Luis Iglesias (Ying-xia/The Chivalrous Eagle)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 210 lb.
Luis Iglesias had a long career in baseball, both in service and in area covered. Born in Panama, he began his US minor league career at age 17 and played six years in the minors. He then went to Taiwan, where he played nine years and won two home run and RBI titles. His career took him to Mexico for two seasons and to Canada for one. Iglesias also spent time with Panama's national team and was still active in the Pan-American Games 23 years after his career in baseball began. He is a cousin of another baseball globe-trotter, Len Picota.
Iglesias debuted in 1984 with the Johnson City Cardinals as a second baseman. He hit .232/.297/.390 that year. He made three different stops in 1985 - the Erie Cardinals (4 for 14, BB, HR), the Savannah Cardinals (.206/~.296/.254 in 21 games) and Johnson City, where he batted .313/~.430/.578 as a corner infielder. He led the Appalachian League in slugging percentage and was 5th in average. His 9 homers were one shy of Appy League co-leaders David Justice and Rob Tomberlin. He did not make the league All-Star team as Craig Worthington got the nod at third base, Iglesias's main position.
Iglesias returned to Savannah in 1986 and hit .229/~.315/.355 as a 1B-3B. In 1987, he went to the Philadelphia Phillies system and batted .274/~.360/.440 for the Spartanburg Phillies. He hit 18 home runs to tie for the team lead and led the club with 82 RBI and 62 walks. He was a 3B-SS that year.
In 1988, Iglesias hit .224/.308/.324 in 66 games for the Clearwater Phillies, playing primarily shortstop. Let go by Philadelphia, Iglesias caught on with the independent Miami Miracle. Still only 22 years old, he hit .232/~.344/.403 as Miami's regular shortstop.
When the Chinese Professional Baseball League was formed in 1990, Iglesias became one of its first stars. Playing for the Mercuries Tigers, he hit .292/.386/.543 and led the league in both home runs (18) and RBI (58). He then hit the first home run in Taiwan Series annals, going deep in game one of the 1990 Taiwan Series in the 9th inning of a 2-1 loss to the Wei Chuan Dragons. He battled injury in 1991 but still hit .331/.439/.563 in his 79 games of action.
In 1992, Luis batted .306/.414/.602 with 23 circuit clouts, one shy of the CPBL lead. The next season, the Tigers slugger injured his hand and went just 5 for 23. Rebounding in 1994, Iglesias hit .309/.388/.547 and won a Gold Glove for his work at third base.
The Panamanian infielder's batting line read .319/.391/.556 in 1995 and he clouted 18 home runs, four shy of the lead. He was 5th in the CPBL in average and his 70 RBI were just two behind co-leaders Luis de los Santos and George Hinshaw.
Iglesias had his best campaign in 1996. He produced at a .351/.437/.690 rate with 31 home runs and 90 RBI in 100 games. He reached 100 career homers, the first player in CPBL history to that mark. His 478 games to get there would remain the record for 15 years until Chin-Feng Chen broke it. He set league single-season records for both home runs (breaking Chung-Chiu Lin's record) and RBI. Ted Wood would break his RBI mark in 1997. In 1997, Sam Horn tied the homer mark and Jay Kirkpatrick matched it again in 1998, but it would not be broken until 2007, when Tilson Brito surpassed Iglesias. He was named to the Best Nine at third base.
Luis moved to the Chianan Luka of the Taiwan Major League in 1997 and hit .326/.425/.575 with 19 home runs and 83 RBI. He was 6th in the TML in average and led in RBI. In 1998, he batted .311/.400/.565 with 25 home runs, three shy of leader Corey Powell.
In Taiwan, Iglesias had batted .318/.410/.576 with 164 home runs and 550 RBI in 740 games.
The US and Mexico
Leaving Taiwan, Iglesias came back to Organized Baseball for the first time in a decade and hit .281/~.379/.551 for the Altoona Curve. He also played for two teams in the Mexican League and hit .286/.373/.459 in 54 games there. In 2000, he batted .293/.392/.449 in 48 games for two clubs in Mexico. In Mexico, his batting line overall was .289/.382/.455.
At age 34, Iglesias made his debut with the Panamanian national team (professionals had only been introduced into international tournaments three years prior). He helped Panama win Gold in the 2001 Bolivarian Games. In the 2001 Baseball World Cup, Iglesias hit .265/.333/.294 and fielded perfectly at third base. He batted .389/.439/.583 in the 2002 Intercontinental Cup with 8 runs and 10 RBI in nine games as Panama won Bronze. He tied Bárbaro Cañizares for second in the event with 14 hits, two behind leader Michel Enriquez. He was 7th in RBI, third among non-Cubans. Enriquez was chosen as the Cup All-Star at third base. Unfortunately, Panama was stripped of their Bronze after tests showed that Roberto Kelly, Earl Agnoly, Jorge Cortez and Roberto Gutierrez came back positive for banned substances. He helped Panama to a Silver Medal in the 2002 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Iglesias hit .260 with 7 home runs in the 2003 Canadian Baseball League. He chipped in a .361/.439/.556 batting line in the 2003 Baseball World Cup as Panama won Silver for the first time in Baseball World Cup history. He had 8 runs and 10 RBI in 10 games. He tied Frederich Cepeda and Estevao Sato for 5th in the Cup with 13 hits. Hitting 5th in the Gold Medal game behind major leaguers Olmedo Saenz and Ruben Rivera and ahead of major leaguer Julio Mosquera, Iglesias hit a solo homer against Vicyohandri Odelin in Panama's 4-2 loss. Enriquez again got the nod as the event's All-Star third baseman.
Luis was on Panama's 60-man roster for the 2006 World Baseball Classic but did not make the final cut with Saenz and Javier Castillo being chosen at third. At age 40, Iglesias was back in action for Panama, going 1 for 10 with a double in the 2007 Pan American Games.
- 1985 and 1989 Baseball Guides
- 1986-1987 Baseball America Statistics Reports
- 1988 and 1995-2000 Baseball Almanacs
- The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros
- Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database
- KT Choi's Taiwan Baseball Database
- Defunct IBAF site
- Chinese Wiki Baseball