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Nava Jo Thompson
Photograph - Oil On Canvis
An oil painting by Nava Jo Thompson of Fernando Valenzuela playing baseball. Fernando Valenzuela Anguamea (Spanish pronunciation: [ferˈnando βalenˈswela]; born November 1, 1960) is a Mexican former left-handed pitcher, most notably with the Los Angeles Dodgers.......In 1981, the 20-year-old Valenzuela took Los Angeles (and Major League Baseball) by storm, winning his first 8 decisions and leading the Dodgers to the World Championship. That year, Valenzuela became the only player in Major League history to win the Rookie of the Year award and the Cy Young Award in the same season, adding the Silver Slugger Award and World Series championship for good measure. With his youthful charm, devastating screwball, "Ruthian physique", and a connection with Los Angeles' large Latino community, Valenzuela touched off an early '80s craze dubbed "Fernandomania"......Valenzuela was a Dodgers mainstay throughout the 1980s, winning 21 games in 1986 and pitching a no-hitter in 1990, though he was injured during the 1988 championship run. However, he faltered because of injuries in the 1990s, pitching ineffectively for several teams. After one last effective season with the San Diego Padres in 1996 and a short stint with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1997, he retired from Major League Baseball.......Since 2003, Valenzuela has worked as a Spanish-language color commentator for the Dodgers.......1 Early life2 Playing career 2.1 Los Angeles Dodgers2.2 Fernandomania2.3 El Toro2.4 Post-Dodgers career2.5 Hitting3 After retirement4 Legacy5 Family6 References7 External links .......Valenzuela, the youngest of twelve children, was born in Etchohuaquila, a small town within the municipality of Navojoa, in the state of Sonora, Mexico.....His birth date is officially listed as November 1, 1960, but during his phenomenal rookie season in 1981 several commentators questioned his age, guessing him to be significantly older than twenty.....Playing careerIn 1977, Fernando Valenzuela began his professional baseball career when he signed as a professional player with the Mayos de Navojoa, next year he was sent to the Guanajuato Tuzos of the Mexican Central League, posting a 5–6 record with a 2.23 ERA. The following year, the Mexican Central League was absorbed into the expanded Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (Mexican Baseball League), automatically elevating then 18-year-old Valenzuela to the Triple-A level. Pitching for the Leones de Yucatán (Yucatán Lions) that year, Valenzuela went 10–12 with a 2.49 ERA and 141 strikeouts..... A number of Major League teams scouted Valenzuela during this time, but it was the Los Angeles Dodgers who finally gambled on the young lefty, buying out his Liga contract on July 6, 1979, for $120,000......Los Angeles DodgersAfter acquiring Fernando Valenzuela in the summer of 1979, the Dodgers assigned him to the Lodi Dodgers (now the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes) of the High-A level California League, where he posted a 1–2 record and a 1.13 ERA in limited action. In 1980 Valenzuela was promoted to the Double-A level San Antonio Missions. There Valenzuela led the Texas League with 162 strikeouts, and ranked third in ERA.........Valenzuela was called up to the Los Angeles Dodger bullpen in September 1980. In the last month of the season, Valenzuela helped the Dodgers to a Western Division tie with the Houston Astros, pitching 17⅔ shutout innings of relief over the course of ten games, during which he earned two wins and a save. The Los Angeles Dodgers then lost a one-game playoff - and thus the division championship - to the Astros.
February 15th, 2013
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