October 21, 2021

Un jardinero de grandes expectativas (Farewell Richard Hidalgo)

November 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Siempre esperé grandes temporadas de Richard Hidalgo. Desde que John Carrillo lo anunció como: “Recuerden este nombre porque dará mucho de que hablar”, en un programa radial de comienzos de los 90, siempre revisaba los box scores de las ligas menores y estaba pendiente de cómo le iba en la liga paralela para ver si subía a jugar con Magallanes. Era un pelotero de las cinco herramientas. Tenía poder, corría, fildeaba, bateaba en las dos dimensiones (poder y promedio), lo que más me impresionó al principio de su carrera fue la potencia de su brazo. Recuerdo que la primera vez que lo escuché por la radio sacó a varios corredores en la goma a lo largo de toda esa temporada.

En la final de la temporada 1993-94 el manager Tim Tolman demostró la confianza que le tenía a Richard Hidalgo al sacarlo a jugar a la defensiva en el tercer y el cuarto juego que implicaron el empate aquella serie de los eternos rivales, por parte del Magallanes. El tercer encuentro terminó 7-2 y el cuarto 2-1.

En 1993 Hidalgo jugó con los Tourists de Asheville de la South Atlantic League “A”. En 111 juegos bateó para .270, 10 jonrones, 55 empujadas, 49 anotadas, 21 bases robadas; al campo hizo 197 outs, 30 asistencias, 6 dobleplays, 6 errores, promedio de fildeo .974.

Recuerdo mucho un juego de la temporada 1996, Hidalgo jugaba con los Generals de Jackson en la Liga de Texas AA, en agosto de ese año el lanzador venezolano Edgar Ramos lanzó un juego sin hits ni carreras ante los Shreveport Captains. Hidalgo estuvo involucrado en las tres carreras de Jackson. Remolcó dos con jonrón y anotó otra empujado por Mitch Melluskey.

En ese 1996 con el equipo de Jackson, Hidalgo bateó para .294 en 513 turnos al bate, largó 14 vuelacercas, empujó 78 carreras, anotó 66, estafó 11 almohadillas. Al campo realizó 302 outs, 14 asistencias, 6 dobleplays, 6 errores, .981 promedio de fildeo.

De vuelta en la LVBP Richard tuvo una de sus mejores (sino la mejor) temporadas con Magallanes. En 49 encuentros bateó para .276, 28 empujadas, 30 anotadas, 14 dobles, 2 triples, 3 cuadrangulares. Recuerdo mucho el primer juego de esa final 1996-97. Omar Daal versus Ramón García. Los Leones se fueron adelante mediante imparable de Gary Thurman, error de Ramón García tratando de sorprenderlo lo llevó a la antesala desde donde anotó con rodado a la intermedia de Bob Abreu. La igualada magallanera llegó en el cuarto episodio mediante triple de Edgardo Alfonzo y sencillo remolcador de Hidalgo. Esa carrera destapó un ardoroso duelo de lanzadores que decidió Alejandro Freire con escalofriante cuadrangular ante Daal en el cierre del octavo inning. En el cuarto juego Hidalgo resultó decisivo en la victoria 3-2 ante el Caracas. Sonó jonrón de dos carreras en el cuarto inning y en la apertura del octavo anotaría la carrera decisiva luego de negociar boleto (y pasar a segunda por sencillo de Luis Raven) amparado por sencillo de Eddy Díaz.

Entonces vino aquella campaña del año 2000 que pensábamos sería la primera de varias. Con los Astros de Houston,  Hidalgo empujó 122 carreras, con 44 vuelacercas,  70 anotadas, 29 dobles, .314 de promedio al bate en 558 turnos al bate. Al campo, principalmente como centerfielder hizo 425 outs, 7 asistencias, 7 errores, 2 dobleplays, .984 promedio de fildeo.

En 2003 tambien con los Astros y en 514 turnos, anotó 91 carreras, empujó 88, 28 jonrones, 43 dobles, .309 de promedio de bateo. Al campo realizó 277 outs, 22 asistencias (tope para un jardinero derecho en todas las Grandes Ligas ese año y record para un jardinero venezolano), 4 errores, 5 dobleplays, .987 promedio de fildeo.

El último gran logro que recuerdo de Hidalgo fueron los 3 jonrones que despachó ante los Cardenales de Lara en un juego de round robin, el 04 de enero de 2007, dos ante Juan Carlos Pulido y otro ante Emiliano Fruto. Magallanes terminó ganando 6-3. Así se unía a Bob Darwin (15-11-1972) y Bill Taylor, fallecido en septiembre de este año, (24-01-1954), como los únicos magallaneros en batear 3 jonrones en un juego.

Aún cuando Richard Hidalgo haya dejado ciertas expectativas con respecto a lo que haya podido alcanzar como beisbolista, agradecemos todos los momentos especiales que nos regaló desde el campo de juego.

 

Alfonso L. Tusa C.

 

English translation

 

This Sunday, October 30th, 2011; Richard Hidalgo said good bye to the  venezuelan winter league as an active placer. I always expected great seasons from him. The first time I knew about him was when John Carrillo said in a radio show at the beginning of the 1990’s: “Remember this name because he will be a great player”. I always checked the minor leagues box scores and was aware about the moment of his debut with the Magallanes Navigators. Hidalgo was a five tools player. He had power, could run, good glove, could hit both for power and average, but what most impressed me was the strength in his arm. I remember that the first time I knew about him through the radio broadcasts, Hidalgo made a lot of assists in home plate during all that season.

In the final series of the 1993-94 venezuelan winter league season, the manager Tim Tolman showed his confidence in Richard Hidalgo by bringing him to play in left field in the third and fourth games that meant for the Magallanes Navigators the tying of the series. Magallanes won the third game 7-2, and the fourth one 2-1.

In 1993 Hidalgo played with the Asheville Tourists in the South Atlantic League Class A. He played in 111 games, .270 batting average, 10 home runs, 55 RBI’s, 49 runs, 21 stolen bases. In the field he made 197 putous, 30 assists, 6 double plays, 6 errors, .974 fielding average.

I remember very well a game in the 1996 season, Hidalgo played for the Jackson Generals in the Texas League Class AA. In August, the Venezuelan pitcher Edgar Ramos hurled a no-hitter before the Shreveport Captains. Hidalgo batted in the first two runs with a dinger and scored the other one through a sacrifice fly of Mitch Melluskey.

That 1996 season with the Jackson team, Hidalgo had a batting average of .294 in 513 at-bats, 14 home runs, 78 RBI’s, 66 runs, 11 stolen bases. In the field he made 302 putouts, 14 assists, 6 double plays, 6 errors, .981 fielding average.

Returning to the venezuelan winter league, Hidalgo had one of his best seasons (if not the best of all) with the Magallanes Navigators. In 49 games, he batted for an average of .276, 28 RBI’s, 30 runs, 14 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs. I also remember so much the 1996-97 final series of the venezuelan winter league. Omar Daal versus Ramón García. The Caracas Lions took the lead through a base hit by Gary Thurman, he advanced to third base through an error of Ramón García trying to pick him off at first base, Bob Abreu plated Thurman in with a grounder to second base. Magallanes tied the game in the fourth frame through a three-base hit by Edgardo Alfonzo and a single by Hidalgo. That run started a great pitching duel that finished when Alejandro Freire hit a home run before Daal in the bottom of the eghth frame. In the fourth game, Hidalgo was the key player in the 3-2 victory before the Caracas team. He hit a two-run dinger in the fourth inning and scored the third run in the top of the eighth after getting a walk and advancing to second base through a base hit by Luis Raven. Eddy Díaz plated in Hidalgo with a single.

Then it came that season with the Houston Astros in 2000, I thought it would be the first of many more. Hidalgo batted in 122 runs, 44 home runs, 70 runs, 29 doubles, .314 batting average in 558 at-bats. In the field mainly as center fielder Hidalgo made 425 putouts, 7 assists, 7 errors, 2 doubleplays, .984 fielding average.

In 2003, also with the Houston Astros, Hidalgo had 514 at-bats, 91 runs, 88 RBI’s, 28 home runs, 43 doubles, .309 batting average. In the field he made 277 outs, 22 assists (the most assists for an outfielder in MLB during the 2003 season, and the record of most assists for a Venezuelan outfuielder in an MLB season), 4 errors, 5 double plays, .987 fielding average.

The last great achievement for Hidalgo was the hitting of three dingers in a game before the Lara Cardinals in the semifinal series of the Venezuelan winter league season of  2006-07. The game took place on Sunday, January 04th, 2007. Hidalgo hit the first two shots before Juan Carlos Pulido the other one against Emiliano Fruto. Magallanes won the game 6-3. That way Hidalgo joined Bob Darwin ( 11-15-1972) and Bill Taylor, who passed away recently, (01-24-1954) as the only Magallanes players who hit three dingers in a game.

No matter how many expectations Richard Hidalgo had left unachieved in reference to his ceiling as baseball player, I should thank Richard Hidalgo for all the special moments he gave us from the baseball field.

 

Alfonso L. Tusa C.

 

Alfonso’s work has been featured in Venezuel’s daily newspaper, El
Nacional and in the magazine Gente en Ambiente, and he has collaborated
on several articles for newspapers, including the daily paper Tal Cual.
He has also written three books and biographies for SABR’s BioProject.

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