Friday, April 23, 2010

Hector Espino for the Hall of Fame

Major League Baseball is the premier league in the world. Although there are very good leagues in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Cuba, and Mexico, as well as leagues in countries all over the planet, MLB is the top of the line. Because it is the best league around, this is where most players strive to get to. We assume that those who have come to the states are the best players, and we are generally correct in that. However, we do forget that some of other leagues provide us some outstanding players who never get the chance to play in the states.

Among those players are Martin Dihigo, whom many consider the greatest all-around player of all time, Sadaharu Oh, and Hector Espino. Most of you, I am sure, have heard of Oh, and many have heard of Dihigo. I'll bet a lot of you are asking who the hell is Hector Espino. Well, that's easy:
Who is Espino? Well, here a list of accomplishments for a ballplayer who has been called the “Babe Ruth of Mexico.” And, his lofty achievements compare favorably with many baseball legends who have received baseball’s highest honor.
The achievement:
Batting Titles – Won a staggering 18 batting titles(winter/summer leagues) which is six more than the 12 batting crowns Hall of Famer Ty Cobb captured.

Most years with one team – Spent 24 years with the Orange Men from 1960-85. Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (Orioles) and Carl Yastrzemski (Red Sox) are tied with 23 years of service in one uniform.

 Oldest man to win a batting title – Espino was 43 years-old when he batted .316 in 1983. Ted Williams was 40 when he hit .328 in 1958.

Most Home Runs – Swatted 481 homers in Mexico, and another 453 in the Mexican League. His 937 home runs are more than Oh and Josh Gibson, Hall of Famer who played in the Negro Leagues, who hit 814 homers.
For those who don't know, Mexico has a summer and a winter league. There might be some who want to downplay his numbers, but how can you? 24 years playing professional baseball. A batting title at 43. And 937 homeruns is a whole lot of homeruns, no matter where or when you play. Anyway you stack it, Hector Espino is a great player.

There are some that call for the Hall of Fame to expand its membership, and include players from around the world, and not just those who played in the states. I agree. The Hall of Fame is a private organization, and is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. If they want to be the premier Hall in the world, they need to recognize the world.

Martin Dihigo is already in as a Negro Leaguer. A lot of people want Sadaharu Oh in. I agree that we need to look at Hector Espino as well. Maybe one day people in the states will realize that baseball might be the American game, but we gave it to the world.

H/T to baseballdeworld


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