Saturday, October 23, 2010

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF ESPINO’S PRO DEBUT NOTED

The fiftieth anniversary of Mexican baseball legend Hector Espino’s pro baseball debut is being observed on Saturday, October 23. On that same date in 1960, the 21-year-old Espino hit the first of his record 299 Mexican Pacific League homers for the Obregon Yaquis in Guaymas during the second game of a doubleheader in what was then the Sonora Winter League. He went on to hit .329 in 24 LMP seasons, winning 13 batting titles along with six MVP awards (all for Hermosillo).

Espino did pretty well during the summer, too. He debuted with Monterrey in 1962 and hit .371 while crashing 46 homers two years later. He was signed by St. Louis and spent a short time with the Cards’ AAA affiliate in Jacksonville that year (batting an even .300 in 32 games), but never played outside Mexico again. In his 24-year Mexican League career, Espino hit .335 with 453 homers and 1,573 RBIs.

He was elected to the Salon de la Fama in 1988 and is considered by many the greatest domestic player in Mexican baseball history. Espino died of a heart attack at age 58 in 1997.