César Tovar

César Leonardo Tovar (July 3, 1940 – July 14, 1994), nicknamed "Pepito" and "Mr. Versatility", was a Venezuelan professional baseball player,[1] who played Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins (1965–72), Philadelphia Phillies (1973), Texas Rangers (19741975), Oakland Athletics (19751976), and New York Yankees (1976).[1] Tovar was an extremely versatile player capable of playing various defensive positions on the field. In 1968, he became only the second player in MLB history to play all nine field positions during a single game, a feat first accomplished by Bert Campaneris, in 1965.[2] Tovar also had a prolific career in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, where he played 26 seasons, second only to the 30 seasons played by Vic Davalillo.[3]

César Tovar
Cesar Tovar - Texas Rangers - 1974
Tovar in 1974
Outfielder / Infielder
Born: July 3, 1940
Caracas, Venezuela
Died: July 14, 1994 (aged 54)
Caracas, Venezuela
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 12, 1965, for the Minnesota Twins
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1976, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Batting average.278
Home runs46
Runs batted in435
Teams

Baseball playing career

Minor leagues

Tovar was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, where as a child, he shined shoes to earn extra income for his family.[3] At the age of 15, he befriended Gus Gil, another Venezuelan who went on to play in Major League Baseball.[3] In January 1959, Cincinnati Reds General Manager, Gabe Paul, attempted to sign Gil to a contract however, Gil insisted that Paul should also have Tovar sign a contract. Paul relented in order to make Gil agree to sign.[3]

Tovar began his professional baseball career when he was assigned to the Geneva Redlegs in the D-league New York–Penn League. He hit .252 in 87 games as an infielder for Geneva in 1959.[4] That winter, he returned to Venezuela to play for the Leones del Caracas, and won the league's rookie of the year award.[3]

In 1960, he played with the Missoula Timberjacks of the Pioneer League where he produced a promising .304 batting average along with 12 home runs and 68 runs batted in.[4] After being selected to the league's All-Star team, he was rewarded by getting to play two games at the top level of the Reds' minor league system with the Seattle Rainiers.[3] Tovar was sent back to Geneva in 1961, where he batted .338 with 19 home runs and 78 runs batted in.[4] He stole 88 bases in 100 attempts to lead the league while setting a new league record for stolen bases.[3] In 1962, he played for the Rocky Mount Leafs of the Carolina League, and led the league in batting with a .329 batting average along with 10 home runs and 78 runs batted in.[5]

The Reds had a promising second baseman in Pete Rose, who would win the 1963 National League Rookie of the Year Award, and with second basemen Bobby Klaus and Gus Gil in their minor league system, there was little room left for Tovar to progress.[3] The Reds sent him on loan to play for the Minnesota Twins minor league affiliate, the Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers.[4] In 1964, Tovar returned to the Reds organization, where he played for the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League.[4] He helped the Padres win the league championship by hitting for a .275 with 7 home runs and 52 runs batted in, while playing as a third baseman, shortstop, second baseman, and as an outfielder.[4]

Major Leagues

Before the start of the 1965 season, the Twins traded pitcher Gerry Arrigo to the Reds for Tovar.[1] The Twins had originally sought to get Tommy Helms from the Reds, but they refused to trade him and the Twins settled for Tovar.[3] At the age of 24, Tovar made his major league debut on April 12, 1965, becoming the ninth Venezuelan to play in Major League Baseball.[1][3] However, he would soon be sent back to the minor leagues with the Denver Bears, where he hit for a .328 average. Tovar received a September call-up and played in a total of 18 games in the season however, he would be left off the post-season roster and would watch the Twins' seven-game World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers from home.[3]

Starting in 1966, the Twins would make ample use of Tovar's ability to play a variety of positions. In 1967, he would divide his fielding season between third base (70 games), center field (64), second baseman (36), left field (10), shortstop (9) and right field (5), setting an American League record of 164 games played (the Twins had two tie games in the 1967 season) and leading the league with 726 plate appearances and 649 at-bats.[6] He was also among the top 10 batters in runs, hits, doubles, triples, stolen bases, hit by pitch and sacrifice hits.[6] The Twins were in first place with two games left in the 1967 season, but lost their final two games to the Boston Red Sox and finished the season in second place.[7] At the end of the 1967 season, the Triple Crown winner, Carl Yastrzemski, received all but one vote for the American League Most Valuable Player Award; the lone dissenting ballot (cast by Minneapolis Star sports writer Max Nichols) was marked in favor of Tovar, who would finish 7th in the MVP voting.[8]

On September 22, 1968, Tovar became the second player after Bert Campaneris (Kansas City Athletics, 1965) to play all nine fielding positions in a game. The two were later joined by Scott Sheldon (Texas Rangers, 2000), Shane Halter (Detroit Tigers, 2000), and Andrew Romine (Detroit Tigers, 2017) as the only five players in MLB history to have accomplished the feat.[2][9][10][11] Tovar started the game on the mound against Oakland and pitched one scoreless inning in which he struck out Reggie Jackson. As fate would have it, the first batter he faced was Campaneris.

On May 18, 1969, Tovar combined with Rod Carew to set a major league record for most steals by a club in one inning with five. In the third inning against a Detroit battery of Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan, Tovar stole third base and home. Carew followed by stealing second base, third base and home.[11][12] The two steals of home in the same inning also tied a record. In 1970, Tovar ended the season with a .300 batting average, ranked third in the league in total hits with 195, and second in runs scored with 120.[13] The Twins won the American League Western Division title in both 1969 and 1970, but each time were swept in three games by the Baltimore Orioles during the play-offs. Tovar hit for only a .077 batting average in the 1969 American League Championship Series, but improved with a .385 average in the 1970 American League Championship Series.[14]

As he improved at the plate, Tovar also moved less around the diamond – playing primarily center field in 1970, left field in 1971, and right field in 1972. He improved his hitting through 1971, when he hit for a .311 batting average and led the league with 204 hits.[15] In 1971, SPORT magazine polled major league players to identify the game's most competitive player. Pete Rose won; the runners-up were Frank Robinson, Bob Gibson, and César Tovar. On September 19, 1972, Tovar belted a walk-off home run to hit for the cycle.[16] Only four other players in major league baseball history have completed a cycle with a game-ending homer: Ken Boyer (1961),[17] George Brett (1979),[18] Dwight Evans (1984)[19] and Carlos González (2010).[20]

After a subpar season in 1972, the Twins traded Tovar on November 30 to the Philadelphia Phillies for first baseman/outfielder Joe Lis and pitchers Ken Reynolds and Ken Sanders.[21] Tovar would then spend the 1973 season platooning with a young Mike Schmidt at third base. After being purchased by the Texas Rangers in December 1973, Tovar had a brief resurgence in 1974 as the leadoff hitter for Billy Martin, his Twins manager in 1970, hitting .292 with a .354 on-base percentage.[1] In August 1975, the Rangers sold Tovar's contract to the Oakland Athletics who were in first place in the American League Western Division. The Athletics won the division title and Tovar appeared in two games of the 1975 American League Championship Series, getting one hit in two at-bats and scoring two runs.[14] He was a pinch hitter and defensive replacement for the Athletics in 1976, before breaking his wrist while making a diving catch on May 31.[3] He was activated in mid-August, only after a complaint from the Major League Baseball Players Association.[3] The Athletics' temperamental owner, Charlie Finley, then released Tovar on August 25.[3] The New York Yankees purchased his contract on September 1, 1976, and he appeared in 13 games for them before playing in his final major league game on September 29, 1976, at the age of 35.[1] The Yankees released him in December 1976.[1]

Career statistics

In his twelve-year major league career, Tovar played in 1,448 games with 1,546 hits in 5,569 at bats for a .278 batting average along with 46 home runs, 435 RBI, 834 runs, 253 doubles, 55 triples, 226 stolen bases and a .335 on-base percentage.[1][22][23]

Along with Eddie Milner, Tovar is regarded as the major league's all-time leader in breaking up no-hit attempts with five.[11][24][25] On April 30, 1967, Tovar's single was the only hit against the Washington Senators' Barry Moore.[26] On May 15, 1969, he broke up the no-hit bid of Baltimore pitcher, Dave McNally.[27] Later that same season on August 10, 1969, Mike Cuellar of the Baltimore Orioles extended his streak of consecutive batters retired to 35 before surrendering a ninth-inning single to Tovar, which also broke up Cuellar's bid for a no-hitter.[28] Tovar was responsible for spoiling two other no-hitters during his career: against the Washington's Dick Bosman (August 13, 1970) and the Yankees' Jim "Catfish" Hunter (May 31, 1975).[29][30]

Later life

After retiring from the major leagues, Tovar played in the Mexican League in 1977 and 1978. In 1979, Tovar played in the short-lived Inter-American League for the Caracas Metropolitanos and hit .285 for manager Jim Busby.[3] He also continued to play in the Venezuelan Winter League. He was a player-coach for the Águilas del Zulia team that won the 1984 league championship before going on to win the 1984 Caribbean Series. He retired as a player at the age of 45 after two final games in the winter of 1985–86. In August 1990, he managed the Venezuelan team to a 1–7 last place finish in the Baseball World Cup, which was held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.[31]

Tovar died on July 14, 1994, of pancreatic cancer in Caracas, at 54 years of age.[32] He was inducted into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.[33]

Related links

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "César Tovar statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b Rothe, Emil (February 1973). The Day César Tovar Played All 9 Positions. Baseball Digest. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o César Tovar at the SABR Bio Project, by Rory Costello, retrieved 5 July 2012
  4. ^ a b c d e f "César Tovar minor league statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  5. ^ "1962 Carolina League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  6. ^ a b "1967 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  7. ^ "1967 American League season". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  8. ^ "1967 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  9. ^ "September 22, 1968 Athletics-Twins box score". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  10. ^ Markusen, Bruce (December 1998). When César Tovar Played All Nine Positions in One Game. Baseball Digest. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "César Tovar at The Baseball Page". thebaseballpage.com. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  12. ^ "May 18, 1969 Tigers-Twins box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  13. ^ "1970 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  14. ^ a b "César Tovar post-season statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  15. ^ "1971 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  16. ^ "September 19, 1972 Twins-Rangers box score". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  17. ^ "September 14, 1961 Cardinals-Cubs box score". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  18. ^ "May 28, 1979 Orioles-Royals box score". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  19. ^ "June 28, 1984 Mariners-Red Sox box score". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  20. ^ "July 31, 2010 Cubs-Rockies box score". espn.go.com. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  21. ^ "César Tovar Trades and Transactions". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  22. ^ "César Tovar career statistics". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  23. ^ "César Tovar statistics". thebaseballcube.com. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  24. ^ Vass, George (October 1989). Near No-Hitters Are Part Of Big League Baseball Lore. Baseball Digest. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  25. ^ The Fans Speak Out. Baseball Digest. August 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  26. ^ "April 30, 1967 Twins-Senators box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  27. ^ "May 15, 1969 Orioles-Twins box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  28. ^ "August 10, 1969 Twins-Orioles box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  29. ^ "August 13, 1970 Twins-Senators box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  30. ^ "May 31, 1975 Yankees-Rangers box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  31. ^ "1990 Baseball World Cup". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  32. ^ "César Tovar New York Times obituary". nytimes.com. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  33. ^ "Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 5 July 2012.

Further reading

External links

Achievements
Preceded by
Bobby Murcer
Hitting for the cycle
September 19, 1972
Succeeded by
Joe Torre
1965 Minnesota Twins season

The 1965 Minnesota Twins won the 1965 American League pennant with a 102–60 record. It was the team's first pennant since moving to Minnesota, and the 102 wins was a team record.

1966 Minnesota Twins season

The 1966 Minnesota Twins finished 89–73, second in the American League. 1,259,374 fans attended Twins games, the second highest total in the American League.

1967 Minnesota Twins season

The 1967 Minnesota Twins finished 91–73, tied for second in the American League with the Detroit Tigers. The Twins had a one-game lead on the Red Sox with two games remaining in Boston, but lost both games. A total of 1,483,547 fans attended Twins games, the second highest total in the American League.

1968 Minnesota Twins season

The 1968 Minnesota Twins season was a season in American baseball. The team finished 79–83, seventh in the American League.

1969 Minnesota Twins season

Led by new manager Billy Martin, the 1969 Minnesota Twins won the newly formed American League West with a 97–65 record, nine games over the second-place Oakland Athletics. The Twins were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the first American League Championship Series.

1970 Caribbean Series

After nine years of absence, the thirteenth edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was revived in 1970 without the representing baseball clubs of Cuba and Panama. It was held in Caracas, Venezuela from February 5 to February 10 at Estadio Universitario, featuring the original members of the first stage. Puerto Rico was represented by the Leones de Ponce, while the host Navegantes del Magallanes represented Venezuela. The Dominican Republic debuted in the Series and was represented by the Tigres del Licey to complete a three-team tournament. The format consisted of 12 games, with each team facing the other competitors three times. Because the series was so small, each team had to face each other in one night.

1970 Minnesota Twins season

Led by new manager Bill Rigney, the 1970 Minnesota Twins won the American League West with a 98–64 record, nine games ahead of the Oakland Athletics. The Twins were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series. After the ALCS, Metropolitan Stadium would never see another post-season game, and the Twins would not return to the postseason stage until 1987 when they won the World Series.

1971 Minnesota Twins season

The 1971 Minnesota Twins finished 74–86, fifth in the American League West. 940,858 fans attended Twins games, the fifth-highest total in the American League, the first time the Twins failed to attract over one million fans since moving to Minnesota.

1972 Minnesota Twins season

The 1972 Minnesota Twins finished 77–77, third in the American League West.

1973 Caribbean Series

The sixteenth edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was played in 1973. It was held from February 1 through February 6 with the champions teams from Dominican Republic (Tigres del Licey), Mexico (Yaquis de Obregón), Puerto Rico (Cangrejeros de Santurce) and Venezuela (Leones del Caracas). The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice, and the games were played at UCV Stadium in Caracas, Venezuela. The Series was played to honor the memory of Roberto Clemente, who died on December 31, 1972, during a humanitarian mission to assist victims of the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake.

1974 Texas Rangers season

The 1974 Texas Rangers season involved the Rangers finishing second in the American League West with a record of 84 wins and 76 losses (two rained-out games were never completed). It would be only the second time in franchise history (to that point) that the club finished over .500 and the first since the club relocated to Arlington, Texas. The club became the first (and, to date, only) team to finish over .500 after two consecutive 100-loss seasons.

1975 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 1975 season involved the A's finishing first in the American League West with a record of 98 wins and 64 losses. They went on to play the Boston Red Sox in the 1975 American League Championship Series, losing in three straight games.

1976 New York Yankees season

The 1976 New York Yankees season was the 74th season for the Yankees in New York, and the 76th season overall for the franchise. The team finished with a record of 97–62, finishing 10½ games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles to win their first American League East title.

In the ALCS, the Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals in 5 games. Chris Chambliss's walk-off home run in Game 5 clinched the pennant for the Yankees.

In the World Series, they were defeated in a four-game sweep by the defending champion Cincinnati Reds, marking only the second time that the Yankees had ever been swept in a World Series in their history (following the 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers).

New York was managed by Billy Martin. The Yankees returned to the newly renovated Yankee Stadium.

1976 Oakland Athletics season

The 1976 Oakland Athletics season involved the A's finishing second in the American League West with a record of 87 wins and 74 losses, 2½ games behind the Kansas City Royals, meaning that the A's failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1970. This team set and still holds the modern Major League team record for most stolen bases in a season with 341.The Athletics would not eclipse this season's win total until 1988 (when they won 104). Indeed, nearly all of the team's stars (Sal Bando, Rollie Fingers, Gene Tenace, Joe Rudi, Bert Campaneris, Don Baylor, Phil Garner, Billy Williams, Claudell Washington, and an injury-plagued Willie McCovey) would depart during the 1976–77 offseason. This staggering mass exodus contributed led to a 24-win plunge in 1977.

1982 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1982 followed the system in place since 1978.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and elected two, Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It selected Happy Chandler and Travis Jackson.

1994 in Venezuela

Events from the year 1994 in Venezuela

Pepito

Pepito, the diminutive version of the Spanish name Pepe, may refer to:

Pepito Arriola (1896–1954), Spanish child prodigy pianist and violinist

César Tovar (1940–1994), Major League Baseball player, nicknamed "Pepito"

Pepito (comics), an Italian comic created by Luciano Bottaro

Pepito, the largest cat in the world, a minor character in The Simpsons TV series

Pepito (Squee), a character in the comic book Squee

Pepito, the character Rat's violent sock puppet in the comic strip Pearls Before Swine

Pepito, a character in the 1959 animated TV series Bucky and Pepito

Pepito, a character in the webcomic Something Positive

Pepito, a character in Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Pepito Manaloto, a live situational comedy

Pépito, an opéra comique of 1853, music by Jacques Offenbach

Pepito, manager and companion of Josephine Baker mentioned in "The Hungry Heart", by Jean-Claude Baker

Pepito, the main character in the 2017 movie Yo Soy Pepito"

A sandwich common in Venezuela

Pepito is the flying creature from Walt Disney's Coco (2017 film).

Scott Sheldon

Scott Patrick Sheldon (born November 20, 1968) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman/shortstop and right-handed batter who played for the Oakland Athletics (1997) and Texas Rangers (1998–2001). He also played in Japan for the Orix BlueWave (2002–03).

On September 6, 2000, while playing for the Rangers, Sheldon became the third player in MLB history to play all nine positions in a single game, joining Bert Campaneris (Kansas City Athletics, September 8, 1965), and César Tovar (Minnesota Twins, September 22, 1968). Sheldon entered the game in the 4th inning and performed the feat in just five frames. He was later joined by Shane Halter (Detroit Tigers, October 1, 2000), and Andrew Romine (Detroit Tigers, September 30, 2017) in the select list of players to play all nine positions in the same game.

In his 141-game Major League career Sheldon batted .235, with 8 home runs and 33 runs batted in.

He spent two years in Japan with the BlueWave, batting. 255 with 34 homers and 83 RBI.

Shane Halter

Shane David Halter (born November 8, 1969) is a former Major League Baseball utility player.

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