The Santurce Crabbers

Sixty Seasons of Puerto Rican Winter League Baseball

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About the Book

The first owner of the Santurce Crabbers, Pedrín Zorrilla, was a visionary, with many Negro League and big league contacts (he signed up Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Roy Campanella, Ray Dandridge and Leon Day in the first decade). Santurce was the most successful winter league team of the 1950s, with three Caribbean Series titles. Roberto Clemente, Rubén Gómez, Willie Mays, Willard Brown and Bob Thurman played for the Crabbers. Tom Lasorda used to pitch for them.
Santurce set up working agreements with the Giants, Orioles, Dodgers and Astros, among other teams. Earl Weaver and Frank Robinson were team managers; several Hall of Famers were early-career Crabbers. Orlando Cepeda and Tony (Tany) Pérez played their entire winter league careers with Santurce.

About the Author(s)

Thomas E. Van Hyning, fluent in Spanish and a research manager for the Mississippi Tourism Division, served 1991–1995 as U.S. correspondent for the Puerto Rico Professional Baseball Hall of Fame and was a former member of SABR’s Latin American Committee. He writes for The National Pastime and the Baseball Research Journal. He also wrote Puerto Rico’s Winter League (1995; paperback 2004). He lives in Florence, Mississippi.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas E. Van Hyning
Foreword by Herman Franks
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 279
Bibliographic Info: 56 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3895-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1407-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Foreword (by Herman Franks)      1

Preface      3

1. IT BEGAN WITH PEDRÍN      7

2. A LEAGUE ANCHOR      25

3. RUBÉN GÓMEZ, #22      45

4. FROM CARACAS TO CARACAS      63

5. ESCOBAR GIVES WAY TO BITHORN      83

6. BALTIMORE COMES TO TOWN      103

7. THE DRY SPELL BEGINS      123

8. THE DRY SPELL CONTINUES      141

9. A NEW DECADE      159

10. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES      183

Appendices: Santurce Crabbers Statistics      201

1. Team Standings: Wins-Losses, 1939–1999      201

2. Santurce’s Post-Season series: Results/Standings, 1940–1999      204

3. Regular Season City Championships, Santurce vs. San Juan, 1939–1999      206

4. Selected Santurce League Leaders, Hitting and Pitching, 1939–1999      207

5. Santurce MVP Award Recipients, 1940–1999      209

6. Santurce Rookie of the Year Recipients, 1943–1999      209

7. Selected Santurce Career Records, 1940–1999      210

8. Santurce Single Season and Career Hitting and Pitching Records, 1939–1999      218

9. Boxscores of League No-Hitters by Santurce Pitchers      219

10. Santurce Team Rosters, 1939–1999      221

11. Santurce Dream Teams, 1939–1999      239

12. Selected Major League Achievements Earned by Santurce Players through the 1998 Season      240

13. Puerto Rico Professional Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees with a Santurce Connection, 1991–1996      242

14. Pedrín Zorrilla Award Recipients, 1981–1998      242

15. Santurce and other League Teams and Stadiums, 1939–1999      243

Notes      245

Selected Bibliography      253

Index      255

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Library Journal; “a fascinating look at a little-known but important piece of baseball history”—Sports Collectors Digest; “one of the most storied franchises in the Caribbean”—The SABR Bulletin; “gives us an insider’s view of the team’s greatness and foibles…. The book is peppered with incredible photos of dozens of well-known major leaguers and concludes with a complete roster of 60 years of teams, their records, and ‘selected Major League achievements earned by Santurce players through 1998’”—The Diamond Angle; “a treasure trove…Van Hyning…has done a marvelous job”—The San Juan Star; “a richly detailed history…a veritable who’s who of big league stars of the last half century. No less than 15 Hall of Famers have played or managed in Santurce”—The Clarion–Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi).