team to Covid-19 issues last season and still remained competitive. Detwiler will be an added plus to the Marlins bullpen.

#6 The San Diego Padres are not shy at all they signed Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays. Snell was the pitcher that was throwing a shutout in the World Series before being pulled out of the game by Ray manager Kevin Cash. Snell was 3.24 ERA in 2020 and was 3.o3 in the post season.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast Tue Jan 5, 2021 by Sports Radio Service | Free Listening on SoundCloud

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Fidel Castro and Baseball – Never a Serious Prospect-

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is the subject of That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary of what would have been if Castro played baseball instead of ruling Cuba (USA Today file photo)

Fidel Castro and Baseball – Never a Serious Prospect-

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

There is one thing that unites most men born in Cuba; baseball. For years there have been stories about Fidel Castro playing baseball (like that was something extraordinary) but in Cuba if you are born a male, if by the time you are ready for T-Ball as a kid and you show little interest for baseball, there is a good chance your family might take you to a psychiatrist.

Just like in Brasil, where fútbol/soccer is played religiously, same thing happens in Cuba, but with baseball. As a kid we played for hours after school in Havana, some played baseball for more hours than attended school.

It is part of the DNA of each of us Cubans. However, some write the story of Castro’s refusing a major league team contract, because he wanted to study law. That has as much truth as the promise he made when he took over Cuba, and told the people during a long speech that there will be free elections in the country.

Castro’s biographers and those that saw him “play” agree that as a pitcher he threw hard, but was wild. He never even made the Junior Varsity team of the University of Havana and the story that the New York Giants authorized Alex Pompez (their man in Cuba) to offer a $5,000 bonus to Fidel Castro was ridiculous since no Latin prospect were offered that kind of money in 1950.

In 1950 the average salary of a Major League Baseball player was approximately $13,000. In 1959 before a game between the Havana Sugar Kings and the Rochester Red Wings (AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) in Cuba, Fidel Castro took to the mound with Los Barbudos team (The Bearded Ones) for a two inning exhibition game against a military squad team.

He pitched the two innings, striking out two and grounding to shortstop for an out during his only at bat. And that was his whole “career” as a baseball player. No more, no less. Castro controlled and ruled Cuba, but the narrative about his baseball “career”, is one that he could not control.

Because, its very simple, he wasn’t good enough and was never a serious prospect. Until 1960 Cuba was heavily scouted by major league scouts of many organizations. The most famous scout in Cuba was Joe Cambria, aka “Papa Joe”.

Cambria worked for the Washington Senators and had a yearly-permanent residence on the island. Cambria signed Roberto Estalella, René Monteagudo, Roberto Ortíz and others who went on to play with the Senators at the beginning of their major league careers.

If Fidel Castro showed any serious promise you can be assured Joe Cambria would have signed him, because until that time, Cuba was “número uno”, sending their talent to the US. A year later, in 1961 Castro banned all professional sports in Cuba, including baseball.

Since then, all athletes in Cuba are basically property of the government. They cannot travel freely in or out of the island without the authorization of the government. Many Cubans currently playing in the Major Leagues have escaped the island, or defected while their team was playing an international tournament.

Fidel Castro died on November 25, 2016 and according to Forbes, he had a fortune of at least $1 billion which was kept in shells slush funds around the world. For decades he blamed the US for just about everything under the sun, including Capitalism, however he was the biggest Capitalist in Cuba.

In that case he was consistent with politicians, his hypocrisy was palpable, even today we can see how hypocrisy and politicians go hand and hand. Yes, he did loved baseball, but as I stated before, in Cuba to love baseball is a given, is like asking any kid if they like ice-cream.

The fact remains that Fidel Castro never played any type of professional baseball in Cuba or outside the island. Today many Cuban baseball stars make less than $2,000 a year and some of them (Liván Hernández, plus others have told me) have other duties aside from just playing baseball, like driving the bus among their “requirements.”

Baseball is a game of failure, where even the most successful fail more times than none. For Fidel Castro, even as much as he loved the game he decided it was easier for him to become a communist dictator than a good baseball player.

Even Hollywood has never attempted to do a film on the topic of Fidel and his baseball “career”, which would have been a fantasy and that is a Hollywood specialty. My favorite quote on this topic, comes from Hall-of-Famer Monte Irvin, who played for the New York Giants and also for Alacranes del Almendares in the 1948-49 Cuban winter league in Havana, once said that is he had other Cuban leaguers of the late ’40s known that the young student Castro who hung around Havana ballparks had designs of being an autocratic dictator, they would have been well served to make him an umpire.

Happy New 2021. Stay tuned and stay well.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Hall of Fame Museum and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB Iconic Baseball Players we Lost

photos from Topps Baseball cards

MLB Iconic Baseball Players we Lost

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Among those that passed in this incredibly difficult year 2020, there were eight iconic baseball players, seven of them enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York. Also a local lifetime baseball executive. Here is the list, date of passing and where.

Al Kaline – April 6 Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Hall of Fame)

Tom Seaver – August 31 Calistoga, California (Hall of Fame)

Lou Brock – September 6 St Louis, Missouri (Hall of Fame)

Whitey Ford – October 8 Lake Success, New York (Hall of Fame)

Bob Gibson – October 2 Omaha, Nebraska (Hall of Fame)

Joe Morgan – October 11 Danville, California (Hall of Fame)

Dick Allen – December 7 Wampum, Pennsylvania

Phil Niekro – December 26 Flowery Branch, Georgia (Hall of Fame)

On September 19 – Gary Hughes, 79 years old. Legendary Baseball Executive, coach and Scout. (Bay Area)

May they all Rest in Peace.

Join Amaury for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcasts on Tuesdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Omar Vizquel Managing in Mexico faces Charges

Omar Vizquel is facing some serious accusations from wife Blanca regarding domestic violence. MLB is investigating the allegations. (USA Today photo)

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Just a few days ago, ex-major league shortstop and candidate for the Hall of Fame Omar Vizquel was named manager for the Toros de Tijuana (LMB) Mexican Baseball League. A man who has dedicated most of his adult life to the game of baseball is now facing one of his biggest challenges, outside the baseball world.

Blanca Vizquel, 36 said her husband physically abused her in 2011. This was before they were married in 2014, but also describes other occasions of abuse and after a heated argument this past August she decided to file for divorce.

Omar Vizquel said: “I have never hit or been violent towards my wife, Blanca. Any accusation to the contrary is false” and added, “I never expected this divorce proceeding to play out in public, but I will continue to defend myself and my name against these false accusations. Our divorce should be settled in a court of law, not in the court of public opinion.” Information published by The Athletic.

Vizquel, a shortstop played in the major leagues for 24 seasons, won 11 Gold Gloves (only Ozzie Smith at shortstop won more, 13) and was one of the best fielding players in history at any position. During the most recent voting for the Hall of Fame, Omar Vizquel received 52.6 percent of the vote (short of the 75% needed for election).

Nevertheless a serious potential member of the exclusive class at Cooperstown. As a broadcaster, the best double-play combination I ever saw was the Cleveland Indians, Roberto Alomar at second-base and Omar Vizquel at shortstop.

Although it is not the most famous in history, it is hard to find any two guys playing like magicians at those positions. A TV producer could easily do a 30 minute program just showing their wizardry making double-plays. Roberto Alomar was elected to the Hall of Fame and I can only hope same for Omar Vizquel in the future.

But these kinds of stories are not exactly what the people at Cooperstown want to see. Omar Vizquel was always a great interview, playing or as a coach in the major leagues. As recent as 2018, he managed the Winston-Salem Dash of the Carolina League, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. He guided the club to an 84-54 record.

One of the best interviews I did with Vizquel was when he was playing with the Giants. As I remember I told him he could chose a career between broadcasting, since he is extremely well versed in baseball and very articulate and the other was a Manager.

He didn’t hesitate to tell me, “Yo quisiera ser manager algún día” trans- “I would like to manage someday”. On another occasion he was at the Giants Fanfest at the Park; when he came over to The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame table/exhibit and took his time to talk to many of his adoring fans.

He has always been a very popular player. No matter whom he played for. This sad news of the domestic dispute is the typical “He said, she said” or (if you will) “She said, he said” story. A player of the caliber of Omar Vizquel, worthy of election to the Hall of Fame (in my humble opinion) cannot afford these days to be involved in these types of disputes.

Nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors. I wish him as well as Blanca, the best possible outcome. We are all human. As the man whose birthday we are celebrating on Dec. 25th said: “whoever is free of sin, let him cast the first stone”.

Feliz Navidad – Merry Christmas

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

 

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB Now Recognizes Negro Leagues as Major League

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum sign in Kansas City. The Museum is excited about Negro League stats being part of the Major League Baseball records as announced Wed Dec 16, 2020 by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (AP News photo)

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

A decision that should have been made many years ago, but obviously is a welcomed decision by Major League Baseball. When The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame was founded in San Francisco in 1998 the museum instantly classified the Negro Leagues as a Mayor League.

Black players born in Latin America or in the United States played in leagues in the Caribbean. Central and South America for decades, it was not considered an “accomplishment” because the abnormal thing to do is not to allow a player to play because of his skin color.

The United States was the only place in the world that black players could not play in the Major Leagues. Many players had to play in the Negro Leagues and many had at least the talent (if not more than enough) to be in the Major Leagues.

Now, Major League Baseball officially classifying 1920 to 1948 teams of the Negro League as Mayor League. Major League Baseball basically is making a right from something that was a “wrong” for decades and that is to be commended. Nobody can change history, but in cases like this, it is good to correct it and bring it in-line with current society. “All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game’s best players, innovations, and triumphs against a backdrop of injustice,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement provided by the league. “We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as major leaguers within the official historical record.”

Note: Jackie Robinson played one season in the Negro Leagues before he was brought into the Major Leagues by Brooklyn Dodger’s Branch Rickey. 1947 Kansas City Monarchs he played in 47 games, 163 at bats, .387 average, 14 doubles, 4 triples, 5 home runs and 13 stolen bases. Although I do not always agree with Commissioner Manfred in his changes to the game, this is one time I give him the highest praise.

Stay tuned and stay well.

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish lead radio play by play announcer for Oakland A’s baseball on 1010 KIQI Le Grande San Francisco and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com