Roberto Rodríguez (baseball)

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Roberto Rodríguez
Pitcher
Born: (1941-11-29)November 29, 1941
Caracas, Venezuela
Died: September 23, 2012(2012-09-23) (aged 70)
Maracay, Venezuela
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 13, 1967, for the Kansas City Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1970, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 4–3
Earned run average 4.81
Saves 7
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Roberto Muñoz Rodríguez (November 29, 1941 – September 23, 2012) was a Venezuelan pitcher in Major League Baseball who played in parts of two seasons spanning 1967–1970. Listed at 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), 185 lb (84 kg), he played in the United States under the name of Roberto Rodriguez.[1]

Born in Caracas, Rodríguez carried a varied repertoire that relied on intelligence over raw explosiveness. He had a variable-speed fastball (reaching 90 MPH), a slider, a tough curveball, and a circle change-up as his most effective offering.[2]

Once considered one of the best prospects in the Kansas City Athletics minor league system, he also pitched for the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs organizations.

Rodríguez was signed by the Athletics as an amateur free agent in 1963, spending seven minor league seasons from 1964–1970. He posted a 42–28 record and a 3.15 earned run average in 124 pitching appearances before being promoted to the big team in May 1967. He returned to the minors in early June and was recalled two months later.[3]

He went 1–1 with a 3.57 ERA and two saves in 15 games (five starts).[1] On August 27, he earned his first and only major league victory against the Detroit Tigers, 2–1, allowing four hits to a powerful lineup that included Norm Cash, Bill Freehan, Al Kaline, Dick McAuliffe, Eddie Mathews and Jim Northrup.[4]

After that, Rodríguez would remain in the organization after the team was renamed the Oakland Athletics in 1968. He returned to the majors in 1970, pitching for the Athletics, Padres and Cubs in the same season.[1] He later played three Triple-A seasons with the Tacoma Cubs and the Wichita Aeros from 1971 through 1974.[3]

In a three-season career, he compiled a 4–3 record with a 4.81 ERA and seven saves in 57 games.[1] Over the course of his 11-year minor league career from 1964–1974, he went 61–43 with a 3.60 ERA in 904 games.[3]

In addition, Rodríguez played in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League during 17 seasons (1961–62/1978–79). ″Pluto″, as his teammates nicknamed him, went 64–49 with a 3.04 ERA and 59 saves in 168 games (97 starts), to become the first pitcher in VPBL history to top both 50 wins and 50 saves.[5] The mark was later matched by Luis Aponte (1973–74/1996–97) and Giovanni Carrara (1990–91/2009–10).[6]

After retiring he worked as a pitching coach in his Venezuelan homeland. He also served as an instructor in the baseball academy operated by Carlos Guillén in Maracay. In 2011, he gained induction into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame.[6]

Rodríguez died in Maracay in 2012, at the age of 70, after suffering a heart failure.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Baseball Reference – major league profile". 
  2. ^ Enciclopedia del Béisbol en Venezuela – 1895–2006 – Daniel Gutiérrez, Efraim Alvarez, Daniel Gutiérrez (h). Publisher: Fondo Editorial Cárdenas Lares, Caracas, Venezuela, 1997. Format: Softcover, 557pp. Language: Spanish. Library of Congress GV863.41.A1 G88 1997 (Open Library) [1]
  3. ^ a b c "Baseball Reference – minor league career". 
  4. ^ Retrosheet.org – Kansas City Athletics 2, Detroit Tigers 1. Game Played on Sunday, August 27, 1967 (D) at Municipal Stadium
  5. ^ Enciclopedia del Béisbol en Venezuela
  6. ^ a b c "ElNacional.com – Roberto Muñoz murió en Maracay (Spanish)". 

External links[edit]