Cinco De Mayo
On this Cinco de Mayo we celebrate all of the Mexican-born players who have played for the Cubs…
~Hector Torres 1945 (Cubs 1971)
The Cubs aquired Torres in a straight shortstop for shortstop swap with the Houston Astros. The Astros got Roger Metzger in return. Torres hit .224 backing up Don Kessinger and Glenn Beckert in 1971. It was the Mexico native’s only season with the Cubs. Metzger, meanwhile, was the Astros starting shortstop for the next seven years, and won a Gold Glove. Torres was nicknamed “La Malita”. (Photo Topps 1971 Baseball Card)
~Jesse Flores 1914 (Cubs 1942)
The first Mexican-born pitcher in big league history made his debut with the Cubs during the war. He only pitched in four games and posted an ERA of 3.38 before the Cubs sent him down for more seasoning. He later pitched for the A’s and the Indians. After his playing career, Jesse became one of the best scouts in baseball. His signings for the Minnesota Twins included Bert Blyleven, Lyman Bostock, Bill Campbell, Rick Dempsey, and Jesse Orosco.
~Daniel Garibay 1973 (Cubs 2000)
Garibay was born and raised in Mexico, and didn’t get his first shot at Major League Baseball until he was 27 years old. The Cubs used him as a spot starter and a reliever, and he didn’t do well in either role. He went 2-8 with an ERA over 6.
~Rodrigo Lopez 1975 (Cubs 2011-2012)
The Mexican-born Lopez was a two-time 15-game winner for the Orioles, but by the time he came to the Cubs, he was getting by on fumes. In 30 appearances over two seasons his ERA was over 6, and he allowed 18 homers. Chicago was the last stop of his big league career.
~Horacio Pina 1945 (Cubs 1974)
The Mexican-born Pina was acquired from the Oakland A’s for Bob Locker in November of 1973. He was only two years removed from his most productive season in the big leagues, when he saved 15 games for the Rangers, and a month removed from contributing to the 1973 World Series Champion Oakland A’s, but he was a total bust for the Cubs. In 59 innings pitched, he allowed an astounding 89 baserunners. Not the kind of numbers you need from someone you expect to be a key member of your late inning bullpen. The Cubs traded him to the Angels by the end of July. After the season, Horacio went back to his native Mexioo. He pitched a no-hitter there in 1975, and a perfect game in 1978. (Photo: 1974 Topps “Traded” Baseball Card)
~Ismael Valdez 1973 (Cubs 2000)
The Cubs acquired the former 15-game winner along with Eric Young, and immediately placed him in the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Valdez developed blister problems and had a hard time staying healthy. He won a grand total of two games in Chicago. Before the season was over, they traded him back to the Dodgers. He later pitched for the Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Padres and Marlins. He won 104 big league games, but he also lost 105. He was known as “The Rocket”.