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Teo Acosta

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Teolindo Antonio Acosta Lazaro

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 6", Weight 158 lb.

[edit] Biographical information

Minor league star Teo Acosta hit .328 over 19 seasons, won five batting titles, four stolen base crowns, and led his league in hits five times and runs and triples once each. Acosta stole 389 bases, but never made it to the majors as the diminutive outfielder only hit 64 homers, never reaching double digits. Acosta began his career with the 1958 Dothan Phillies, hitting .313 and stealing a league-high 36 bases. He led the Alabama-Florida League again the next year when he stole 46 for Dothan and his .337 average was four points behind leader J. Keith Williams.

In 1960, Teo won his first batting crown, as he topped the Pioneer League at .369 and also swiped the most bags, 45, while splitting the season between the Billings Mustangs and Missoula Timberjacks. In '61, Acosta stole 40 to lead his league for the fourth year in a row and he again led in batting (.343). This time he had dominated the South Atlantic League as a member of the Columbia Reds.

Teo hit .294 for the Macon Peaches in 1962 and also batted .276 in 13 games for the San Diego Padres as he got his first glance at AAA. In '63, the Venezuelan flycatcher hit .279 for Macon and stole 21 bases. His career had stalled and in 1964, he hit .269 in his third year with Macon. Now 27 years old, he was not a significant prospect.

Dropped back to A ball, Teo revitalized his career with a .336 season for the Peninsula Grays, five points behind Carolina League leader Ed Stroud. Spending brief time with the 1966 Knoxville Smokies, Acosta was with the Buffalo Bisons most of the year and batted a light .286.

Returning to Buffalo in '67, Acosta slipped to .238 and finished his career north of the US-Mexico border. In 1968, at age 30, Teo went to the Puebla Parrots and hit .325/~.389/.438. For Puebla in 1969, he had a line of .354/~.378/.476, led the Mexican League in average and hits (189) and was part of a four-way tie for the lead in doubles (29). He drove in a career-high 82 that year.

In 1970, the little left-hander hit .337/~.412/.471 for the Yucatan Lions and paced Mexico in triples (11). Acosta led all of Organized Baseball in average in 1971 after a .392/~.463/.540 season. He presumably set a career high in OPS that year as well. For an encore, he hit .346/~.413/.465 for Yucatan. A year later, splitting time bwteen Yucatan and Puebla, Teo lost the batting title by two points to Hector Espino with a fine .375/~.453/.518 year.

1974 brought Acosta his fifth batting title. For the second time, he had the highest mark in Organized Baseball by hitting .366/~.442/.442 for Puebla with 93 runs and the last two homers of his career. His 170 hits tied Angel Bravo for the LMB lead. In '75, he was with the Cardenales de Tabasco and slipped to .320/~.377/.380 at age 36-37, getting caught stealing in half of his 38 tries. He wrapped up his career with the 1976 Nuevo Laredo Owls with a .276/~.344/.289 with five doubles, no triples and no homers in 384 at-bats.

Acosta finished the Mexican leg of his career at .345/~.409/.450 with 73 triples and only 187 strikeouts in 3,973 AB. Among LMB players with between 3,000 and 4,600 at-bats, Acosta was tied for fifth in average after 2000 - only Al Pinkston, Alonso Perry, Jimmie Collins and Cornelio Garcia were higher while Oswaldo Olivares was even with him (technically, percentage points ahead). He is tied for the LMB record for runs in a game, with 6.

Additionally, Acosta played 23 seasons in winter ball in the Venezuelan League. He is the all-time leader there with 57 triples (tied with Olivares), is second in games (1,130), at-bats (4,324) and hits (1,289), third with 606 runs and fourth in steals (121). He hit .298 and slugged only five homers in his time in the Venezuelan winter league. He won batting titles there in 1957-1958 and 1965-1966 and led in triples in 1970-1971 and 1973-1974. He also led in hits and runs in 1957-1958.

Primary Sources: The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros, Viva Beisbol newsletter by Bruce Baskin (June 2006 edition)

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