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Ozzie Virgil (virgioz01)

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Osvaldo Jose Virgil Pichardo

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[edit] Biographical Information

Ozzie Virgil was credited for breaking the color barrier for the Detroit Tigers in 1958, and had five hits in his first game as a Tiger. He was the very first of the hundreds of major leaguers who were born in the Dominican Republic. He emigrated to the United States at fourteen in 1947 and began playing baseball in the 1950s while with the United States Marine Corps. He was signed by the New York Giants to a contract in 1953. In addition to his major league career, he played 13 seasons (1953-1956, 1958-1960, 1962-1964 and 1966-1968) in the minor leagues, 10 of which were at AAA. He had 3 years with batting averages of over .300. Incredibly, the free-swinging Virgil walked only 34 times in nearly 800 career major league plate appearances.

Virgil was a coach for the San Francisco Giants (1969-1972 and 1974-1975), Montreal Expos (1976-1981), San Diego Padres (1982-1985) and Seattle Mariners (1986-1988). For the last three stops, he accompanied manager Dick Williams, with whom he had become a close friend and confidant during the latter's time as Expos' manager. In 1989, he was a coach for the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the Senior Professional Baseball Association.

During the winter months Virgil played with the Mayaguez Indians in the Puerto Rican League and with Aguilas and Escogido in the Dominican League, both of which he would later manage. He also managed the Cardenales de Lara, Leones del Caracas, Tiburones de La Guaira and Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan League and the Mazatlan Venados in the Mexican Pacific League.

He is the father of catcher Ozzie Virgil Jr.

[edit] Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1996 Bellingham Giants Northwest League 20-18 -- San Francisco Giants replaced by Shane Turner on July 28

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