- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7", Weight 168 lb.
Heberto Blanco was a Cuban infielder of the 1940s who also played in the Negro Leagues, Mexican League and US minors. He was the younger brother of Carlos Blanco. Heberto was noted primarily for his defensive skill.
Blanco debuted in 1940-1941 with Santa Clara, hitting .266 and slugging .277 as a part-time shortstop. He came to the US in 1941 and hit just .145 as the second baseman for the New York Cubans. At age 21 in 1941-1942, he hit .243 and slugged .250 for Habana, playing second base alongside his bother, the club's first baseman. Heberto won Cuban Winter League All-Star honors at second base, presumably due to his defense. In 1942, he hit .284 while playing short for the New York club. In the first East-West Game in 1942, he pinch-ran for Tetelo Vargas in the 8th inning and stayed in the game at second base, replacing Sammy Bankhead, who took Vargas's spot in center. Blanco did not bat. In the second game, Heberto was 0 for 1 with a walk and a run after replacing Bankhead at second base in a 9-2 rout by the East.
Blanco hit .294/?/.348 for Habana in 1942-1943. He then began a long run in Mexico, batting .263/.322/.347 for the Monterrey Industrials. In 1943-1944, he fell to .224 and a .248 slugging percentage for Habana but was named the All-Star second baseman for the second time. With Monterrey in 1944, he batted .300/.390/.342 with 74 runs and 55 walks in 92 games. Back with Habana for 1944-1945, he hit .281/?/.327. He had a big year for the 1945 Industrials, at .330/.421/.393 with 19 steals and 87 runs in 93 games. He made his last CWL All-Star team at 2B in 1945-1946, after hitting .272 and slugging .296 for Habana; his 32 runs tied him for third in the circuit.
The 25-year-old hit .279/.360/.333 with 7 triples for Monterrey in 1946, with only 25 strikeouts in 402 AB. He fell to .249/?/.297 for Habana in 1946-1947 and stole 10 bases. After sitting out a summer for the first time in his career, he played for the Leones in the 1947-1948 Cuban Players League, batting .263 and slugging .325. In 1948, he played for both Monterrey and the Veracruz Eagle and hit .260/.325/.332. Blanco returned to Habana as a backup for 1948-1949 and hit .281 with a .315 slugging percentage. In 1949-1950, he ended his Habana career, splitting second base with Vic Barnhart and batting .248/?/.349 while pacing the loop with 10 sacrifice hits.
Heberto joined the Nuevo Laredo Owls in 1950 and batted .272/.358/.370 with 16 stolen bases. He concluded his career back in Cuba in 1950-1951, going just 3 for 34 with a homer for Marianao. He still had several more years left in Mexico. He hit .263/.342/.377 as a backup for Nuevo Laredo in 1951 and remained a bench player with Monterrey in 1952 (.342/.424/.418) and thne Torreon Cotton Dealers of 1953 (.221/.301/.236). He then returned to Veracruz and was a starter for the first time in four years, hitting .301/.398/.432 with 22 doubles and a surprising six homers. The lightweight infielder hit .294/.347/.431 for Veracruz in '55 and hit a career-high 10 homers with a career-best 66 RBI. He finished his career in 1956 with the Roswell Rockets, hitting .342 with 7 RBI in ten games as a teammate of Joe Bauman during Bauman's historic 72-homer season.
Blanco had batted .288/.367/.370 in 803 games in Mexico, with 109 stolen bases and just 201 strikeouts in 3,254 AB.
Blanco remained in Cuba after the Cuban Revolution, helping train young players, including Rey Vicente Anglada. Prior to his death in 2011, he was one of the last Cuban Winter Leaguers still living in Cuba.
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway
- Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History by Jorge Figueredo
- Black Baseball's National Showcase by Larry Lester
- Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database
- The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros