CARACAS, miércoles 01 de abril, 2009 | Actualizado hace
In a brilliant performance as relief pitcher, Alejandro Carrasquel could afford the luxury of striking out Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Bill Dicket, three out of the topnotch sluggers at that time. That was his debut in the Big Leagues with Washington Senators. On April 23rd, 1939, El Patón (Big Foot) became the first Venezuelan to play in a big show stadium. Jesús "Chucho" Ramos and Carrasquel's brother, Alfonso "Chico," would follow suit. The baseball player born in Caracas died on August 19th, 1969
Carrasquel paved the way to the great legion of Venezuelan baseball players who made their dream of playing in the big league come true File Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation
On April 23rd, Alejandro "El Patón" Carrasquel was in
the news for being the first Venezuelan to play in the Big
Leagues for Washington Senators. On that day, the 26-year-old
baseball player born in Caracas had a noteworthy performance
of five innings against the mighty New York Yankees and its
star players. Then, he kept calm and even-tempered; allowed
for five hits and one run only, and could afford the luxury
of striking out Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Bill Dickey,
three of the most powerful sluggers in MLB.
"I was not nervous when the manager called me as reliever, even though I knew that DiMaggio would be the hitter," he said at the end of the game. El Universal recalled the event in a headline, which read "First South American in the Big League." The Venezuelan, it added, "ensured a position as regular pitcher of Washington Senators."
Carrasquel remained with Washington Senators until 1945; he smashed a record of 50 victories and 39 backhands. His best year was 1942, when he got 11 wins and seven losses. In his career, he had and ERA of 3.73 in 861 innings with 252 strikeouts.
El Patón was taken to the Chicago White Sox in 1946, but he opted for leaving for Mexico, where he played with Veracruz Eagles and Monterrey Sultans. Due to his decision, he was suspended for three years from the Big Leagues.
Once the sanction was lifted, Carrasquel went back to the big leagues in 1949 with the Chicago White Sox. However, he had an ephemeral performance of 3.2 innings, where he allowed for eight hits and six runs. After these performances, he accepted a contract for minor league baseball and pitched for Buffalo Bisons and Sacramento, the last team he played with in the United States.
In this way, Alejandro Carrasquel started the Venezuelan presence at the Big Leagues. He was immediately followed by Jesús "Chucho" Ramos and his younger brother, Alfonso "Chico" Carrasquel, who, in turn, continued paving the way.
In Venezuela, El Patón started as pitcher with Magallanes in 1946. Previously, he had played as infielder with Criollos, Cardenales and Caracas. On January 12th, he was the first to win a game in the new local Professional League.
He was also a pitcher with Cervecería and ended his life as active pitcher with Gavilanes.
As an anecdote, Carrasquel was barred in 1953 by Zulia state governor Benjamín Maldonado, only because he attended the funeral of Rómulo Gallegos' wife, Teotiste Arocha.
Retired as an active player, Carrasquel worked as manager and coach in the Venezuelan professional baseball.
El Patón died on August 19th, 1969 and entered the Hall of Fame in 1971.