The Demanding Dozen (conclusion)

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 25, 2010

Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie Guillen

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — As we close this series on minority managers in major league baseball, we find that the game has expanded and continues to grow world wide despite the backward tendencies of the executive leaders of this wonderful game, baseball continues to move forward.

The new 1070 Arizona Immigration Law will be enforced later this week (Thursday, July 29).

Latino baseball players might think twice about their careers in the game. Many teams have headquarters for their minor league clubs in the state of Arizona.

This could be a turning point for Major League Baseball and a chance to make a stand. Baseball can either be a game of inclusion and expansion or die because of racial indifference.

Latin players have overtaken baseball the past 30 years. But they’ve had problems breaking Major League’s color lines in managing a professional team, just as their African American and Asian American brothers.

Latin players face the same humiliations that their minority brothers faced in the 1940′s, 50′s, and 60′s. Segregation does not distinguish between languages just people of darker hue.

The Latino players have a long history in baseball from Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, of the Pittsburgh Pirates whose number 21 should be retired. Along with other Latin stars such as Minnie Minoso, who played with many teams, breaking the record for pinch hitting appearances in 2000.

Minoso played four decades and became the oldest player in the league and who started the second wave of Latino players to America.

Other great Latin players that have helped to change the game were Hall of Famer Rod Carew, Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Bernie Williams.

Not to mention the great Latin pitchers like Luis Tiant, Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, and the new sensation Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies.

Without these players baseball would not be the game it is today.

Here is the breakdown of Latino players from countries that have made the game of baseball exciting to watch the past five years:

66 from Dominican Republic, 31 from Puerto Rico, 25 from Venezuela, 12 from Mexico, 11 from Cuba, 7 from Panama, 3 from Colombia, and 1 each from Argentina and Nicaragua

There is a big stumbling block that most Latino players playing in America face — command of the English language. Latino managers have to face prejudice because many American baseball executives misconceive these talented players as being Black not Latino.

Many baseball owners and general managers think that Latinos cannot direct American players because of the perceived languages barrier this is often never the case.

Today, we finish our list of Latino managers in MLB history.

Jerry Manuel

The current manager of the New York Mets, Manuel previously took the Chicago White Sox to the playoffs in 2000. His nickname is “The Sage”. He got his start with the coaching jobs in Montreal and Florida before landing with the White Sox. He has an overall winning record, but has not won a postseason game. He could be the first Latino to lead two teams into the playoffs if the Mets win the NL East. Manuel had a short seven year professional career with the Tigers, Expos, and Padres. The storm still swirls around him in Flushing Meadows about the way he received the job at Citi Field.

Luis Pujols

This former major league catcher briefly managed the Detroit Tigers on an interim basis in 2002 with the help of Felipe Alou. He is more known as the cousin to St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols. Luis had a very short baseball career with the Astros, Royals, and Rangers. During that season, the Tigers somehow batted out of order in a game costing Detroit a contest. Pujols would follow Alou to San Francisco as first base coach. His managing career ended with a 55-100 record. He is currently managing the Class AA Corpus Christi Hooks in the Astros’ organization.

Ozzie Guillen

Clearly the best of the current Latino managers, the former big league shortstop has been the White Sox boss since 2004 (succeeding Jerry Manuel). The major’s first manager from Venezuela he would win a World Series in 2005. The colorful Guillen won Rookie of the Year in 1985 and was the AL Manager of the Year in 2005. Ozzie never holds his tongue and the players love and respect that. He is a workaholic and will stay after the game many nights. Guillen has followed in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Luis Aparico as a standout shortstop in the White Sox organization.

Manny Acta

The current manager of the Cleveland Indians, he previously managed the Washington Nationals. A native of the Dominican Republic, Acta never played a major league game but toiled in the Houston Astros farm system as a first basemen and outfielder. He sharpened his managing skills under the leadership of Frank Robinson in Canada.

Acta was fired in a very strange way. ESPN reported that he was let go by the Nationals. The team denied the story. However later that week, Washington would release Acta after 0-5 start.

Juan Samuel

The three-time All-Star is the current interim manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Samuel played for seven teams (Phillies, Mets, Dodgers, Royals, Reds, Tigers, and Blue Jays) in his 16-year career at second base and in the outfield. The Sporting News’ National League Rookie of the Year in 1984, he was inducted into the Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame at Citizens Bank Park in 2008. Samuel’s first managing job came in the Mets organization in 2006 with the Class AA Binghamton Mets.

Edwin Rodriguez Taking over for Fredi Gonzalez this season in Florida, the former major leaguer became the first Puerto Rican to manage in the majors. A former Yankee and Padre, Rodriguez had been managing the Marlins’ Class AAA affiliate in New Orleans.