October 26, 1936|
|Died: April 24, 1992
|April 20, 1960 for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1962 for the New York Mets|
|Runs batted in||39|
Elio Chacón Rodríguez (October 26, 1936 – April 24, 1992) was a Major League Baseball second baseman and shortstop who played in the National League from 1960 to 1962. He was the seventh baseball player from Venezuela to play in the majors.
Chacón batted .265 as a reserve second baseman with the NL Champion Cincinnati Reds of 1961. In game two of that World Series, Chacón hit a key bloop single against New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry, and scored the winning run in the Reds' only victory in the series.
During the 1962 season, New York Mets center fielder Richie Ashburn and Elio Chacón found themselves colliding in the outfield. When Ashburn went for a catch, he would scream, "I got it! I got it!" only to run into the 160-pound Chacón, who spoke only Spanish. Ashburn learned to yell, "¡Yo la tengo! ¡Yo la tengo!" which is "I've got it" in Spanish. In a later game, Ashburn happily saw Chacón backing off. He relaxed, positioned himself to catch the ball, and was instead run over by 200-pound left fielder Frank Thomas, who understood no Spanish and had missed a team meeting that proposed using the words "¡Yo la tengo!" as a way to avoid outfield collisions. After getting up, Thomas asked Ashburn, "What the hell is a Yellow Tango?". The band, Yo La Tengo, gets its name from this baseball anecdote.
On October 10, 1961, an expansion draft to stock the Houston Colt .45s and New York Mets new National League clubs was conducted in Cincinnati. Chacón was the Mets' first candidate for the starting shortstop job. He led the club in stolen bases in the inaugural season of 1962, but then never appeared in the major leagues again. According to The Mets Fan's Little Book of Wisdom by Bucky Fox, Chacon got into a brawl with Willie Mays. That is why he didn't play in the majors again.
Chacón was a .232 career hitter with four home runs, 28 RBI, 49 runs, and 20 stolen bases in 228 games played. In the Mets all-timers database popularity, he is ranked at # 250 in a list of 726 players.
Elio Chacón died in Caracas, Venezuela, at the age of 55.