Sunday, March 2, 2008

50 years in the game

Nice piece in today's Globe by Gordon Edes on Sox player development consultant, Felix Maldonado, who enters his 45th season with the club:

Talk to Maldonado long enough, and you're going to hear a lot of names. He played against Roberto Clemente in the Puerto Rican winter leagues. He played on the legendary Santurce teams on the island with Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez and managed by Earl Weaver. He came through the Giants system with players like Juan Marichal and the Alou brothers, and played center field in the minor leagues flanked by Manny Mota and Jesus Alou. He was in the Sox system with kids like Reggie Smith and Tony C. He coached Ruben Sierra, was Jeff Bagwell's first manager, and was one of Hanley Ramirez's first mentors.

As Edes notes, Maldonado's work developing Latin players in the early part of his career with the Sox was somewhat limited due to the team's lack of *ahem* effort in scouting the region:

From 1950 to 1990, the Sox had a dozen players from Puerto Rico, only five who began their career with the team: Rogelio Moret, Juan Beniquez, Rey Quinones, Luis Alvarado, and Ramon Aviles. In that same period, they had four players born in the Dominican: Marichal, at the tail end of his career, catcher Tony Pena, and two players who broke in with the Sox, Julio Valdez and Mario Guerrero.

Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of the dynamic Dan Duquette, the Sox enhanced scouting efforts in Latin American in the 1990's:

When Dan Duquette became general manager in 1994, he transformed the culture of the club, giving Latin America a priority it never had known with Boston. For coordinator of Latin American instruction, he named Maldonado, who held the job for seven seasons before assuming his current role as consultant.

We also have Duquette to thank for the Israel Baseball League!

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