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Pelayo Chacón

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Pelayo Chacón

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 140 lb.

Pelayo Chacón played over two decades in both the Negro Leagues and Cuba and also managed in both. He is the father of Elio Chacón and Pelayo Chacón Jr. The elder Chacón was noted for his excellent defense at shortstop, with both great range and a strong throwing arm. Offensively, he featured good speed and sometimes showed good contact hitting. He also was praised for his hit-and-run ability.

Chacón broke in as a teenager with the 1908 Club Fé team, going 2 for 10 as a backup infielder. In 1910, he was 3 for 41 for Almendares. In his US debut that same year, he hit .242 for the Stars of Cuba when they played top black teams.

Chacón won a starting job with Fé in 1911, batting .195. In the US, he only hit .115 for the Cuban Stars. In 1912, Pelayo hit .219 for Fé, moving to third base because Al Cabrera manned shortstop. He batted .175 for the Cuban Stars against top black teams in the USA.

At age 23, Chacón moved to second base for Fé because Pop Lloyd now was at short; the youngster hit .220 and stole 13 bases. He hit .226 for the Cuban Stars and his 6 doubles, tying Cristobal Torriente for the most among top black teams in the west.

Chacón was back at shortstop for Fé in the winter of 1913-1914, hitting .264. He stole 16 baeses, tying Cabrera for second in steals, 5 behind leader Armando Marsans. In 1914, he hit .237. The following winter, he improved to .302 in Cuban play. He slumped to .222 in 1915, though he batted .381 in an exhibition series in Cuba against the Indianapolis ABCs.

In the 1915-1916 Cuban Winter League, Chacón hit .228 for Almendares but managed to score 33 times in 40 games. He had his best year to that point in the Negro Leagues, hitting .299 with 9 doubles to tie Torriente for the lead among western black teams.

Chacón hit .184 in Cuban league play in early 1917, then came up with a big year in the US. Moving to the eastern Cuban Stars, he hit .457, second to Smokey Joe Williams among top black eastern teams. The next summer, he was 13 for 24 against the premier blackball squads, leading players in the East, .28 over Williams and .98 over #3 Louis Santop.

Back in Cuba, Chacón hit .259 in the winter of 1918-1919 then followed with a .357 summer in the Negro Leagues. In 1919-1920, he batted .291 for Almendares and was 6 for 24 in exhibitions against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cuban teams did not play much against other top black teams in the US in 1920; the shortstop hit .071 in 5 games. He appeared more against white major leaguers, going 11 for 30.

Chacón had his best winter season in 1920-1921, hitting .344 to lead the Cuban Winter League in average. The Almendares infielder also led in hits (32) and tied Manuel Cueto for the most doubles (5). He hit .250 for Almendares in the winter of 1921. He played for the eastern Cuban Stars in 1922. In 1922-1923, Pelayo hit .316 for Marianao. He then batted .258 for the Cuban Stars in the US.

At age 33, Chacón moved into a backup role for the Havana Reds, hitting .187 while subbing for Pop Lloyd. He hit .282 in 1924 in the Negro Leagues. In the 1924-1925 season, he again was a bench player for Habana, hitting .250. He followed with a .290 summer in the USA. His 1925-1926 season in Cuba was a rough one as he was just 4 for 28. He hit .261 in 1926 in the Negro Leagues.

Chacón became a manager in the 1926-1927 Cuban Triangal League, hitting .336 as Marianao's starting shortstop. The next winter, he was playing second base regularly in the Cuban Winter League and batted .290. In 1928-1929, Chacón only hit .148 in winter play. He then played for the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Republic.

In the winter of 1929-1930, Chacón guided Cienfuegos to a title while hitting .294 as their regular second sacker. In 1930, he piloted the Cuban Stars and returned to shortstop, hitting .310. After another winter as Cienfuegos's player-manager, Chacón moved to Havana as a player in 1931-1932 but went just 2 for 17. He finished his career playing in Venezuela, where his sons were botn. He returned briefly to manage Santa Clara in the 1940-1941 Cuban Winter League.

Overall, Chacón played 23 seasons in the Cuban Winter League, tying Mike Gonzalez for second, one less than José María Fernández. He only appeared in the all-time top 10 in the CWL in one other category, stolen bases. His 106 career swipes ranked 4th behind Marsans, Torriente and Héctor Rodríguez.

In 1949, Chacón was voted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame.

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