March 2, 1932|
|Died: June 11, 2016
|July 14, 1956, for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 29, 1963, for the New York Mets|
|Runs batted in||258|
Humberto Fernández Pérez (March 2, 1932 – June 11, 2016), better known as Chico Fernández, was a Cuban professional baseball shortstop. He played eight seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1956 to 1963 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, and New York Mets. In 1965 he played one season in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Hanshin Tigers.
Fernández began his career as a bright prospect for the Brooklyn Dodgers but was not able to break into the lineup with Pee Wee Reese at the shortstop position. On April 5, 1957, Fernández was traded by the Brooklyn Dodgers to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Ron Negray, Tim Harkness, Elmer Valo, Mel Geho, $75,000 and a player to be named later. Fernández made his first appearance with Philadelphia on April 16, 1957. Fernández was the Phillies' regular shortstop for two seasons. In his first year with the Phillies, Fernández collected 131 hits for a .262 batting average and a .302 on-base percentage. He also stole 18 bases, 5th best in the National League. In 1958, Chico stole 12 bases and was 9th best in the National League. Fernández' batting average dropped over the next two seasons, and he saw limited time in 1959, hitting .211.
In December 1959, the Phillies traded Fernández to the Detroit Tigers, where he became the Tigers' regular shortstop for the next three seasons from 1960 through 1962. In 1960, he led American League shortstops with 34 errors; his fielding percentage was .947. By 1962, he increased his fielding percentage to .960. More surprising, Fernández displayed power as a hitter in 1962. After six seasons in which he never hit more than 6 home runs, Fernández hit 20 home runs and 59 RBIs for the Tigers in 1962. Both were career highs.
With a young Dick McAuliffe ready to assume the shortstop position for the Tigers, Detroit traded Fernández to the New York Mets in May 1963. Fernández played 58 games for the Mets in 1963 and was then traded to the Chicago White Sox in April 1964. Fernández did not play for the Sox. He finished his career playing in Japan in 1965 for the Hanshin Tigers.
Fernández died June 11, 2016, in Florida, aged 84, from complications of a stroke suffered the month before.
- "Chico Fernandez Statistics and History". "baseball-reference.com. Accessed June 10, 2017.
- "Tigers Trade Fernandez". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. Associated Press (AP). May 9, 1963. p. 36. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
- Dow, Bill (June 12, 2016). "Former Tiger Chico Fernandez dies at age 84". freep.com. Detroit, Michigan: Detroit Free Press. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Retrosheet, or Baseball Reference (Minor, Japanese and Mexican leagues)