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Chile Gomez

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Jose Luis Gomez Gonzales
also known as Jose Luis Gomez Rodriguez

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[edit] Biographical Information

Chile Gomez was a 21-year-old student when he broke into professional baseball as a sub for the Tampico Lightermen and caught the attention of Homobono Márquez. The Mexican League statistics for his first couple of seasons are unavailable. In 1933, Gomez hit .258/~.326/.361 for the Beckley Black Knights and led Middle Atlantic League second basemen in both errors (42) and double plays (76). He was also hit by a MAL-high 21 pitches. Oddly, for the 17 Mexican seasons for which we have data, he was only hit by 14 pitches total. In 1934, Chile hit only .225 for Beckley and .216 with the Bartlesville Reds. By 1935, Gomez was in the majors at age 26, becoming the second Mexican native in Major League Baseball, following Mel Almada by just two years. He hit .230/.285/.243 for the Philadelphia Phillies, for an unimpressive 38 OPS+. He returned in 1936, with similar results - .232/.265/.250 with five extra-base hits in 332 AB, splitting his time between second and short.

He batted .230/~.321/.309 for the 1937 Jersey City Giants then returned to Mexico with the Electricistas del Necaxa, hitting .269/~.345/.385. In 1938, Chile batted .267/~.337/.314 for the Veracruz Eagle. He split 1939 between Veracruz and Cordoba and put up a .303/~.350/.421 line. In 1940, Jose Luis hit .242/~.345/.324 for the Monterrey Industrials. The impressive part was that he held onto a starting job when most native Mexicans lost them in favor of American players. Joe Naranjo, Quincy Trouppe and Sammy Bankhead were among the foreigners on Monterrey's infield. In a offense-high league, Gomez remained one of the weakest threats around.

In 1941, Gomez hit .264/~.333/.324 for the Industrials. He joined the Washington Senators in 1942 and tripled off Lefty Gomez on Opening Day but overall batted just .192/.280/.274 for Washington, ending his major league career at .226/.274/.250 in 627 AB. He spent most of the year with the Chattanooga Lookouts, batting .281. Returning to Mexico with the Puebla Parrots, he hit .326/~.408/.453 in 20 contests.

1943 had Chile playing for the Mexico City Red Devils, hitting .264/~.319/.324. He got the decisive hit to win a 1-0 game in a duel between Alfonso Ramirez and Daniel Rios. Fans lifted Gomez and Ramirez onto their shoulders and paraded them through downtown Mexico City, the only time such an event has happened in LMB history.

In 1944, Gomez hit .291/~.346/.356 for Veracruz with 8 triples. He had another 8 for Veracruz in 1945 in a career year at .313/~.361/.422; he had his best LMB seasons in runs (67), doubles (20), hits (120), homers (2), average and slugging. Veracruz became the first stop where he stayed three years as he hit .258/~.312/.307 for the 1946 club, the year that major leaguers came to Mexico to compete. He hit .408/~.525/.429 in a brief stay with the Havana Cubans.

In 1947, the 38-year-old veteran had a .232/~.333/.307 year for Veracruz. In 1948, he split the year between Veracruz and Tampico and hit .338/~.411/.426 in a partial season (62 games) for his best rate-stat season. In 1949, he hit .279/~.363/.330 for the San Luis Potosi Cactus Pear Growers. Returning to San Luis Potosi for the 1950 campaign at age 41, he hit .264/~.373/.345. He played three more years, missing 1952, getting another 94 AB. In 3,342 AB in Mexico from 1937 onwards, he hit .278/~.343/.350 with only 240 strikeouts.

Gomez also was employed as the manager of Monterey, San Luis Potosi, Tampico and Puebla at some point. He was selected for the Salon de la Fama in 1971. He was elected to the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame as part of its 2011 class.

[edit] Year-by-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Playoffs Notes
1940 Monterrey Industrials Mexican League 52-41 3rd none
1941 Monterrey Industrials Mexican League 43-59 6th none
1942 Pericos de Puebla Mexican League -- -- replaced by Guillermo Ornelas
1943 Diablos Rojos del Mexico Mexican League 38-51 6th none
1946 Azules de Veracruz Mexican League -- -- replaced Mickey Owen
replaced by Jorge Pasquel
1947 Azules de Veracruz Mexican League -- -- replaced by Red Steiner
1948 Alijadores de Tampico Mexican League 34-33 -- Team disbanded
1949 Tuneros de San Luis Mexican League 41-44 6th
1950 Tuneros de San Luis Mexican League 43-41 5th
1951 Tuneros de San Luis Mexican League 42-42 5th Lost League Finals
1953 Diablos Rojos del Mexico Mexican League 32-39 4th none
1957 Aguascalientes Tigres Central Mexican League 6th none replaced Armando Flores on July 4
1960 Diablos Rojos del Mexico Mexican League -- -- replaced by Chero Mayer on August 24

Sources: Viva Beisbol newsletter by Bruce Baskin (August 2006 edition), The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros, 1934 Spalding Guide, Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database, The International League: Year-by-Year Statistics by Marshall Wright

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