Monday, September 22, 2014

Fernando Valenzuela Becomes the First Mexican-Born Pitcher to Win 20-Games September 22, 1986

On this day in Baseball History September 22, 1986: Native of Etchohuaquila, Mexico by the name of Fernando Valenzuela Anguamea nicknamed "El Toro" became the first Mexican-born pitcher to win 20-games. Pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Houston Astros at the Astrodome, Fernando threw the 19th of his league leading 20 complete games for his 20th victory. Valenzuela was en-route to a 21-11 record and his only career 20-win season. Valenzuela would come in second in the National League Cy Young vote behind Mike Scott of the Houston Astros.

The 1986 season would be special for Mexican-born pitchers with Teddy Higuera of the Milwaukee Brewers joining Valenzuela in the Mexican-born 20-game winner club. Higuera would win his 20th game on October 1, 1986 against the Detroit Tigers. As with Valenzuela, Higuera would finish second in the American League Cy Young vote. His 20-11 1986 campaign would be his only 20-win season in his career.

Will we ever see another 20-win pitcher from Mexico? There are currently a couple of pitchers who can do so. Jaime Garcia of the St. Louis Cardinals has won 13 games twice (2010 and 2011). Injuries have seemed to have slowed him down. Jaime de la Rosa of the Colorado Rockies has won 16 games twice (2009 and 2013) and currently has 14 wins this season. Marco Estrada of the Milwaukee Brewers is also another pitcher that has the potential if he can become a fixture in the Brewers rotation. Miguel Gonzalez of the Baltimore Orioles is also another potential pitcher for the Mexican- born 20-win game. My prediction is Yovani Gallardo of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Gallardo has put up 13, 14, 17, and 16-win seasons with the Brewers. I believe that if anyone of the Mexican pitchers that I mention that are currently playing in MLB can reach 20-wins, its Gallardo. What do you think. Agree? Disagree? Anyone else that I failed to mention? We'll have to wait and see if any of these pitchers step up next season.

Hasta la próxima, no dejamos de jugar el Beisbol,
Baseball Sisco

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