Tuesday, July 5, 2011
#197 - Vicente Romo
Vicente Romo was from Baja and began playing in the Mexican Leagues in '62 upon finishing school. Purchased by Cleveland following the '64 season from Mexico City, he would have a not particularly great '65 at Triple A Portland. He then did a round trip, returning to the Tigers in '66 and giving Portland another shot in '67 which also did not go so well (those two seasons he went a combined 5-16 with an ERA above 4.20). Prior to the '68 season the Dodgers snapped up Vicente in the Rule 5 draft and pitched him for an inning before returning him to the Tribe. In '68 the numbers at Portland improved significantly and during the season he returned to the majors, this time as an Indian. His rookie stats were excellent as he recorded twelve saves in his 40 games and put up an ERA to match teammate Luis Tiant's. He also had a dramatic windup very similar to the one Tiant would develop with a big turnaround motion on the mound.
Romo's true success was found in Mexico. Playing primarily in the Pacific Mexican League, he pitched there through '86 in both summer and winter ball. He is the league's record holder in career wins, strikeouts, complete games, and ERA. He won 182 games in that league and all told more than 400 wins during his career. He was elected to the Mexican baseball Hall of Fame in '92 and worked as a pitching coach there following his retirement as a player. He is currently a coach for Olmecas de Tabasco.
Vicente gets mention for his '72 season since that year the Sox gave Oakland a pretty good run in the West. His nickname was courtesy of his head, which a coach in the minors likened to an egg. It was pretty big. Vicente's brother Enrique was also a pitcher up top. I remember him having a nice rookie year for the Mariners in '77.
Finally back to the NL, I lean on the other league for the hookup:
1. Romo and Gerry Moses '69 to '70 Red Sox;
2. Moses and Jim Fregosi '71 Angels.