Long considered America’s national pastime, baseball took off in New York during the 1860s and remains quite popular today. Over time, baseball has spread throughout the world, creating numerous international leagues.
Mexico and several countries in Central and South America are hot spots for the talent that breathes new life into Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, here’s a look at some current and former Mexican-American superstars who distinguished themselves as some of the top players in the game.
Álejandro (Alex) Treviño and Carlos (Bobby) Treviño
Alex Treviño is a retired professional baseball player of Mexican heritage. As a catcher, he played for six MLB teams over the course of 13 seasons, from 1978 to 1990, including the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros.
After retirement, Alex Treviño became a Spanish-language broadcaster and baseball analyst for the Astros. During his tenure in the big leagues, Alex Treviño played in 939 games, logging 604 hits, a .249 batting average and a .310 on-base percentage.
Alex’s older brother, Bobby Treviño, also played professional baseball in the MLB. An outfielder, Bobby began his career with the Mexican team that won the Little League World Series in 1958. He started his professional career in the Mexican Baseball League in 1964 before being called to the majors in 1968 by the Los Angeles Angels.
Bobby Treviño set a record during the 1969 season, with a base hit during the first 37 games. Despite his strong performance, the Angels sent him back to the Mexican League in 1970, where he took a management role for the next two decades.
Mexican national Julio Urías currently pitches for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He joined the roster in 2012, starting his professional career just days after he turned 16.
During his tenure in the minor leagues, he won an invitation to the World team at the 2014 All-Star Futures Game, and he secured the title of the Dodgers Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2014.
The Dodgers called him up to the majors that same year. He made his first start against the New York Mets on May 27, 2016 at 19 years old, making him the youngest starting pitcher to debut in the majors since 2005.
When the Dodgers met the Washington Nationals in the 2016 National League Division Series, Urías picked up the win in game five after two successful innings of relief pitching. He also set a record as the youngest Dodgers pitcher to ever pitch in the post-season.
No stranger to adversity, during the 2017 season, Urías spent most of the season dealing with a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, resigning him to the bench while he heals. As a child, Urías developed a benign mass on his left eye. Although he can see through it now, the eye remained nearly closed for much of his life until he had elective surgery in 2015 to correct the condition.
Urías often jokes that God “gave me a bad left eye but a good left arm.”
The Washington Nationals selected Marco Estrada, another great Mexican pitcher, during the 2005 draft. In 2014, the Nationals traded Estrada to the Toronto Blue Jays where he currently takes the mound.
Estrada has the unfortunate distinction of being the first player since 1988 to lose back-to-back, no-hit bids in June of 2017. However, during that same month, he set two more records for allowing five or fewer hits in ten consecutive starts, with eleven straight starts pitching six innings with five or fewer hits.
Estrada made the MLB All Star team for the first time in 2017.
Pitcher Óliver Pérez began his career with the San Diego Padres in 1999, and has played for quite a few teams since joining the MLB. His esteemed career has included stints with the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Houston Astros. In 2015, he returned for a second alignment with the Washington Nationals, where he currently has a 3.75 ERA for the 2017 season.
In addition to his long career in the MLB, Pérez has also competed as a member of the Mexican national baseball team three times in the World Baseball Classic in 2006, 2009, and 2013.
Both Hispanics and Mexican-Americans continue to shape the competition in the MLB. These superstars help elevate America’s National Pastime in new, exciting ways. During Hispanic Heritage Month, tip your hats to these amazing players and look forward to their legacy to come to fruition for many decades!