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Earlier this week, we returned to the legendary Hall of (Place) Names with an All-born-in-Japan Turning Japanese? (I Really Think So). It was our 13th foray into such a team-building exercise, one that has mostly visited US cities like St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit, with occasional looks into cities on foreign shores like Santo Domingo (D.R.) and of course the legendary San Pedro de Macoris.

Only twice before our excursion into Japan have we peered into an entire foreign country -- Canada, of course, and Colin Jaffray's British Isles (England/Scotland/Wales) trifecta.

Since we've at least dabbled in the home countries (or large cities of those countries) of the three most prolific foreign producers of big league players (Dominican Republic, 410; Puerto Rico, 215; and Canada, 205 through the end of the 2005 season), let's take a look at the next three on the list this next week or so -- Venezuela at 181; Cuba at 150; and our #6 foreign exporter, today's feature with 98 ballplayers having reached the majors, our friendly neighbors to the south ...

... that's right, Mexico. It's time to meet ...

The Merry Mexicans
Yes, that's a HORRIBLE name. Got a better one? Let's hear it!

** indicates Hall of Famer (there are none)
* indicates All-Star

There has never been a Mexican-born MLB manager.

C Alex Trevino (.249 in 13 seasons)
1B Ruben Amaro Sr. (.234 in 11 years; primarily a SS)
2B Jorge Orta* (.278 in 16 years)
SS Juan Castro (.230 in 11 years through 2005)
3B Vinny Castilla* (three straight 40+-HR seasons)
LF Karim Garcia (.241, 66 homers in 10 years)
CF Bobby Avila* (1954 AL batting champ)
RF Mel Almada (.284 in seven seasons; three times in AL Top 10 SB)
DH Erubiel Durazo (.281, 94 HR through 2005)

C Geronimo Gil (.233 with BAL through 2005)
IF Oscar Robles (.272 in 110 games with 2005 LAD)
IF Hector Torres (.216 in nine seasons)
IF Mario Mendoza (.215 in nine seasons)
COR IF Aurelio Rodriguez (2000+ games in 17 years; 1976 Gold Glove)
OF Carlos Lopez (.283/8/34 for '77 expansion SEA; .260/12/54 career)

LHSP Fernando Valenzuela* (173-153)
RHSP Esteban Loaiza* (112-99 through 2005)
LHSP Teddy Higuera* (94-64)
RHSP Ismael Valdez (104-105)
RHSP Rodrigo Lopez (51-43 through 2005)

CL-RH Aurelio Lopez* (62-36, 93 saves)
RH-SET Enrique Romo (44-33, 35 saves)
LH-SET Sid Monge* (49-40, 56 saves)
RH-LONG Jesse Flores (44-59, 1942-50)
LH-LONG Oliver Perez (27-30 through 2005)

NOTES ... Avila's batting title in '54 is somewhat tainted, as a certain Splendid Splinter (that'd be Ted Williams) actually out-hit him.345-.341, but in "just" 386 at-bats; his 116 walks kept him from the then-minimum 400 AB for batting title qualifiers, and led to the rule change that now requires 502 "plate appearances" ... Orta hit .237 as a DH/OF for the 1983 Blue Jays ... Hector Torres had arguably his finest full season in his final big league campaign, hitting .241 as the putative starting shortstop for the inaugural 1977 Jays ...

Chico Escarrega was just 1-2/3.67 for the '82 ChiSox, but it was tempting to add him to the roster just to make the obligatory Garret Morris/Chico Escuela joke ... Almost two-thirds of the Mexicans to make the big leagues have been primarily pitchers, 58 of 98, so perhaps its no surprise that such a fine pitching staff emerges ... With five All-Stars, including three lefties, spread out among the rotation's front three and the bullpen's back end, if we can find someone to manage this team, he'll likely be quite comfortable handing the ball to whoever emerges from the clubhouse ...

Juan Acevedo's 28 saves for the 2002 Tigers is the most in a single season by a Mexico-born player, but the righty doesn't crack this team's roster ... That's a pretty weak-hitting bench, which could gain some flexibility if the original A-Rod started at 3B, Castilla moved to DH, Durazo to 1B and Amaro Sr. took his everything-but-P&C resume to the bench ... Did you notice that the immortal Mario Mendoza finished his career with a final batting average a full 15 points higher than the standard that has been derisively dubbed "The Mendoza Line"?

So who'd we miss? And how can this team be better?

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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mudie - Wednesday, June 14 2006 @ 01:33 AM EDT (#148913) #

Anything you cantu I cantu better! Jorge Cantu will give you some power at 3B or 2B, and as far as the named goes how about the Great Gringo Grinders! They beat us canucks pretty good a the WBC.

Magpie - Wednesday, June 14 2006 @ 01:37 AM EDT (#148915) #
Naturally Saul Hernandez and his mates in Jaguares can sing the... well, the unofficial national anthem:

Vienes caminando
Y no sabes tu destino
Conquistando sueños
Sueñas llegar a ser deidad
Sigues caminando
Sobre viejos territorios
Invocando fuerzas
Que jamas, entenderas

Y vienes desde alla
Donde no sale el sol
Donde no hay calor
Donde la sangre nunca se sacrifico
Por un amor
Pero aqui no es asi

One of the world's truly great bands, by the way. The Mexican U2, if you like that sort of thing...
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, June 14 2006 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#148929) #
Mudie, Cantu would be an upgrade, but alas, he was born in Texas (or Tejas, if you prefer) ...
Bruce Wrigley - Wednesday, June 14 2006 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#148932) #

The great slugger Hector Espino never played in the majors, but he would be as good as anyone on this list.  He's ideal to fill the hole this team has at first base.

Mel Almada, by the way, should probably be in centerfield.  Almada had possibly the best range of any defensive outfielder in the NL during his time, at least until Terry Moore came into the league.  It doesn't show as much in the numbers, though.

Mike Green - Wednesday, June 14 2006 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#148937) #
Thanks, Mick, as you have cured me of one of my many ailments of ignorance.  I figured that Sid Monge was a strange English name, perhaps bizarrely related to Mungo Jerry, but I learned that he was in fact Isidro Monge (Mon-hay). 

You could call the club the Monterey Jacks.

Mudie - Wednesday, June 14 2006 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#148951) #

Cantu was born in Reynosa, Mexico  says Tampa Bays web site.

Mick Doherty - Wednesday, June 14 2006 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#148999) #
Ah, but according to Cantu's page on, which is the final arbiter for the Hall of Names, he was born in McAllen, Texas.

If anyone has a definitive source -- like, you know the family or something -- speak up!

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