Epitacio Torres (La Mala)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 11", Weight 172 lb.
The father of Hector Torres, right fielder Epitacio Torres made his Mexican League debut at the age of 17 for the Monterrey Sultans, hitting .316/~.346/.480 and earning Rookie of the Year honors. In 1940, Torres was one of the few Mexicans to hold down a starting job when the Negro League stars and Cuban players dominated the circuit. Torres hit .280/~.326/.393, then followed with a .304/~.380/.402 season as his plate discipline was improving, his walk total rising from 6 to 24 to 43. He kept getting better on other fronts too and hit .348/~.394/.449 and in 1945 hit .352/~.425/.441, setting a career high in batting average and in runs (78). Facing major league pitchers regularly in 1946-47, Epitacio remained a .300 hitter with good triple power. In 1948 La Mala slipped to .268/~.363/.380, ending a run of seven straight .300 seasons. He would have 4 more .300 seasons before he retired, including arguably his best season in 1954. At the age of 32, Epitacio hit .351/~.393/.476 with a career-high 7 homers and his best slugging percentage. He continued to hit solidly, but his playing time declined and in 1956 his 18-year run with Monterrey ended. He spent his last 2 games with the Nuevo Laredo Owls in 1957.
He was described by Whitey Ford as "the best player I've ever seen in my career." Outside of his contact hitting, Torres was known primarily for his slick fielding and an outfield arm considered the greatest in Mexican League history. In 1964 he was selected to the Salon de la Fama.
Sources include the Viva Beisbol newsletter by Bruce Baskin and "The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics" by Pedro Treto Cisneros