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Pedrín Zorrilla

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Pedro Zorrilla (Pedrín, El Cangrejo Mayor, Pete)

[edit] Biographical Information

Pedrín Zorrilla was one of the most influential figures in Puerto Rican baseball history. A member of a well-to-do family, he received higher education in the U.S. and became an executive with Shell Oil. He was the longtime owner of the Santurce Cangrejeros (Crabbers), the most successful franchise in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

He was also friendly with New York Giants owner Horace Stoneham, serving as a scout for the Giants from 1956 to 1975. His most notable signing was Orlando Cepeda. He also signed Jose Pagan and Coco Laboy out of Puerto Rico, and thanks to Alfonso Gerard, who became one of Pedrín's bird dogs, he found Julio Navarro and José Morales in the Virgin Islands. Three other players signed by Pedrin to their first professional contract with the Santurce Cangrejeros were Rubén Gómez, Roberto Clemente and Juan Pizarro.

Zorrilla helped open the doors in the major leagues to players of African descent (both American and Caribbean). Right from the beginning the Santurce Cangrejeros in the winter of 1939-40, Zorrilla secured the services of first-rank Negro Leaguers such as Josh Gibson. Other negro leagues with the team were Billy Byrd, Roy Campanella, Dick Seay, Ray Dandridge, Raymond Brown, Willard Brown, Bob Thurman, Buster Clarkson, Earl Taborn, John Ford Smith, Satchel Paige, Sam Jones, Bill Greason, George Crowe, Leon Day, Dan Bankhead, and the great Willie Mays.

Zorrilla was also a legislator, serving in Puerto Rico's House of Representatives from 1961 to 1968. He was a highly principled man, admired and respected by all. He was viewed as a father figure by many of his players.

From 1977 until his death, Zorrilla also scouted for the Chicago Cubs. Two of the last major-leaguers he signed were Carmelo Martinez and Henry Cotto.

The centennial of Zorrilla's birth in 2005 was marked by a celebration in Puerto Rico. Coliseo Pedrin Zorilla, an arena in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, is named after him, as the annual Pedrín Zorrilla Award, given to the most outstanding Puerto Rican player in the Major Leagues.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Jorge Colón Delgado: Santurce Cangrejeros 1954-55: la maquinaria perfecta (San Juan, P.R. : J. Colón Delgado, 2007) NOTE! if following the preceding link to WorldCat Advanced Search yields the message, "No search terms were found. Please enter a search term," simply click on "search" to pull up the desired results.

[edit] Related Sites

Spanish-language biography