Francisco Contreras (Venezuela)
Francisco Contreras (Tarzán)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
Francisco Contreras was a star in the first years of the Venezuelan League.
Contreras played for the Venezuelan national team in the 1941 Amateur World Series; while Contreras was normally a catcher, he was used as a corner outfielder due to Enrique Fonseca being behind the plate.  Venezuela won their first world title; the team became known as the Héroes del 41 and was enshrined in the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame as a unit.
When the Venezuelan League formed in 1946, he hit .356 and slugged .481 for the champion Sabios de Vargas, driving in 18 runs in 26 games; he was joined behind the dish by Roy Campanella (usually hitting 5th, right behind Campy).  He tied Chucho Ramos and Guillermo Vento for 4th in doubles (7), tied for 7th in home runs (2), tied Ramos for 8th in RBI, was 7th with 50 total bases, was second in average for players with 100+ AB (.002 behind Parnell Woods) and 3rd in slugging among those with 100+ AB (after Marvin Williams and Woods). He thus led Venezuelan natives in average and slugging for those with 100+ AB.
Contreras slipped slightly in 1946-1947 to .325/?/.436 and was 6th with 20 RBI as Vargas repeated. He moved to the Patriotas de Venezuela in 1947-1948; they also had Luis Saint-Claire at catcher. He remained strong at .350/?/.472 with 28 RBI and 20 runs in 34 games. He was 3rd in average (after Vidal López and Adolfredo González), tied Carlos Ascanio and Harry Simpson for 9th in hits and tied Vento for 3rd in RBI. His .343 average through the first three seasons of the league was second among players with 200+ AB (.013 behind Woods)
Tarzán was with the Navegantes del Magallanes in 1948-1949 but slipped to .189 with a .230 slugging. A star of the first 3 seasons of the league, he now backed up John Ritchey. In 1949-1950, he was only 1 for 8 as Ritchey's backup but he won his third title in five seasons. In 1950-1951, he split time with Danny Baich as Magallanes repeated; he hit .241 and slugged .287. He was 3 for 9 with a double in 1951-1952, when Quincy Trouppe did most of the catching for the team.
The Maracaibo native had a comeback season in 1952-1953, hitting .320 and slugging .447. Among players with 100+ AB, he was 6th in average, between Camaleón García and Harry Elliott. He won a fifth title in 1953-1954, his final season, batting .218/?/.264 for the Pastora de Occidente club, backing up Ed Bailey. He had batted .294 and slugged .386 in 226 LVBP games, with 118 RBI.