Heliodoro Hidalgo (Jabuco)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 6"
Helidoro Hidalgo was a Cuban center fielder in the Deadball Era. He was famed for his speed and defense.
Hidalgo debuted in the 1901 Cuban Winter League, going 1 for 12. In 1902, he hit .229 and slugged .295 for the San Francisco club. Moving to Club Fé in '03, he batted .212 with a .231 slugging percentage. In 1904, he hit .234 and slugged .260 for the champion Habana team. He moved to Almendares in 1905 and produced at a .217/.299/.242 rate. He was among the league leaders in runs (20, 5th), hits (26, tied for 9th with future major leaguer Armando Marsans), home runs (1, tied for first with Home Run Johnson, Julián Castillo and MLB-bound Rafael Almeida), RBI (11, 6th), steals (7, tied for 8th) and walks (12, tied for 3rd). While his raw batting stats look pitiful, the Deadball Era in Cuba was such that Hidalgo's OPS+ that year was a pretty good 117. Almendares won it all that year.
Jabuco was back with the Almendares club in 1906. He hit .202/.243/.239 and still had a 101 OPS+. He led the CWL with 109 at-bats and was 8th with eight steals. In '07, he fell to .180/.254/.213 for a 73 OPS+ as Almendares won again. He stole 11 bases, tying Pete Hill, Al Cabrera and Luis Padrón for 5th in the circuit. He won his fourth pennant in five years in 1908, batting .214/.271/.260 for Almendares. His 18 RBI tied Padrón for 9th while his 14 sacrifice hits placed him third. In 1908-1909, he hit .225/.291/.275. He stole 13 bases, tying Rogelio Valdés for 7th. He was also 7th in hits (41), tied for 6th in triples (3, tied with Johnson), 7th in RBI (17) and tied for 5th with Marsans in sacrifice hits (8).
In 1910, the little center fielder hit .253/.313/.345 for a 155 OPS+. He was 8th in runs (14), 6th in hits (22) and tied for the lead in home runs (2, even with Agustín Parpetti and Padrón). He hit .263 for the Stars of Cuba in the 1910 Negro Leagues. Hidalgo batted .243/.400/.356 in 1910-1911 as Almendares won again. He had 20 walks, 14 steals and 21 runs in 27 games. He was third in runs (behind Carlos Morán and Marsans), tied for 5th in steals (with Parpetti), 6th in OBP and tied for third in walks with Parpetti.
During 1912, he returned to Fé and slumped to .213/.260/.234. He hit .286 for the Cuban Stars in 1912 in the USA. In 1913, the veteran flyhawk returned to Almendares and hit .247/.379/.247 with 11 steals, 17 walks, 17 runs and no extra-base hits in 27 contests. He finished 9th in stolen bases, tied José Méndez and Rafael Figarola for 8th in runs and was 7th in walks. That summer, he hit .400 in the US and would have had the best average among top midwestern black clubs had he qualified.
Hidalgo hit .252 and slugged .299 for Almendares as they won the CWL in 1913-1914; his notable outfield mates were Marsans and Cristobal Torriente. In 1914-1915, Heliodoro batted .257 and slugged .292. He ended his career in 19815-1916 with two teams, hitting .303 with a .357 slugging percentage.
In 1943, he was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, one of the first 20 inductees. The other members of the 1943 induction class were Julián Castillo and Luis Padrón.