Mike González (catcher)

Miguel Angel González Cordero (September 24, 1890 – February 19, 1977) was a Cuban catcher, coach and interim manager in American Major League Baseball during the first half of the 20th century. Along with Adolfo Luque, González was one of the first Cubans or Latin Americans to have a long off-field career in the U.S. Major Leagues.

Born in Havana, González played winter baseball in the Cuban League from 1910 to 1936 and was a long-time manager. He was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.[1]

Mike González
Mike Gonzalez NY Giants
Catcher / Third base coach / Manager
Born: September 24, 1890
Havana, Cuba
Died: February 19, 1977 (aged 86)
Havana, Cuba
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 28, 1912, for the Boston Braves
Last MLB appearance
September 7, 1932, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average.253
Home runs13
Runs batted in263
Managerial record84-69
Winning %.549
As player

As coach

As manager

Career highlights and awards

In the U.S.: catcher, coach and manager

González, a right-handed-hitting catcher, made his National League debut with the 1912 Boston Braves, playing only one game. During that time he played "Negro baseball" with integrated teams from Cuba, the Cuban Stars in 1911, 1912 and 1914; the Long Branch Cubans in 1913. During his organized baseball career he appeared with the New York Lincoln Giants in 1916 (Riley, 326).

González returned to the Major Leagues with the Cincinnati Reds sometime in 1914 and went on to play 16 more seasons (1914–21; 1924–29; 1931–32) with the St. Louis Cardinals (in three separate stints), New York Giants and Chicago Cubs, batting .253 in 1,042 games. He appeared in one World Series1929 with the Cubs – and was hitless in his only at-bat.

In 1933, he became a coach for the Cardinals' American Association farm club, the Columbus Red Birds, and joined the St. Louis coaching staff in 1934 under manager Frankie Frisch. It was the year of the "Gashouse Gang", the hard-playing Cardinal team that stormed to the NL pennant and a seven-game Fall Classic triumph over the Detroit Tigers.

González coached under Frisch until September 14, 1938, when Frisch was fired. González then took the helm for the final 16 games of the season, leading the Cardinals to an 8–8 record. He resumed his coaching role under Ray Blades the following season, but again became the Cards' acting pilot on June 7, 1940, handling the team until June 10, when Blades' permanent successor, Billy Southworth, arrived from Rochester. Overall, González' big-league managing record was nine wins and 13 defeats (.409).

González continued on the Cardinals' coaching lines through 1946. In the bottom of the eighth inning of his final game, the seventh and deciding contest of the 1946 World Series, Gonzalez was coaching at third base when Enos Slaughter raced home from first base on a double by Harry Walker. "Slaughter's Mad Dash" scored the winning run and earned the Cardinals the world championship. Although films taken of the play appear to show González waving Slaughter in, other accounts report that Slaughter ignored the coach's stop sign and took home on his own initiative.

González is credited with contributing a lasting piece of baseball terminology. Asked by the Cardinals to scout a winter league player, González judged that the player was outstanding defensively but a liability as a batter. He wired back a four-word scouting report: "Good field, no hit." That phrase is still in use today.

In Cuban baseball: star player and manager, and club owner

González debuted in 1910 as a shortstop for the Fé club. He was a part-time infielder his first three seasons before switching to catcher and gaining a full-time roster spot with Habana in the winter of 1913. He hit .313 in 1918–1919, .296 in 1927–28, and led the league in 1932–33 with an average of .432.[2]

In 1914–15 he became Habana's playing manager and led the team to a championship. It was the first of 13 championships he won at the helm of the team (the others were in 1918–19, 1920–21, 1921–22, 1926–27, 1927–28, 1928–29, 1940–41, 1943–44, 1947–48, 1950–51, 1951–52, and 1952–53). Cuban baseball historian Jorge Figueredo calls his 1927–28 Habana team, which included Jud Wilson, Martín Dihigo, Chino Smith, Alejandro Oms, Ramón Herrera, and Manuel Cueto, "probably the best they ever had in their illustrious history."[3]

After 1946: 'Ineligible' to return to U.S. organized baseball

Mike Gonzalez Cardinals
González with the Cardinals

During the 1946 season, the Mexican League, then an insurgent circuit outside the control of "organized baseball", raided Major League teams — notably the Cardinals, Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers — for playing talent, signing Max Lanier, Lou Klein and Fred Martin away from the Cardinals alone. Commissioner of Baseball Happy Chandler responded by banning the "jumping" players for five years, and ruling that any player who competed with or against the jumpers, and any team that employed those banned players, would also lose their professional baseball eligibility.[4]

However, the 1946–47 Cuban Winter League, including González' Habana club, hired some of the banned players in defiance of Chandler's edict. González resigned from the champion Cardinals' coaching staff in protest, and he was ruled ineligible from working in U.S. professional baseball as a result.[4] Chandler's ruling was sharply criticized by the Cuban media — while Martin was a star pitcher for Habana in 1946–47. Although Cuban winter league and U.S. baseball officials eventually reached a compromise, and the jumping players were reinstated in 1949, González never returned to the Cardinals or the U.S. Major or minor leagues.

González made a brief appearance in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, when Hemingway writes "Who is the greatest manager, really, Luque or Mike González?."[5]

González retired as Habana's League manager after the 1952–53 season and in retirement remained in his native country. After the Cuban Revolution brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959, and the ensuing chill in relations between Cuba and the U.S., González was cut off from his old friends and associates in American baseball. He died in Havana at age 86 in 1977.

See also


Source notes

  1. ^ Figueredo 2003, pp. 486, 509.
  2. ^ Figueredo 2003, pp. 86, 92, 100, 104, 128, 175, 201.
  3. ^ Figueredo 2003, pp. 112, 125, 137, 141–142, 167–168, 174, 178, 236, 251–252, 292, 339–340, 352–353, 363.
  4. ^ a b Marshall, William (1999). Baseball's Pivotal Era, 1945–1951. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2041-1.
  5. ^ Hemingway, Ernest Miller (2007-01-01). The Old Man and the Sea. Al Manhal. ISBN 9796500118 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help).


  • Figueredo, Jorge S. (2003), Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878–1961, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, ISBN 0-7864-1250-X.
  • Riley, James A. (2002). The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. 2nd edition. New York: Carroll & Graf Publ. ISBN 0-7867-0959-6.
  • Spink, J.G. Taylor, ed. The Baseball Register, 1946 edition. St. Louis: C.C. Spink and Son.

External links

González (surname)

González is a Spanish surname. In Spain, González is the second most common surname with 2.08% of the population having this surname. González is also a common surname in Latin America. It is one of the five most common surnames in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, and Venezuela, making it one of the most common surnames in the Spanish-speaking world. In the United States, González ranked as the 13th most common surname in 2017.Variant spellings include Gonzales.

Long Branch Cubans

The Long Branch Cubans (also known as the Newark Cubans and the Jersey City Cubans) were a professional baseball team that played from 1913 to 1916. It was the first U.S. minor league baseball team composed almost entirely of Cubans. Several players, including Dolf Luque and Mike González, went on to play in the major leagues. The Cubans played in Long Branch, New Jersey from 1913 to 1915, except for the first half of the 1914 season, when they played in Newark, New Jersey. In 1916, they started the season playing in Jersey City, New Jersey as the "Jersey City Cubans." Later that summer, they moved their home games to Poughkeepsie, New York, where they were usually referred to as the "Long Branch Cubans." In late July 1916 they briefly moved to Harlem and finally to Madison, New Jersey in August.From 1913 to 1914, the Cubans played minor league baseball in the Class D New York–New Jersey League, which in 1914 was renamed as the Atlantic League. In accordance with organized baseball's practice of racial segregation, all of the team's players were white. The league folded at the end of the 1914 season, and from 1915 to 1916, the Cubans played independent baseball outside of the organized minor leagues. The 1915 and 1916 teams competed during part of the season in a new, independent Atlantic League, representing Long Branch in 1915 and Poughkeepsie in 1916. When they played in Madison in August 1916, they were competing in the Tri-County League, a short-season, independent professional league that featured both all-white and all-black teams. Because they frequently played against Negro league teams and some of the players may have been multiracial, baseball historians and statistical databases have classified the 1915–16 independent teams as part of Negro league baseball.Sunday baseball was not yet legal under blue laws in New York City, so major league teams often traveled to the seaside resort community of Long Branch to play Sunday games against the Cubans. According to research by David Skinner, the Cubans' record in these games was 10–24.

Mike Gonzalez (disambiguation)

Mike Gonzalez (born 1978) is an American baseball pitcher.

Mike Gonzalez or González may also refer to:

Mike González (catcher) (1890–1977), Cuban baseball catcher

Mike Gonzalez (historian) (born 1943), British historian and literary critic


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