Espinoza batting in 1990
February 19, 1962 |
Valencia, Carabobo State, Venezuela
|September 14, 1984 for the Minnesota Twins|
Last MLB appearance
|July 12, 1997 for the Seattle Mariners|
|Runs batted in||201|
Born in Valencia, Carabobo, he graduated from Pedro Gual High School where he played baseball, soccer and basketball.
As a young prospect, Espinoza was let go by the Houston Astros system. But he went on to have twelve decent seasons with the Minnesota Twins (1984–1986), New York Yankees (1988–1991), Cleveland Indians (1993–1996), New York Mets (1996) and Seattle Mariners (1997).
Although a free swinger, Espinoza was a good bat handler and contact hitter. His game was to simply put the ball in play and not try to hit for power. As a baserunner, he had average speed.
Probably, he was not among the most gifted athletes ever to play shortstop, but he positioned himself extremely well and got to many balls that might have eluded some flashier shortstops. A sure-handed fielder, he had a strong throwing arm and found many ways to turn a double play, as well as his concentration and knowledge of the game were his main assets.
Hired by the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Espinoza made his managerial debut in 1999 and guided Class-A Vero Beach to a 48–85 record in the Florida State League. He spent 2000 and 2001 as the Dodgers Minor League Roving Infield Coordinator.
In 2002, Espinoza was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates and then named their infield Instructor in 2004.
Interestingly, Espinoza joined Ruppert Jones‚ Dave Kingman‚ Ricky Nelson and José Canseco as the only players to hit a fair ball that got stuck in a stadium obstruction. Jones and Nelson both had hits get caught in the overhead speakers at the old Kingdome. The balls hit by Kingman and Espinoza were at the Minneapolis Metrodome, with Kingman's getting stuck in a drainage valve and Espinoza's lodging in an overhead speaker.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Venezuelan Professional Baseball League
- Baseball Stars
- MLB page
- The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia – Gary Gillette, Peter Gammons, Pete Palmer. Publisher: Sterling Publishing, 2005. Format: Paperback, 1824pp. Language: English. ISBN 1-4027-4771-3