Thursday, May 12, 2016

Was Marichal the greatest Latino pitcher?

Who are the greatest Latino pitchers?   You can choose from Marichal, Cuellar, Tiant, Valenzuela etc.  It is a very impressive list.

My bias will show.

I did not see Lefty Gomez or Adolfo Luque pitch.  They were the greatest Latin lefty-righty duo of the pre-WW2 era.

I did not see Martin Dihigo play. He is considered the greatest Cuban player of all time but could not play in the majors because of the color line.  Dihigo was added to the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee.

My top five are:

1) Juan Marichal----243 wins and a 2.89 ERA. He started 451 games and completed 244 of them, pitching 52 shutouts. Marichal has one more complete game than wins. That's amazing! Marichal's career was played in the shadows of Sandy Koufax and Warren Spahn.

2) Mike Cuellar----In 15 seasons, Cuellar went 185-130 with a 3.14 ERA, 1,632 strikeouts, 172 complete games and 36 shutouts over 453 games. He won 139 games in a 7 year span with Baltimore, 1969-75. He won the deciding game of the 1970 World Series by a pitching another complete game. Cuellar won't make the Hall of Fame but he is the most successful lefty from Latin America.

3) Camilo Pascual---the most underrated pitcher of his era. He was a 5 time All-Star starting in 1959 to 1962 and in 1964. He won 174 games yet pitching for bad teams for much of his career. He had a 3.75 ERA and 36 shutouts in 18 Major League seasons. He led the league in strikeouts from 1961 to 1963 and was among the leaders in shutouts in 1959, 1961 and 1962. He struck out 2,167 batters in 2,930 innings.

4) Luis Tiant---He led the league with a 1.60 ERA in 1968 and a 1.91 ERA in 1972. He won 229 games with a 3.30 ERA over 19 seasons. He won 20 games four times and led the American League in shutouts three times.

5) Pedro Martinez----A three-time Cy Young Award winner---1997, while with the Expos, and in 1999 and 2000 with the Red Sox. Martinez entered the 2005 season with a .705 winning percentage -- the best among pitchers with 200 or more decisions.

Honorable mention goes to Fernando Valenzuela and Dennis Martinez.

Imagine a fantasy baseball team with a rotation of Marichal, Cuellar, Pascual, Tiant and Martinez.   I think that I'll do OK!




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