Martín Dihigo

Martín Magdaleno Dihigo Llanos (May 25, 1906[1] – May 20, 1971) was a Cuban player in baseball's Negro leagues and Latin American leagues who excelled at several positions, primarily as a pitcher and second baseman. He was born in the sugarmill (town of Cidra) Jesús María in Matanzas Province, Cuba.

Martín Dihigo
Dihigo
Pitcher/Second baseman
Born: May 25, 1906[1]
Matanzas, Cuba
Died: May 20, 1971 (aged 64)
Cienfuegos, Cuba
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Cuban League debut
1922Habana
Last Mexican League appearance
1950Águila de Veracruz
Negro leagues statistics
Win–loss record22-19
Batting average.307
Slugging percentage.511
Teams
Negro leagues
Cuban League
Mexican League
Venezuelan League
Career highlights and awards

Cuban League records

Mexican League records

  • .676 career winning percentage ( > 1,000 innings)
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1977
Election MethodNegro League Committee

Early career

1922-23 Almendares Team
Dihigo (front row, center) on club Almendares.

Dihigo began his professional career in the winter of 1922/23 at the age of 16 as a substitute infielder for Habana in the Cuban League. His first summer in United States baseball came in 1923 as a first baseman for the Negro leagues' Cuban Stars (East). He played in the Negro leagues from 1923 through 1936 and again briefly in 1945. Over the course of his career, he played all nine positions. As a hitter, he led the Negro leagues in home runs in 1926 and 1935. As a pitcher, he once defeated Satchel Paige when the latter was touring Cuba.

Negro leagues

Dihigo's career record in twelve seasons in the Negro leagues was a .307 average and .511 slugging percentage, with 431 hits, 64 home runs, 61 doubles, 17 triples, 227 RBIs, and 292 runs scored in 1404 at bats. He drew 143 walks and stole 41 bases. As a pitcher, he went 26–19 with a 2.92 ERA, with 176 strikeouts and 80 walks in 354 innings.[2]

Mexican and Cuban leagues

Although a two-time All-Star in the American Negro leagues, Dihigo's greatest season came in the Mexican League in 1938, with Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz where he went 18-2 with a 0.90 ERA as a pitcher, while winning the batting title with a .387 average. In another season in the Mexican League, he had a 0.15 ERA. In his Mexican career, he was 119-57 with a .317 batting average. In the Cuban League, he was 107-56 with a .298 average. Dihigo continued his playing career in Mexico into the early 1950s. He was Cuba's Minister of Sport from 1959 until his death, where he was called "The Immortal". In other Latin American countries, he was called "El Maestro", translated as "The Master".

Career stats

Combining his Dominican, American, Cuban and Mexican statistics results in a lifetime .302 career batting average with 130 home runs (eleven seasons worth of home run totals are missing) and a 252-132 pitching record.

Post career

After retiring, Dihigo became a radio announcer for the Cuban Winter League. He fled Cuba in 1952 to protest the rise of Fulgencio Batista. He managed the Leones del Caracas in the 1953 Caribbean Series but finished last. Dihigo returned to Cuba when Castro took power, and was appointed the minister of sports. He taught programs for amateur baseball players that the new government opened [3]

Death and Hall of Fame Inductions

Martín Dihigo plaque
Plaque of Martín Dihigo at the Baseball Hall of Fame

He died five days before his 65th birthday in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Known as a humorous, good-natured man as well as a versatile player, Dihigo was elected to the American Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. Dihigo was also inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.[4][5]

Along with Willie Wells, Dihigo is just one of two players to be inducted to the American, Cuban, Mexican, Dominican Republic and Venezuelan Baseball Halls of Fame.

Martín Dihigo's stature as a ballplayer is reflected in this conversation between former Dodgers general manager Al Campanis and broadcaster Jaime Jarrín:

"Al said, 'Jaime, the best player that I have ever seen in my life is Martin Dihigo, but he never came to the Major Leagues,'" Jarrin said. "'After Dihigo, I would put Roberto Clemente above Willie Mays. Those are the two best players I have ever seen in my entire life.'"[6]

Martín Dihigo is buried in Cementerio Municipal Cruces in Cruces, Cienfuegos, Cuba.[7]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Sources disagree on Dihigo's birthdate. Hogan, p. 386, shows his birthdate as May 25, 1906, while Riley, p. 233, and baseball-reference.com show May 25, 1905.
  2. ^ Hogan, pp. 386–87, 404–05.
  3. ^ "Martin Dihigo". Baseball-Reference Bullpen. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum". Archived from the original on 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  5. ^ Early Latino Ballplayers in the United States: Major, Minor and Negro Leagues By Nick C. Wilson
  6. ^ Jesse Sánchez. "Clemente headlines All-Time Latino Team". Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  7. ^ Martín Dihigo at Find a Grave

References

  • Clark, Dick; Lester, Larry (1994), The Negro Leagues Book, Cleveland, Ohio: Society for American Baseball Research
  • Figueredo, Jorge S. (2003), Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878–1961, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, ISBN 0-7864-1250-X
  • González Echevarría, Roberto (1999), The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-514605-0
  • Hogan, Lawrence D. (2006), Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball, Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, ISBN 0-7922-5306-X
  • Riley, James A. (1994), The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf, ISBN 0-7867-0959-6

External links

1906 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1906 throughout the world.

1953 Caribbean Series

The fifth edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was played in 1953. It was held from February 20 through February 25, featuring the champion baseball teams of Cuba, Leones de la Habana; Panama, Chesterfield Smokers; Puerto Rico, Cangrejeros de Santurce, and Venezuela, Leones del Caracas. The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice. The games were played at Estadio del Cerro in Havana, the Cuban capital.

1977 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1977 followed the system in place since 1971.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Ernie Banks.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It selected three people: Al López, Amos Rusie, and Joe Sewell.

The Negro Leagues Committee also met in person and selected two players, Martín Dihigo and John Henry Lloyd.

The Negro Leagues Committee also determined to disband. It had elected nine players in seven years.

1977 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1977 throughout the world.

Alex Pompez

Alejandro "Alex" Pompez (May 3, 1890 – March 14, 1974) was an American executive in Negro league baseball who owned the Cuban Stars (East) and New York Cubans franchises from 1916 to 1950. His family had emigrated from Cuba, where his father was a lawyer. Outside baseball and numbers (illegal gambling), he owned and operated a cigar shop in downtown Manhattan. He later served as a scout and director of international scouting for the Giants franchise in Major League Baseball. He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Algodoneros de Unión Laguna

The Algodoneros de Unión Laguna (English: Laguna Union Cotton Farmers) are a Triple-A Minor League Baseball team that plays in the Mexican League.

Azules de Veracruz

The Azules de Veracruz (Veracruz Blues) were a professional baseball team from Veracruz, Mexico that played in the Mexican League from 1941 to 1951. They won League pennants in 1940, 1941, 1944 and 1951, but were eventually shut down in favor of the other local team, the Águila de Veracruz.

Cienfuegos (Cuban League baseball club)

The Petroleros de Cienfuegos (Cienfuegos Oilers) first participated in the Cuban Professional League championship during the 1926-27 season. Although representing the south coast city of Cienfuegos, the team played their home games in Havana. Cienfuegos did not play in the 1927-28 season, contending again from 1928-29 through 1930-31. After eight long years of absence, Cienfuegos reappeared in the 1939-40 tournament. In the 1949-50 season, the team was renamed as the Elefantes de Cienfuegos (Cienfuegos Elephants). "The pace of the elephant is slow but crushing", exclaimed the slogan of the Cienfuegos franchise that contended until the 1960-61 season. Following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, political tensions rose with the Fidel Castro government. In March 1961, one month after the regular season ended, the new Cuban regime decreed the abolition of professional baseball in Cuba.

In 26 Championships in which Cienfuegos participated, the team won five league titles in 1929-30, 1945–46, 1955–56, 1959–60 and 1960–61, finishing second 6 times, third 7 times, and fourth 8 times, posting a 732-793 record for a .480 average. Cienfuegos also won the Caribbean Series in 1956 and 1960.

Some notable Cienfuegos players include George Altman, José Azcue, Gene Bearden, Cool Papa Bell, Bob Boyd, Leo Cárdenas, Sandalio Consuegra, Martín Dihigo, Tony González, Adolfo Luque, Sal Maglie, Seth Morehead, Ray Noble, Alejandro Oms, Camilo Pascual, Pedro Ramos, Cookie Rojas, Napoleón Reyes, and Willie Wells.

Cristóbal Torriente

Cristóbal Torriente (November 16, 1893 – April 11, 1938) was a Cuban outfielder in Negro league baseball with the Cuban Stars, All Nations, Chicago American Giants, Kansas City Monarchs and Detroit Stars. He played from 1912 to 1932. Torriente was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame

The Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame (Salón de la Fama del Béisbol Cubano) is a hall of fame that honors eminent baseball players from Cuban baseball. Established in 1939 to honor players, managers, and umpires in the pre-revolution Cuban League, by 1961 it had honored 68 players, managers, and umpires whose names are shown on a marble plaque at Havana's Estadio Latinoamericano. After the revolution, however, the Hall of Fame languished for more than 50 years, seldom mentioned or acknowledged and with no new inductees. Following a campaign led by Cuban filmmaker Ian Padrón, a meeting was held on November 7–8, 2014 to reformulate the Hall of Fame and to propose a museum in which it would be housed. The reformulated Hall recognized the original 68 members, and a jury of 25 people selected 10 new inductees—five from the pre-revolution period and five representing for the first time the post-revolution Cuban National Series. The planned site for the new museum is in the José Antonio Echeverría Workers' Social Club (also known as the Vedado Tennis Club).

Cuban League

The Cuban League was one of the earliest and longest lasting professional baseball leagues outside the United States, operating in Cuba from 1878 to 1961. The schedule usually operated during the winter months, so the league was sometimes known as the "Cuban Winter League." It was always a small league, generally 3 to 5 teams, and was centered in Havana, though it sometimes included teams from outlying cities such as Matanzas or Santa Clara. The league became racially integrated in 1900, and during the first half of the 20th century the Cuban League was a premier venue for black and white players to meet. Many great black Northern American players competed in Cuba alongside native black and white Cuban stars such as José Méndez, Cristóbal Torriente, Adolfo Luque, and Martín Dihigo. After 1947, the Cuban League entered into an agreement with Major League Baseball and was used for player development. Following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, however, tensions rose with the new Communist government, and in March 1961 the government decreed the abolition of professional baseball.

Cuban Stars (East)

The Cuban Stars (East) were a team of professional baseball players from Cuba and other Latin American countries who competed in the Negro leagues in the eastern United States from 1916 to 1933. They generally were a traveling team that played only road games.

Dihigo

Dihigo is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Ernesto Dihigo (1896–1991), Cuban jurist, diplomat and professor

Martín Dihigo (1906-1971), Cuban baseball player

Leones del Caracas

The Leones del Caracas (English: Caracas Lions) are a Venezuelan baseball team that currently plays in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. In the 2015-16 season, they became the club with the highest average home attendance in the league, with an average of 10,845. The next season, the average attendance was 6,539.

Leopardos de Santa Clara

The Leopardos de Santa Clara (English: Santa Clara Leopards) were a Cuban professional baseball team based in Santa Clara, Cuba. Founded in 1922, they played in the Cuban League from 1922 to 1925, from 1929 to 1930, and from 1935 to 1941. Although they competed for only 11 seasons, they won league championships in four regular seasons and in one "special season." According to Cuban League historian Jorge S. Figueredo, the 1923/24 team, which went 36–11 and won the championship by ​11 1⁄2 games, is "considered as the most dominant team in the history of Cuban baseball."During their existence, the Leopardos featured several of the biggest stars of Negro league baseball, including Oscar Charleston, Satchel Paige, and Josh Gibson. In addition, the team featured outstanding performances from Cuba's own baseball stars including Alejandro Oms and Martín Dihigo.

List of Negro league baseball players

This list comprises players who have appeared in Negro league baseball.

Mexican Center League

This should not be confused with Mexican Central League.The Mexican Center League was a Class C Minor league baseball circuit which operated from 1956 to 1957.

New York Cubans

The New York Cubans were a Negro league baseball team that played during the 1930s and from 1939 to 1950. Despite playing in the Negro leagues, the team occasionally employed white-skinned Hispanic baseball players as well, because Hispanics in general were largely ignored by the major league baseball teams before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

Vidal López

Vidal López Ascanio (April 19, 1918 – February 20, 1971) was a Venezuelan professional baseball player and manager. He batted and threw right handed.López starred as a starting pitcher and slugging outfielder in his homeland between the 1930s and 1950s. A long time member of the Navegantes del Magallanes in Venezuelan tournaments, his effort earned him a place in franchise lore.

In addition, López played in the professional leagues of Cuba, México and Puerto Rico, overcoming color line prejudice throughout a career that lasted 21 years. He was well known for his solid batting, his long home runs and dominant pitching, while his popular nickname, El Muchachote de Barlovento (The Big Boy of Barlovento), was a testimony to his naive face and burly frame.

López is still considered one of the most versatile Venezuelan ballplayers ever produced.

BBWAA vote
Veterans Committee
Negro League Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Pitchers
Catchers
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Shortstops
Outfielders
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