Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Martin Dihigo was perhaps the most versatile player in baseball history

May 25: On this day in 1906, Hall of Famer Martin Dihigo was born in Matanzas, Cuba.

Known in Cuba as El Maestro or El Inmortal, The Immortal One, Dihigo is shown in this 1946-47 Sensacion premium.

He compiled a 107-56 record in 20 seasons in Cuba -- 18 in the Cuban League and two independent seasons while pitching for Habana, Almendares, Marianao, Almendarista, Santa Clara and Cienfuegos.
Considered one of the most versatile players in baseball history, Dihigo -- the only player enshrined in the Halls of Fame in Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and the United State -- pitched, played almost every position on the field and was a successful manager.

According to Who’s Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961, Dihigo ranks first in Cuban baseball in wins (107) and complete games (121). He's tied for the most times (four) winning 10 or more games in a winter league seasons. He was named MVP four times: 1927-28, 1935-36, '36-37 and '41-42.

As a hitter, Dihigo was a .296 career hitter in 21 winters in Cuba. In 1935-36 while playing for Santa Clara, Dihigo led the Cuban League in hitting (.358), runs (42), hits (63), triples (eight) and RBI (38).

Twice he hit over .400 in the Cuban League -- .413 in 1926-27 and .415 in 1927-28. He also hit .450 during the 1926-27 independent season for Marianao.
As a manager in Cuba, Dihigo led Santa Clara to the pennant in 1935-36 and Marianao to the title the following season.

In the Negro leagues, Dihigo played for the Cuban Stars, Homestead Grays, Hilldale Daisies, Baltimore Black Sox and New York Cubans.

Dihigo was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951, and he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1977 by the Negro Leagues Committee.

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