Martín Dihigo

A photo of Martín Dihigo.

Martín Magdaleno Dihigo Llanos (May 25, 1906[1] - May 20, 1971) was a Cuban player in baseball's Negro Leagues and Latin American leagues who excelled at several positions, primarily as a pitcher and second baseman. He was born in the sugarmill Jesús María (town of Cidra) in Matanzas Province, Cuba.

Dihigo began his professional career in the winter of 1922/23 at the age of 16 as a substitute infielder for Habana in the Cuban League. His first summer in U.S. baseball came in 1923 as a first baseman for the Negro Leagues' Cuban Stars (East). He played in the Negro Leagues from 1923 through 1936 and again briefly in 1945. Over the course of his career, he played all nine positions. As a hitter, he led the Negro Leagues in home runs in 1926 and 1935. As a pitcher, he once defeated Satchel Paige when the latter was touring Cuba.

Dihigo's career record in twelve seasons in the Negro Leagues was a .307 average and .511 slugging percentage, with 431 hits, 64 home runs, 61 doubles, 17 triples, 227 RBIs, and 292 runs scored in 1404 at bats. He drew 143 walks and stole 41 bases. As a pitcher, he went 26–19 with a 2.92 ERA, with 176 strikeouts and 80 walks in 354 innings.[2]

Although a two-time All-Star in the American Negro leagues, Dihigo's greatest season came in the Mexican League in 1938, where he went 18-2 with a 0.90 ERA as a pitcher, while winning the batting title with a .387 average. In another season in the Mexican League, he had a 0.15 ERA. In his Mexican career, he was 119-57 with a .317 batting average. In the Cuban League, he was 107-56 with a .298 average. He is the only player to be inducted to the American, Cuban and Mexican Baseball Halls of Fame, and is also in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela Halls of Fame. Dihigo continued his playing career in Mexico into the early 1950s. He was Cuba's Minister of Sport from 1959 until his death, and was a greatly revered figure in his native Cuba, where he was called "The Immortal". In other Latin American countries, he was called "El Maestro", translated as "The Master". He died five days before his 65th birthday in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Known as a humorous, good-natured man as well as a versatile player, Dihigo was elected to the American Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. Dihigo was also inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.[3]

Combining his Dominican, American, Cuban and Mexican statistics results in a lifetime .302 career batting average with 130 home runs (eleven seasons worth of home run totals are missing) and a 252-132 pitching record.

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  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named birthdate
  2. Hogan, pp. 386–87, 404–05.
  3. Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum. Retrieved on 2008-07-21.


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