Salomé Barojas Romero
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 188 lb.
Salomé Barojas began his professional baseball career at age 18 and 19 with his hometown Cordoba Coffee Dealers in 1976 and went 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 15 appearances. He had a lower ERA than established Mexican stars like Vicente Romo. A year later he earned a regular role as a long reliever and spot starter, going 5-4 with 6 saves and a 2.00 ERA in 126 innings over 41 games. While Cordoba had three other future Salon de la Fama members in Romo, Jose Pena and Ramon Arano, Barojas had a lower ERA than all three, trailing only part-timer Mitch Bobinger on the team. The next year Barojas continued to shine as a middle reliever, with an 8-3 record and 4 saves in 40 games. His 2.45 ERA again made the youngster roughly comparable to the other great pitchers on the team, with Pena (2.19) and Diego Segui (2.32) ahead of him and Arano (2.51) and Romo (2.52) behind him.
In 1979, Salomé moved into a swingman role, making 16 starts and 25 relief appearances. His ERA rose for the third straight year, to 2.61, and he went 7-6 with 3 saves. He was still second on the club in ERA, behind Arano and ahead of Segui. The Coffee Dealers moved to Reynosa, Tamaulipas and became the Broncos de Reynosa. Moving into the rotation for most of the season, Barojas went 12-9 with one save and a 2.56 ERA.
Barojas became a closer in 1981 with the Mexico City Red Devils and went 12-3 with 13 saves and a 3.03 ERA. He tied Ralph García for the Mexican League lead in winning percentage. When the 1981 strike cut short the Major League Baseball season, Chicago White Sox manager Tony LaRussa saw Barojas pitching and convinced the White Sox to sign him.
Given the White Sox closing job, Barojas went 6-6 with 21 saves and a 3.54 ERA in 1982, throwing 106 2/3 innings in 61 games. He was 6th in the American League in saves. He was 5-2 with a 1.77 ERA for the Tomateros de Culiacán to win Mexican Pacific League MVP in 1982-1983. In 1983, he led the AL West champions in ERA with a 2.47 mark (a 170 ERA+) and went 3-3 with 12 saves as he and Dennis Lamp each were used to close games on occasion. Barojas was lit up in the 1983 ALCS (2 runs in one inning, on 4 hits) after his very good regular season.
In 1984 Barojas started slowly with Chicago (3-2, 1 Sv, 4.58 ERA, 91 ERA+) and was dealt to the Seattle Mariners for Gene Nelson and Jerry Don Gleaton; he was mostly used as a starter by Seattle and went 6-5 with a 3.97 ERA (101 ERA+) in bouncing back from a rocky start. He also was 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA for the Denver Bears that season. In 1985, he struggled with Seattle, losing all five decisions and posting a 5.98 ERA. He was released by the Mariners after that season. He pitched 6 more games in the majors in 1988 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Overall in the big leagues Barojas was 18-21 with 35 saves and a 3.95 ERA and 104 ERA+, having done a creditable job in three of his four seasons north of the border.
Returning to the Red Devils in 1986, he went 11-9 with a 4.86 ERA, starting all 28 of his games, the only time in his career he was used exclusively in that role. Back in the bullpen in 1987 Barojas turned 30 and went 13-4 with 15 saves and a 3.10 ERA; he led the Mexican League in saves. He led again in 1988 when he pitched 103 1/3 innings as a reliever, in 51 appearances, and made 17 saves. He went 14-4 with a 3.14 ERA as he again won double-digit games out of the bullpen. He returned briefly to the US for six games with the Philadelphia Phillies at the end of that season.
Barojas would spend the rest of his career with the Mexico City Red Devils. In 1989 he was 8-8 for the Diablos Rojos with 24 saves and a 2.78 ERA. He finished third in the LMB in ERA, again working over 100 innings without making a start. He led the Liga in saves for the third time in three seasons. The 1990 campaign saw Salome turn in a 6-2 record, 23 saves and a miniscule 1.23 ERA (though his RA was 2.19). He was third in saves and would have led in ERA had he been among the qualifiers. In 1991 the 33-34-year-old was 10-1 with 25 saves and a 2.44 ERA for his sixth seasons with double-digit wins, despite having only been used primarily as a starter for a couple years. He led the league in winning percentage 10 years after having done so for the first time. 1992 was Barojas's last effective season, as he went 6-4 with 19 saves and a 3.19 ERA, a drop-off from his preceding years. In 1993 he only worked in 13 games, pitching 16 innings and registering 2 saves and no decisions with a 2.25 ERA. He pitched one hitless, walkless, scoreless inning in 1994 and had a 5.79 ERA in 3 brief appearances in 1996. Overall in the Mexican League he was 115-58 with 152 saves and a 2.89 ERA over 543 games. Through 2000 Barojas ranked third all-time in the Liga in saves, trailing Antonio Pulido (197) and Miguel Alicea (187). He was 14th in ERA among pitchers with over 1,000 innings and his .665 was second-best among pitchers with over 1,000 innings, trailing only Martin Dihigo (.676).
Barojas also starred in the winter leagues. In 1989-1990 he led the Mexican Pacific League with 17 saves. In 17 years in that league, he went 51-39 with 53 saves (4th all-time as of 2006) and a 2.68 ERA (14th all-time).
Main sources: Viva Beisbol! newsletter by Bruce Baskin, The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros