MLB: Ranking Pedro Martinez Among Top 10 Best Latino Pitchers of All-Time
Baseball has always been a popular sport in the Latin American community.
From the street corners of Panama and Nicaragua to the beaches of the Dominican Republic and Cuba, baseball is surely to be found. Numerous Latin American nations take great pride in the baseball they play. Ever since Luis Castro entered Major League Baseball in 1902 for the Philadelphia Athletics, fans have witnessed a lot of Latino superstars on the diamond.
With one of baseball's greatest Latino superstars, Pedro Martinez, now a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, a number of great Hispanic legends to take the diamond come to mind.
Without further interruption, Latin Post.com presents the top 10 greatest Latin American-born pitchers of all-time:
10. Francisco Rodríguez
Our list begins with Francisco Rodríguez, who has the second-most saves by a Latin American-born player. Rodríguez helped the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim win the 2002 World Series against the San Francisco Giants. In 2008, Rodríguez made 62 saves, the most by any pitcher in a single season in MLB history. Rodríguez also led the American League in saves in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Don't worry, another great closer will be mentioned shortly.
9. Johan Santana
Johan Santana spent his MLB career with the New York Mets and Minnesota Twins. This southpaw from Venezuela won two American League Cy Young awards, and appeared in four All-Star games. It's unlikely Santana will end up in Cooperstown one day, but he had a great career. In 2012, Santana pitched a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. This is the only no-hitter in Mets franchise history.
8. Camilo Pascual
Hailing from the capital city of Havana, Cuba, Camilo Pascual was a strikeout monster. He didn't have the greatest control of the ball, but he knew how to get batters out. Pascual led the American League in strikeouts three consecutive seasons, from 1961-1963. Unfortunately for Pascual, he never played for an elite team, and only made one postseason appearance in his career. Pascual turns 81 on Jan. 20.
7. Luis Tiant
The second Cuban-born player to make our list. Luis Tiant, also known as "El Tiante" played for the Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and Angels. Tiant made three All-Star appearances, and four times hit the 20-win mark. In 1968 and 1972, his ERA was under 2.00 for both season. Unfortunately, injuries led to a somewhat inconsistent career.
6. Fernando Valenzuela
With 173 career victories, Fernando Valenzuela is the winningest Mexican-born pitcher of all-time. Valenzuela is also the only Mexican pitcher to reach the 2,000 strikeout plateau. Valenzuela had a terrific 17-year MLB year, 10 of which was spent with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1980, Valenzuela won the 1981 National League Rookie of the Year Award, and helped the team win the World Series that very year with his Game 3 performance. Valenzuela finished his career 5-1 in the postseason, and pitched a no-hitter in 1990.
5. Mike Cuellar
A fantastic left-handed pitcher who had dominating performances in the 1970s. Mike "Crazy Horse" Cuellar is one of the best pitchers in Baltimore Orioles franchise history, winning 143 games with the club. Cuellar won at least 20 games in a season four times and won two World Series titles, 1964 and 1970. Cuellar also won the 1969 AL Cy Young Award for best pitcher. Most impressive, his postseason ERA was a 2.85.
4. Dennis Martinez
Without a doubt, one of the most underrated pitchers to ever play. Martinez's 245 career wins at the plate are the most wins by any Latin American-born player in MLB history. The Nicaraguan's shining moment came in 1991 when he pitched just the 13th perfect game ever, which was also the first ever by a Latin American-born pitcher. Martinez finished his career strong, winning at least 10 games in a season 10 times past the age of 30. He also won at least 100 games with two different franchises, the Orioles and the Expos.
3. Mariano Rivera
Panama is home to the single greatest closer in MLB history, Mariano Rivera. Rivera's 652 career saves are the most of all-time, and he was just as good when it mattered most. In the playoffs, Rivera record an MLB record 42 saves, and the 10th most strikeouts in postseason history with 110. In the 1999 World Series, he was named MVP against the Atlanta Braves. Oh, and he also won five World Series Championships with the New York Yankees, including a three-peat from 1998 to 2000 with Rivera as one of the Yankees' biggest stars alongside Derek Jeter, Andy Pettite and Bernie Williams. When the time is right, Rivera will be in Cooperstown.
2. Pedro Martinez
One of the newest inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Pedro Martinez comes in at No. 2. Martinez has the most career strikeouts (3,154) by a Latin American-born player, and the 13th most in MLB history. With three Cy Young Awards, a World Series title and a five-time ERA champion, Martinez is one of the best pitchers in recent memory. In 2004, he guided the Boston Red Sox to a World Series title over the St. Louis Cardinals, and finished his career with an outstanding 2.93 ERA. Martinez is regarded as one of the most dominating pitchers ever with his high-velocity pitches.
1. Juan Marichal
The Dominican Republic is no stranger to baseball greatness. Coming in at No. 1 is Juan Marichal. You could always tell Marichal was pitching because he had the most unique pitching style ever, with his high leg windup. Amazingly, Marichal won the most games of any pitcher in the 1960s, even more than Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson.
A 10-time All-Star, Marichal spent 14 of his 16 seasons with the San Francisco Giants. There, he pitched a no-hitter in 1963 against the Houston Colt 45's, a game which ended 1-0. That same year, he outdueled Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn in what is known as "The Greatest Game Ever Pitched." Marichal pitched all 16 innings of a 1-0 game, not allowing a single run. Incredibly, Marichal did not allow a single hit against Hank Aaron in his six at bats that night.