While baseball players and fans worldwide speak different languages, the one thing that never gets lost in translation is the greatness of international players such as Hector Espino, dubbed the “Babe Ruth de la Mexico”.
On September 7, 2010, the website for the
Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame, known as the Salon de la
Fama ran an article entitled “RECUERDAN A HECTOR ESPINO”,
which translated to “Recalling Hector Espino” commemorating the 13th
anniversary of the passing of this amazing and much admired Mexican
A symbol of Mexican pride, the slugging Espino (honorary member
of the 500 Home Run Club®) is the all-time Minor League home run hitter
with 484 long balls. After being named the Mexican League Rookie of the
Year in 1962, he led the league in home runs in 1964 and 1972; batting
average in 1964 and in 1966-68; and in RBI in 1962 and 1973. His Mexican
League homerun record of 46 long balls, set in 1964, stood until
Although he received offers to play for the Cardinals, Mets,
and Padres, Espino opted to remain in his Mexican homeland for the
majority of his career. He did play 32 games for Jacksonville
(International League) in 1964, batting .300, but was offended by racial
discrimination and swore he would never again play in the U.S.
He retired at age 45 after playing 25 seasons and was inducted
into the Mexican Baseball Salon de la Fama in 1988.
Fun Facts about Espino:
- In 1962 he was the Rookie of the Year of the Mexican
League playing for the Monterrey Sultans , batting .358 with 23 homers
and 105 RBI leader.
- He led the Mexican team to its first Caribbean Series win (1976) and he played in 6 Caribbean Series.
- He won 13 batting titles in 24 years in winter ball and was inducted into the Caribbean Hall of Fame.
- He was batting champion in 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1973 in
summer, was crowned in four seasons as the best slugger, drove in runs
1.573, with 2.752 hits, 453 of them homers, accumulating a lifetime
percentage of .335.