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This article was written by Thomas Van Hyning. This article was published in the Spring Baseball Research Journal. Caguas has won 18 league titles in Puerto Rico and played in 14 Caribbean Series. Courtesy of Serie del Caribe. Caguas is 20 miles south of San Juan. Caguas was one of six franchises in the inaugural game season in Its championship team went through a six-team, game season and two playoff series. The champs had participated in a six-team, game regular season, a game round-robin, and league finals.
The abbreviated four-team, game regular season in January was a result of damage from Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico on September 20, Table 1 highlights the five Caribbean Series title seasons. Mickey Owen was a marvelous player-manager.
Caguas won 15 of its last 17 regular-season games with Owen catching to overtake San Juan. Guigui was a character—carried his money and even a paycheck in his back pocket; played in lots of places where money was taken from locker rooms. Caribbean Series reinforcements were and are a common practice. The key Game Three was Almendares-Caguas. The Cubans were up 1—0 in the seventh inning but Howerton tied the game with a homer and Rance Pless won it 3—1 with another.
Billy Howerton Jr. It was like a huge bonfire. After the game, I remember my father being interviewed for several radio stations. He received gift certificates. Rance Pless recalls serenades all night long after Caguas won four series games to clinch the title. Pless gave a speech in the Caguas town plaza. Tables 2, 3, and 4 have series standings, awards, and All-Star team.
Caguas won league titles in —56, —58, and —60, but not a Caribbean Series. Cuba won five straight from to before the series was discontinued for a decade. Power was the All-Star third baseman. Luis Tiant was a Caguas star. Richert appreciated his teammates showing him a good time. The Puerto Rico league kept me in the big leagues and toughened me up.
It was better than Triple A. Caguas had loyal and rabid fans who could double as groundskeepers. John Strohmayer was pitching in —71 at Caguas when a deluge stopped play in the fourth inning. A big pile of loam was under the stands and put to use. It stopped raining and play d 40 minutes later! Caguas won over defending champion Licey. Its chemistry was the icing on the cake.
Caguas won the —77 and —79 league titles but did not fare well in either Caribbean Series, finishing 1—5 and 2—4, respectively. Their —77 club hit. A strike by Venezuelan League players resulted in the cancellation of the Caribbean Series. Cal Ripken Jr. A lot of the pitching was Triple-A, so the level was between Triple-A and the big leagues. So coming out of Double-A [in ], I had to compete at a higher level and learned quite a few things playing all those games.
I played for Vic Power that season and it was fun. But Mattingly wanted to play; went 3-for Team photo taken prior to Caguas roster changes for the February Caribbean Series. Bernie Williams is pictured third row, second from left. Roberto Alomar is pictured top row, second from left. Bernie Williams, a reserve outfielder in —87, appeared in 27 regular-season games for Caguas. Ellis Burks, like Aaron 33 years earlier, helped Caguas win the league title, but did not play in the Caribbean Series. Tim Foli was a very aggressive manager. I opted to go home and relax after the finals.
Caribbean Series would have been a good experience. Aguilas had beaten Caguas 14—13 in the third game, a contest that featured eight homers and eight errors by the Criollos. Roberto Alomar committed two errors on his 19th birthday—February 5, During the regular season, when I took the lineup card to the plate, there were times the umpires would ask me what inning would I like to manage the team because they planned to send him to the showers. Puerto Rico was in our heart.
Off the field, we would share moments with opposing players and hear music at the night spots and discos, talk about our big-league aspirations. But when we played, it was serious business. This was the fifth and last Caribbean Series for Mario Mendoza in a year winter-ball career in Mexico. Table 11 lists inductees with Caguas connections.. Higher major-league salaries affected winter ball by the late s. Big-league teams stopped sending top prospects to Puerto Rico. Caguas won three league titles between and but disappointed its fans in the , , and Caribbean Series. Sandy Alomar Sr. So did teammate Gary Matthews Jr.
The —13 Criollos played in Hermosillo and won two of six games for a third-place tie. Caguas won its fourth Caribbean Series title, and first in 30 years, after defeating the Santurce Cangrejeros in a best-of-nine finals.
Sixteen years ago I was a kid with no clue of what I wanted to do for a living. This is unreal. He took back jerseys belonging to Jonathan Morales and Randy Ruiz. The Criollos arrived back on the Island Wednesday evening, February 8, , and Caguas hosted a major celebration on February This [Puerto Rico] league must continue. Look at the experience I acquired. It will be beneficial for managing in the States.
He became the first manager in 60 years to win back-to-back Caribbean Series titles. A compressed game schedule in January was followed by an elimination game between second- and third-place teams. The Criollos won their 18th league title prior to flying to Mexico for the Caribbean Series. In the final on February 8, Caguas trailed the Aguilas 4—3 in the seventh inning. I feel blessed.
Luis Matos was thankful his players came through. Thomas E. He suggested that Hank Aaron move from second base to right field early in the Puerto Rico season. Power said that the Caguas team, with a regular-season record, was the best Caguas team he ever played on. Bill Howerton Jr. Pless was a fan favorite in Caguas his three seasons there, hitting. His best season was with a. Pless led the Puerto Rico League with 17 doubles in Benson managed Santurce to the league title, after a seven-game semifinal series with Caguas.
Benson also managed Licey to a Dominican Winter League title. Caguas management and native players went out of their way to make the imported players feel at home. Most imports were stateside players, but Luis Tiant was Cuban. Howard was a coach with the Yankees at the time. He played one season of winter ball in the Dominican Republic, followed by two seasons with Caguas. Howard spoke highly of his playing and cultural experiences on both islands.
Felipe Alou, the Caguas manager in , befriended Howard in the Dominican Republic and took him fishing. Billy Byrd won 15 games. He had a. Apodaca fondly recalled the red-and-white Caguas uniforms.Caguas daddy is here for you ladies
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