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Nino Escalera

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1977 Fritsch One Year Winners #10 Nino Escalera

Saturnino Cuadrado Escalera

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 165 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Free agent left hand hitting first baseman-outfielder Nino Escalera from Santurce, Puerto Rico hit .347 in 62 games for the Bristol Owls of the Colonial League in 1949, came right back in the 1950 year, hitting .389 in 67 contests for the same Bristol club and was sent to the New York Yankees in July 1950 in an unknown transaction.

The 20 year old was sent to the Amsterdam Rugmakers by the Yankees where he finished out the '50 year, appearing in 52 games, splitting his playing time between first base and the outfield and hitting at a .337 clip. Nino was proving himself to be a consistant .300 plus hitter in the minor leagues including a .374 mark for the 1951 Muskegon Reds of the class A Central League, finishing only .005 behind his teammate Jim Greengrass, for the league's batting title, plus making the All-Star Team.

Playing like he did Escalera was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the AAA Toledo Mud Hens / Charleston Senators club of the American Association on July 6, 1952 and assigned to the AA Tulsa Oilers of the Texas League.

After hitting .305 for the AA Tulsa Oilers in 1953 he had his one chance at major league pitching with the Cincinnati Reds in 1954. But the 165-pounder failed to hit his weight with just a .159 average in 73 games. Nino would spend the next 8 years (1955-62) in the International League with the Havana Sugar Kings, Columbus Jets and finish out his 14 year pro baseball career in 1962 with the Rochester Red Wings. Nino was 36 years old when he retired.

Escalera was the first black player in Cincinnati Reds history, although many official sources list Chuck Harmon, an African-American instead of the dark-skinned Latino Escalera.

Minor League Career Batting Statistics

League G AB H 2B 3B HR AVG SLG
Minors 1,556 5,528 1,620 251 81 88 .293 .411

Escalera continued to play for several more years in Puerto Rico, where he made his home in Rio Piedras. He remained in the game as a scout for the San Francisco Giants and most recently the New York Mets.


[edit] Sources

Baseball-Reference.com
Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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