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View Full Version : What If-- Valenzuela?


Lip Man 1
07-05-2007, 04:59 PM
Just heard an interesting story today and I found it fascinating enough to track it down.

Apparently it's true at least according to Roland Hemond.

I had recently heard that the Sox had 'discovered' very early on, a rolly-polly left hander pitching in Mexico. Guy by the name of Valenzuela.....

The story I was told was that it came down to the Sox and Dodgers for his services and that the Dodgers wound up getting him for about 20 thousand more then the Sox offered.

Sure would have changed things in the early 80's eh, had Fernando-mania been on the South Side?

Roland told me that Fernando's G.M. Carlos Ramirez, called him with the chance to see him pitch. Roland knew Ramirez from his days in the Angels organization as scouting director. Ramirez was a middle infielder in the system. Roland dispatched Paul Richards to Mexico to see him pitch and that Richards really liked him.

So they went to Bill Veeck to see what he thought. According to Roland, Veeck was interested and they made an offer but when the Dodgers topped it, Bill felt it was beyond what the Sox were able to spend at that time.

Roland also said the decision wasn't based totally on on finances.

He remembered Bill making the point that the Sox had a number of talented left handers in the organization including Ken Kravec, Britt Burns and Ross Baumgarten and that another left hander might be overkill.

Just one of those 'what if' that can change the destiny of a franchise, much like what might have happened had Frank Lane signed Ernie Banks or if Cincinnati had accepted the Sox offer for Frank Robinson instead of Baltimore's or if 'Hawk' Harrelson decided to sign with the White Sox in midseason 1967 instead of Boston.

Feel free to contact me if I can answer any questions or give any more information.

Lip

It's Dankerific
07-05-2007, 05:04 PM
Valenzuela, Robinson, and the Hawk might have asked for a NTC...

We just can't have that and build a championship team. Look it up. No team has EVER won a world series championship and had a player with a NTC on it at the same time. Just. Doesn't. Happen.


Just heard an interesting story today and I found it fascinating enough to track it down.

Apparently it's true at least according to Roland Hemond.

I had recently heard that the Sox had 'discovered' very early on, a rolly-polly left hander pitching in Mexico. Guy by the name of Valenzuela.....

The story I was told was that it came down to the Sox and Dodgers for his services and that the Dodgers wound up getting him for about 20 thousand more then the Sox offered.

Sure would have changed things in the early 80's eh, had Fernando-mania been on the South Side?

Roland told me that Fernando's G.M. Carlos Ramirez, called him with the chance to see him pitch. Roland knew Ramirez from his days in the Angels organization as scouting director. Ramirez was a middle infielder in the system. Roland dispatched Paul Richards to Mexico to see him pitch and that Richards really like him.

So they went to Bill Veeck to see what he thought. According to Roland, Veeck was interested and they made an offer but when the Dodgers topped it, Bill felt it was beyond what the Sox were able to spend at that time.

Roland also said the decision wasn't based totally on on finances.

He remembered Bill making the point that the Sox had a number of talented left handers in the organization including Ken Kravec, Britt Burns and Ross Baumgarten and that another left hander might be overkill.

Just one of those 'what if' that can change the destiny of a franchise, much like what might have happened had Frank Lane signed Ernie Banks or if Cincinnati had accepted the Sox offer for Frank Robinson instead of Baltimore's or if 'Hawk' Harrelson decided to sign with the White Sox in midseason 1967 instead of Boston.

Feel free to contact me if I can answer any questions or give any more information.

Lip

Foulke You
07-05-2007, 06:07 PM
Hey Lip, what were the details behind Hawk not signing with the White Sox in '67? Why was Hawk not playing earlier that year?

Lip Man 1
07-05-2007, 07:27 PM
Foulke:

Hawk was playing with the Kansas City Athletics and having a pretty good year hitting .305 when he finally got tired of owner Charlie Finley and blistered the organization to the press.

Finley didn't hesitate...he cut him right on the spot on my birthday August 25, 1967.

'Hawk' was one of baseball's first 'free agents.' Immediately teams began trying to get him to sign especially in the heat of the greatest pennant race in history.

The Sox sent both Ed Short (G.M.) and manager Eddie Stanky to see him to see if they could convince him to come to Chicago and play right field instead of Rocky Colovito.

It turned out Boston signed him on the 28th.

Rich Lindberg told me that he asked Hawk about this and Hawk told him he was very tempted to come to Chicago but that he thought Boston had the best chance to get to the Series and he was right.

The funny thing though was he went right in the tank when he signed with the Red Sox and that stretched all the way through the World Series. Maybe he was hurt.

He did have a monster 1968 season though getting Comeback Player Of The Year.

Lip

Dan the Man
07-05-2007, 07:33 PM
It turned out Boston signed him on the 28th.

Rich Lindberg told me that he asked Hawk about this and Hawk told him he was very tempted to come to Chicago but that he thought Boston had the best chance to get to the Series and he was right.

The funny thing though was he went right in the tank when he signed with the Red Sox and that stretched all the way through the World Series. Maybe he was hurt.

He did have a monster 1968 season though getting Comeback Player Of The Year.

Lip

Hence, the everyday Yaz "memories". Oh well.

beckett21
07-05-2007, 11:10 PM
Great stuff Lip. As someone who grew up in the days of 'Fernandomania,' that truly would have been something to see here.

Fascinating.

Foulke You
07-06-2007, 12:17 AM
Foulke:

Hawk was playing with the Kansas City Athletics and having a pretty good year hitting .305 when he finally got tired of owner Charlie Finley and blistered the organization to the press.

Finley didn't hesitate...he cut him right on the spot on my birthday August 25, 1967.

'Hawk' was one of baseball's first 'free agents.' Immediately teams began trying to get him to sign especially in the heat of the greatest pennant race in history.

The Sox sent both Ed Short (G.M.) and manager Eddie Stanky to see him to see if they could convince him to come to Chicago and play right field instead of Rocky Colovito.

It turned out Boston signed him on the 28th.

Rich Lindberg told me that he asked Hawk about this and Hawk told him he was very tempted to come to Chicago but that he thought Boston had the best chance to get to the Series and he was right.

The funny thing though was he went right in the tank when he signed with the Red Sox and that stretched all the way through the World Series. Maybe he was hurt.

He did have a monster 1968 season though getting Comeback Player Of The Year.

Lip
Interesting stuff. I always knew Hawk was on that '67 Red Sox team but didn't know he started the year in KC. Thanks Lip.

eriqjaffe
07-06-2007, 08:14 AM
Sure would have changed things in the early 80's eh, had Fernando-mania been on the South Side?Fernando's popularity was heavily magnified by the fact that he pitched in a city with a very, very large Mexican population - I imagine it wouldn't have been nearly as big of a deal on the South Side.

That being said, a rotation of Hoyt, Valenzuela, Dotson, Bannister and Burns would've been a mighty fine rotation.

oldcomiskey
07-06-2007, 11:57 AM
Fernando's popularity was heavily magnified by the fact that he pitched in a city with a very, very large Mexican population - I imagine it wouldn't have been nearly as big of a deal on the South Side.

That being said, a rotation of Hoyt, Valenzuela, Dotson, Bannister and Burns would've been a mighty fine rotation.

Jim Kaat was talking about the white sox centerfield situation one year and he claimed the Yanks had all but traded Bernie Williams to the south side. The guy the sox sent over there didnt pass his physical--so the minor league deal became dead. But we wouldnt have had the great Gary Redus if that happened

Tragg
07-06-2007, 12:04 PM
It would have really been interesting is if, as the 80s wore on and his arm wore down, Hawk would have moved him to catcher to replace our new left-fielder, Carlton Fisk.

Hawk wouldn't have had to trade for Ron Hassey 3 times.

Fenway
07-06-2007, 12:07 PM
Hence, the everyday Yaz "memories". Oh well.

Hawk arrived in Boston just as Yaz began the greatest 6 weeks a player ever had in MLB

Hawk only batted .200 in 23 games and a woeful .077 in the Series

BUT he did hit a walkoff homer in September so....

68 as Lip said he had a great year

Early in 69 he was traded to Cleveland as Boston "thought" Tony C had recovered

Lip Man 1
07-06-2007, 12:12 PM
Fenway:

Here's something else for you to chew on,,, Bob Vanderberg of the Tribune told me this morning that when he interviewed the late Eddie Stanky years ago, Stanky told him the White Sox tried in both 1965 and 1966 to get Yaz.

Boston wasn't doing so good and the Sox thought they could get him coming from N.D. like he did.

The Sox offered Moose Skowron and Johnny Buzhardt who usually beat both the Red Sox and Yankees and was turned down both times.

Lip

Tragg
07-06-2007, 12:17 PM
Hawk arrived in Boston just as Yaz began the greatest 6 weeks a player ever had in MLB


I started following baseball in 1967 and for the first several years, I considered Yaz the best hitter in the American League. Probably a lot to do with that 6 week stretch. He also won the triple crown that year or around that year, didn't he?

soxfan13
07-06-2007, 12:19 PM
Fernando's popularity was heavily magnified by the fact that he pitched in a city with a very, very large Mexican population - I imagine it wouldn't have been nearly as big of a deal on the South Side.

That being said, a rotation of Hoyt, Valenzuela, Dotson, Bannister and Burns would've been a mighty fine rotation.

Having grown up on the South Side it would have been just as big of a deal. If you havent noticed there has always been a heavy Mexican population in the city of Chicago

Dick Allen
07-06-2007, 01:22 PM
Who needs Valenzuela, we have Kenny Kravec. :rolleyes:

Fenway
07-06-2007, 01:27 PM
I started following baseball in 1967 and for the first several years, I considered Yaz the best hitter in the American League. Probably a lot to do with that 6 week stretch. He also won the triple crown that year or around that year, didn't he?

He was the last player to get the Triple Crown and it was 67

HR 44 ( tied with Killebrew) Avg 326 RBI 121

The MLB logo that was introduced in 1969 used Yaz


http://www.rampagebaseball.com/images/mlb_logo.jpg

Lip Man 1
07-06-2007, 01:41 PM
Actually I was told that is Pete Rose on the logo. Yaz held his bat very high, much higher then the logo shows.

Lip

Fenway
07-06-2007, 01:46 PM
some say it is Harmon Killebrew...

The Red Sox make the claim in the media guide :dunno:

Lip Man 1
07-06-2007, 04:09 PM
Well we know that whatever the Red Sox say is gospel, right?

Lip

Tragg
07-06-2007, 05:01 PM
Actually I was told that is Pete Rose on the logo. Yaz held his bat very high, much higher then the logo shows.

Lip

He sure did. As I recall, Jose Tartabull and Reggie Smith did as well, and I think all three were on that 67 team.

pistolesatdawn
07-06-2007, 11:31 PM
I thought I had heard a long time ago that it was Mantle and it was designed so you couldn't tell if the batter was a lefty or righty since Mantle was a switch hitter. My mind could be horribly failing me though.

TDog
07-07-2007, 01:04 AM
During Valenzuela's hot rookie season, I recall a story in The Sporting News reporting that the White Sox had discovered him but didn't pursue him because the system had a glut of left-handed pitching. While Valenzuela had a better career than any of those guys (Ken Kravec, though came up with the Sox in 1975 and was pitching for the Cubs in 1981), they were all impressive enough before making it to the major leagues that Valenzuela, especially at his age, may not have been given the same opportunity to show what he could do with the Sox. If the White Sox had Valenzuela as a hot young stud pitcher, it's doubtful they would have signed Floyd Bannister as a free agent before the 1983 season.

It's easy to criticize a decision not to sign a player more than a quarter of a century later, especially on a board where posters activated the language filter in venting their anger at the Sox for not signing Sidney Ponson as a free agent before the 2005 season.

Brian26
07-07-2007, 10:53 PM
I always thought the MLB logo was modeled after Stan Musial.

Corlose 15
07-07-2007, 11:29 PM
I thought I had heard a long time ago that it was Mantle and it was designed so you couldn't tell if the batter was a lefty or righty since Mantle was a switch hitter. My mind could be horribly failing me though.

Thats funny, I've always that that the batter was lefthanded and never noticed that he could easily be right handed until you mentioned that.