Jesús Antonio Alfaro Grieves
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 170 lb.
Infielder Jesús Alfaro played in the farm systems of the Philadelphia Phillies (1976), Chicago Cubs (1978-1981), Baltimore Orioles (1982-1984), Milwaukee Brewers (1985-1987), California Angels (1988), and Brewers again (1989-1990). He also appeared in the Serie A1 in Italy (1991), the Mexican League (1992-1994) and in the Venezuelan Winter League (many years). If he had enough ABs to qualify, he would finished 2nd in the batting race in the 1979 Texas League. He spent part or all of nine years in AAA. He hit 15 or more homers five times in the minors and batted .300 for six different teams.
Alfaro was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1976. That year, he hit .280/~.379/.341 in 27 games for the Pulaski Phillies. For the 1977 Charros de Guadalajara, he struck out in his only at-bat. He moved on to the 1978 Pompano Beach Cubs and hit .270/~.362/.332 in 118 games.
In 1979, Jesús was starring in AA as a 20-year-old, batting .352/~.434/.507 with the Midland Cubs. Had he qualified (he was about 16 plate appearances shy), he would have been second to Jim Tracy in batting average, 3 points back. He failed to make the Texas League All-Star team as Gary Weiss was chosen at shortstop.
Alfaro remained productive in 1980 with a .356/~.449/.485 clip in 53 games for Midland (again, he would have ranked second in the TL in average had he qualified, trailing Daryl Sconiers) and .251/~.332/.427 in 69 games for the Wichita Aeros. With Ivan DeJesus an unspectacular shortstop holding down the job in Chicago, Alfaro's MLB chances looked very good.
In 1981, Alfaro spent his first full year at AAA and batted .250/~.350/.389 for the Iowa Oaks. His 7 triples tied Bob Dernier for third in the American Association, two behind Terry Francona and one behind Pat Sheridan. With Scott Fletcher at shortstop, Alfaro moved to third base and struggled defensively, with a .893 fielding percentage.
Alfaro moved to the Baltimore Orioles organization in 1982 and switched back to third base. He split time between the Rochester Red Wings (3 for 12) and the Charlotte O's (.301/~.408/.425). He finished fourth in the Southern League in average, was fourth in walks (86) and was 4th in runs (86). His 413 assists led the Southern League's shortstops. He was second in OBP behind Kenneth Baker. He made the SL All-Star team at short.
He produced at a .286/~.354/.467 clip with Charlotte in 1983 with 32 doubles, 19 homers, 82 RBI and 11 game-winning RBI. He was in the SL's top 10 in HR, doubles and RBI and tied for 4th in game-winning RBI. He again played primarily third base.
Alfaro was in spring training with Baltimore in 1984. He batted .248/~.378/.371 for Charlotte to help them to a title. His 99 walks placed him 4th in the SL. He spent 110 games at short and 38 at third.
He batted .299/~.369/.455 for the 1985 El Paso Diablos with 16 homers, 112 RBI and 15 game-winning RBI. He was second to Barry Lyons in the Texas League in GWRBI, one behind. He tied Willie Darkis for fifth in the TL in home runs and was third in RBI. The third baseman was one of an impressive four Diablo players to drive in 100, joining Billy Jo Robidoux, Joey Meyer and Glenn Braggs. He failed to make the TL All-Star team, though, as Jeff Hamilton was chosen instead.
Alfaro hit .272/~.385/.397 in 55 games for the 1985-1986 Leones del Caracas. He had another good year for El Paso, batting .301/~.375/.460 with 92 runs and 97 RBI for the pennant winners. He was 4th in the TL in runs and tied Jason Felice for the RBI lead. Tracy Woodson made the All-Star team ahead of him.
Alfaro batted .312/~.375/.549 in 91 games for El Paso in 1987. He was 10th in the Texas League with 21 home runs despite his limited time and drove in 85, almost a run per game and 8th in the league. He returned to AAA for the first time in five years and hit .272/~.328/.461 in 46 games. Still just 28, it was not unrealistic to think he might still get a shot at the big leagues.
Angels system, Mexico and Italy
In 1988, the veteran split time between his old haunts in Midland (now the Midland Angels) and the Edmonton Trappers. He batted .301/~.378/.450 in 92 games for Midland and fell about 14 plate appearances shy of qualifying for the TL batting title; he would have tied Jeff Manto, John Skurla and Greg Vaughn for 7th. He went just 11 for 52 with Edmonton, but with 11 walks and 20 total bases in 18 games.
With Caracas in 1988-1989, he batted .271/~.342/.376. Back with El Paso for 1989 for 70 games, he hit .271/~.390/.443 while moving more to first base. He also played for the Saltillo Saraperos and batted .234/~.333/.468 in his 14 games in the Mexican League.
Jesús batted .256/~.366/.377 for Caracas in 1989-1990. He returned to AA for a third decade in 1990 with El Paso, now as a DH, and hit .301/~.387/.476 with 29 doubles, 80 runs, 16 homers and 88 RBI, leading the club in homers and RBI. He finished fifth in the Texas League in average, likely ranked higher in OBP and was second to Henry Rodriguez in RBI. He made the league All-Star team at DH.
Alfaro had a fine winter in 1990-1991, hitting .314/~.392/.476 for Caracas. He was 7th in the Venezuelan League in average, possibly tied for second in doubles and possibly second in RBI, as his 37 trailed leader Greg Briley by four.
In 1991, the veteran went to Italy and batted .425/.512/.705 with 11 homers, 37 runs and 41 RBI in 36 games as the third baseman for Poliedel Fortitudo Bologna and was 9 for 13 with two doubles, two homers, 7 runs and 6 RBI in three playoff games.
Alfaro hit .241/?/.292 for Caracas in 1991-1992. Moving to Mexico for the 1992 season, Jesús produced at a .293/~.391/.465 clip for the Yucatan Lions. He hit 18 homers, scored 81 and drove in 81. In 1992-1993, the Caracas veteran only managed a .226/?/.278 line at the plate.
Alfaro had another productive year with Yucatan, hitting .281/~.405/.543 with 25 home runs, 97 RBI and 79 walks in 124 games. In his final year as a player, Alfaro hit .210/.310/.230 in 28 games for the Mexico City Tigers and Yucatan.
Coaching and managing
Alfaro was an instructor for the Orioles in extended spring training and the GCL Orioles from 1995-1998 and then managed the team from 1999 to 2003. He was then a coach for the Aberdeen Ironbirds in 2004 and managed the Bluefield Orioles in 2005. Alfaro has been a coach for the Ironbirds again since 2006. He also has coached for Caracas. In 2014, he was inducted into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame, having hit .325 in four Caribbean Series.
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1999||GCL Orioles||Gulf Coast League||31-28||6th||Baltimore Orioles|
|2000||GCL Orioles||Gulf Coast League||25-31||9th||Baltimore Orioles|
|2001||GCL Orioles||Gulf Coast League||22-34||11th (t)||Baltimore Orioles|
|2002||GCL Orioles||Gulf Coast League||24-36||12th||Baltimore Orioles|
|2003||GCL Orioles||Gulf Coast League||32-28||4th||Baltimore Orioles|
|2005||Bluefield Orioles||Appalachian League||31-36||5th||Baltimore Orioles|
|2008||GCL Orioles||Gulf Coast League||14-41||16th||Baltimore Orioles|
Sources include: ironbirdsbaseball.com, 1986-2006 Baseball Almanacs and Baseball America Statistics Reports, 1977-1985, 1989 and 1994 Baseball Guides, 2007 Orioles Media Guide, The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros