Note: This page discusses Mexican League superstar Daniel Fernández. For the Peruvian national catcher of the same name, click here.
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 8", Weight 180 lb.
Daniel Fernández is one of the greatest leadoff hitters in the history of the Mexican League. He holds the all-time Mexican League run record and played his 25th season in 2007. He has spent all but one year with the Mexico City Red Devils. He will become a manager in 2008.
Fernández debuted in 1983 with the Mexico City Red Devils; the teenager was 0 for 2 in five games. In 1984, the little left-handed batter moved to the Cafeteros de Cordoba and batted .254/.354/.304 with 18 stolen bases in 25 tries. He scored the first 46 runs of his career. In 1985, Fernández returned to Mexico City and hit .288/.436/.383 with 31 stolen bases in 43 attempts, 81 walks and 91 runs in 118 games. He took over his long-time spots in center field and at the top of the batting order when John Cangelosi left Mexico. Fernández struggled in 1986, only playing 62 games and batting .240/.390/.324.
In 1987, Fernández emerged as a star. He produced at a .331/.430/.461 clip with 102 runs, 8 triples and 34 steals (caught 20 times) in 118 games. The next year, he hit .347/.465/.475 with 108 runs, 84 walks, 13 times hit by pitch and 52 stolen bases in 64 tries in 119 games. He led the Liga in times hit by pitch, was second to Mike Cole in steals, was third in runs and tied for 10th in batting average. Remaining hot in 1989, he batted .350/.432/.452 with 95 runs, 10 triples and 30 steals in 38 tries. He also had a six-hit game, a league record.
Fernández's batting line in 1990 was .328/.438/.452 with 113 runs, 11 triples, 87 walks and 43 steals in 49 tries. He led the Mexican League in runs, was third in stolen bases and tied Terry Blocker for the lead in three-baggers. That winter, he hit .283/~.386/.336 with 22 steals for the Mazatlan Deer. In 1991, Fernández hit .359/.434/.459 with 101 runs in 111 games. In 1991-1992, he batted .266/?/.353 for Mazatlan.
In 1992, the 26-year-old flyhawk batted .344/.430/.464 with 106 runs and 41 stolen bases in 52 attempts. He hit .301/?/.354 in winter ball and stole 20 bases. The next summer, he slipped to .339/.406/.481 with 106 runs, 29 stolen bases in 38 tries and 10 triples, tying Jose Gonzalez for the league lead. With Mazatlan in 1993-1994, he hit .301/?/.425 with 15 stolen bases. He was 6th in the Mexican Pacific League in average, but only 8 points behind leader Ted Wood.
Fernández hit .310/.370/.401 in 1994 with 30 stolen bases in 43 tries. He led the league with 98 runs, his lowest total in five years. He also fielded 1.000 in the outfield, setting a record for outfielder fielding percentage. In 1994-1995, Fernández hit .287//.333 for Mazatlan. In the summer of 1995, he hit .316/.424/.435 and stole 23 bases in 32 tries. That winter, he batted .278/?/.405 with 13 steals.
In 1996, Fernández hit .313/.411/.436 and swiped 26 bases while only being caught five times. He batted .319/.432/.389 in 1997 with 107 runs, the last time he topped 100; he beat out Luis Polonia by two for the lead in the Liga. He also stole 20 bases for the 11th and last time, pilfering 24 in 30 attempts. He drew a career-high 91 walks as well.
In the winter of 1997-1998, Daniel hit .295 and slugged .355 for Mazatlan; he was named league MVP. He hit .318/.423/.396 at age 32, still legging out 8 triples but only stealing 3 bases. His 73 runs in 87 games marked his lowest run total in 12 years. In 1998-1999, he batted .272 and slugged .346 in winter ball. He played for Mexico in the 1999 Pan American Games. In the regular season, the Red Devils outfielder hit .320/.411/.366. He hit .276/?/.358 in winter league action in 1999-2000. In the 2000 LMB season, Fernández batted .300/.400/.457 with 7 triples. It was his 14th straight summer of .300 or better, tying the Mexican League record.
Through 2000, Fernández had hit .322/.422/.423 with 1,101 walks, 423 steals in 559 tries, 1,479 runs, 2,092 hits, 308 doubles and 95 triples in 1,751 games in the Mexican League. Even though he still would play 7 more years, he already ranked high among the all-time league leaders in runs (second), hits (17th), triples (3rd), steals (2nd) and walks (6th). He was not among the top five in times caught stealing despite being second in steals, 68 ahead of #3 and over 100 ahead of #5.
Fernández finally fell under .300 in 2001, hitting .290/~.398/.371. He broke Hector Espino's all-time Mexican League record when he scored his 1,506th run. For a player with little power, it came in an odd way, on a solo homer, just the 54th circuit clout of his career.
In the winter of 2001-2002, Fernández hit .287 and slugged .325 for the Deer. In 2002, he batted .254/~.338/.352 for his lowest OPS in 16 years. In the winter of 2002-2003, he hit .275/?/.368 for Mazatlan. In the summer of 2003, the old-timer batted .303/~.396/.362 for his 15th .300 season in the Mexican League. The next year, his production fell with a batting line of .268/~.353/.304. He hit .288/~.383/.367 with 58 runs in 74 games in 2005, even though he was 39 years old. He also fielded 1.000 for the second time.
At age 40, Fernández had his worst year, producing at a .240/.305/.280 clip. Reduced to 39 games in 2007, he bounced back, batting .341/.393/.423 while serving as a player-coach. He was hired as the team's manager for 2008, replacing Marco Antonio Vazquez. In his first season at the helm, he piloted Mexico City to their 15th LMB title. He guided Mexico City to the best regular season record in 2009 but was fired when the team fell in the playoffs. He managed the Tabasco Olmecas for part of 2010 then took the job as skipper of the Veracruz Rojos Aguilas for 2011.
Overall, Fernández finished his career with a batting line of .313/~.401/.406 with 1,378 walks, 2,648 hits, 478 stolen bases and 1,836 runs. He was 4th all-time in hits behind Jesus Sommers, Nelson Barrera and Hector Espino, led all-time in runs and was possibly second to Ronnie Camacho in walks. He was second in steals, only 12 behind Antonio Briones. He was elected to Mexico's Hall of Fame in 2014, in a class with Fernando Valenzuela, Ricardo Sáenz and Cuauhtémoc Rodríguez.
Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record
|2008||Mexico City Red Devils||Mexican League||66-39||2nd||none||League Champs|
|2009||Mexico City Red Devils||Mexican League||68-35||1st||none||Lost in 1st round|
|2010||Tabasco Olmecas||Mexican League||none||replaced by Gustavo Llenas|
|2011||Veracruz Red Eagles||Mexican League||54-49||5th (t)||none||Lost in 2nd round|
- The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros
- One article on Fernandez's hiring as manager of Mexico City
- Another article on Fernandez's managerial hiring