Friday, September 2, 2011

Ex-Pirate Tony Pena elected to Latino Baseball Hall of Fame, Dominicano Tony Pena va a Salon de Fama

The Latin Baseball Hall of Fame, or Salon de la Fama del Beisbol Latino, is based in La Romana, Dominican Republic.  The organization works in coordination with MLB and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

They recently announced their class for 2012.  Aiden Gonzalez of covered the story from the perspective of Bernie Williams and the Yankees.  But the Dominican Baseball Guy has not seen one article covering from the perspective of the Dominican inductee and former Pittsburgh Pirate Tony Pena.  Shocking, (the Dominican Baseball Guys knows) MLB and other major media outlets covering the Yankees and not the Pirates.

So, as the Dominican Baseball Guy it is my duty to cover Tony Pena's side of this great honor.  Pena is of course one the most revered Dominican players, and the Dominican Baseball Guy would consider him one of the leaders of what he considers the "modern wave" of Dominicans coming into the big leagues since the 1980s.    He is certainly one of the greatest Dominican catchers to ever play in the big leagues.  You know what, the Dominican Baseball Guy is going to say it: Tony Pena is the greatest Dominican catcher of all-time.

Which bring the Dominican Baseball Guy to another point...THERE ARE NO DOMINICAN CATCHERS nowadays.  The Dominican Baseball Guy noticed this down in the Dominican Republic.  In all the pick up games there is rarely someone playing catcher.  The Dominican Baseball Guy also hypothesizes that there is rarely good catching equipment in La Republica Dominica, so this could be another reason for the dearth of catchers in the country.  Lastly, the Dominican Baseball Guy surmises that "it's just not cool" to play catcher in for young Dominican players.  Just the opinion of the Dominican Baseball Guy, maybe some other reasons for this anomaly.

Pena had a great career that spanned 18 MLB seasons. He came up with the Pirates and went on to play with the Cardinals, Red Sox, and Indians. Tony was known for his defense behind the plate. He won 4 gold gloves and made 5 All-Star teams. He made it to the World Series with the Cardinals in 1987, losing to the Twins.

Tony also had a long career in the Dominican Winter Baseball League, playing late into his career with his original team, the Aguilas from Sanitago. The Dominican Baseball Guy could not find any statistics on his career in the DWL, but he played for more than ten years and won several titles with the Aguilas.

Tony went strait into coaching after his career was over, as many catchers do. He has managed the Aguilas for several years, winning DWL in 1998, 2000, 2001, and a Caribbean Series Championship with the team in 2001.  He spent 2002-2005 as the Royals manager and has been the Yankees bench coach for three years

Tony is from Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. His son Tony Pena Jr. has pitched in the LIDOM and has had a cup of coffee as a pitcher with the Royals, and his other son, Francisco Pena, is in the Mets organization.  He joins Felipe Alou, Juan Marichal, Tetelo Vargas, Rico Carty and Horacio Martinez as the Dominican members of the Latino Hall of Fame.
Tony Pena, Yankees bench coach, by Keith Allison on Flickr

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