Jesús Ríos

From BR Bullpen

Jesús Ríos Villalobos (Chito)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 195 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Jesús Ríos pitched in the Mexican League over 23 seasons from 1984 to 2007. He won over 300 games as a pro and set several records, including career strikeouts. He also pitched two years in AAA in the Yankees and Angels organizations from 1986 to 1987.

Ríos debuted in 1984 with the Tigres de México, going an impressive 17-6, 3.33 with 16 complete games in 31 starts. The rookie tied Luis Mendez, Salvador Colorado, Jaime Orozco and Miguel Solis for the LMB lead in wins and led with 194 strikeouts (ten ahead of Ralph García) and 86 walks. His five shutouts were one shy of leader Ken Angulo. He did not get a pitching Triple Crown as he was 9th in ERA, between Angel Hernandez and Porfirio Ochoa. He had the season's only no-hitter, against the Cafeteros de Cordoba. [1] He was an obvious pick for Rookie of the Year; he and Carlos De Los Santos won as Mexico was picking two winners a year during that time. [2]

He had no sophomore slump in 1985. In fact, he did better at 21-4, 2.52, amazingly completing all 26 of his starts. He set the league record for consecutive complete games. [3] He fell four shy of Jim Horsford's record for complete games in a season. [4] He again won two-thirds of the pitching Triple Crown - wins (two ahead of Ricardo Solís) and getting his only ERA title. He fell short in whiffs at 152, at best third-place and 48 behind leader Ramon Serna. [5]

Chito went 14-9, 4.10 for the 1986 Tigres, the year offensive levels exploded to a new baseball in use in Mexico. He tied Angulo, Ángel Moreno and Barry Bass for 7th in victories but did not crack the top 10 in ERA. He had his first trial in the US but was 0-1 with a 7.90 ERA in 3 games for the Columbus Clippers. In 1987, he was 16-9 with a save and a 3.55 ERA for the Tigres, striking out 200 and walking 47 in 190 1/3 IP. He tied Mendez and Hilario Renteria for the win lead and led the league by at least 42 strikeouts, tying the best mark in Mexico in the 1980s for Ks. He once again missed out on a Triple Crown, the third time he had two legs of one. He was 9th in ERA, between Germán Jiménez and Arturo González. [6] His second and last stint in the US was nearly identical to his first - 0-1, 7.88 for the Edmonton Trappers. That winter, he led the Mexican Pacific League with four shutouts. [7]

In 1988, he again was dominant: 21-6, Sv, 2.31, 16 CG in 26 GS, 195 K, for his last 20-win season. He led the LMB in wins for the 4th time in his five seasons, four ahead of Jesús Moreno and Solís. He led the league in strikeouts for the 3rd time, 43 ahead of Solís and García. He came his closest to a pitching Triple Crown, losing the ERA title to Dave Walsh, who pitched over 100 fewer innings. He also led in IP (233 2/3). [8]

Ríos was 12-8 with a 3.00 ERA in 1989. He was 6th in ERA, between Gil Heredia and Martin Raygoza. [9] In 1990, he fell to 9-10, 4.42 for the Tigres, his only losing season in his first 16. He was somewhat better in '91 at 10-8, 4.36. He returned to form in 1992, helping the Tigres win the pennant with a 15-9, 2.80 performance, striking out 186 and throwing six shutouts. He was 6th in ERA, between Juan Palafox and Armando Valdez, led in Ks for the 4th time (8 ahead of Leobardo Moreno), tied Solís for 8th in wins and led in shutouts. He also nearly had a second no-hitter; on May 22, he blanked Veracruz and went to bed with a no-hitter in the books but the scorer changed a 9th-inning error to a hit. He won the last game of the finals with a one-hitter. [10]

The right-hander led the 1992-1993 Mexican Pacific League in strikeouts. [11] In the summer of '93, he was 13-11 with a 4.82 ERA. He tied for 10th in the LMB in wins, in his 10th season with the Tigres. In 1994, he was 5-3 with a 3.07 ERA in limited action. He was 10-6 with a 4.25 ERA during 1995.

After 12 seasons with the Tigres, he moved on to the Acereros de Monclova for 1996 and had a 6-6, 4.50 campaign. In 1997, he was 12-5 with a 2.90 ERA and led the Mexican League in strikeouts for a 5th and final time with 121, edging Vicente Palacios by one. [12] He had his last strong campaign with Monclova in 1998, going 16-6 with a 3.00 ERA. He tied Narciso Elvira for the league lead in wins, his 5th time leading the LMB in that department but first time in ten years. [13]

The 36-year-old fell to 6-5, 4.12 for Monclova in 1999. In 2000, he was with the Algodoneros de Torreon and sputtered to a 6-12, 6.60 finish though he saved two games to double his career total. He was 4th in the league in losses, one off the three leaders. Through that season, he was 209-123 in the LMB with 4 saves and a 3.62 ERA, striking out 2,189 in 2,853 innings. He had completed 159 of 409 starts and thrown 44 shutouts. [14] He already 8th in league history in games started by a pitcher (409, between Orozco and Herminio Dominguez), 8th in wins (between Ramón Bragaña and César Díaz), 6th in shutouts (between Alfredo Ortiz and César Díaz), 2nd in strikeouts (191 behind Ramón Arano) but first in homers allowed (278, 17 ahead of Arano). [15]

Ríos wasn't done yet, though. He was 10-10 with a 4.13 ERA for the 2001 Leones de Yucatán, missing the league's top 10 in wins by one. In 2002, he split time between the Leones (4-2, 4.15) and the Olmecas de Tabasco (5-2, 2.56). He was within range of the top 10 in both wins and ERA. He slipped to 0-7, 4.86 for Tabasco in 2003.

In 2004, he was 5-5 with a 3.15 ERA. While the 41-year-old wasn't striking out nearly as many as he did in heyday (45 in 83 IP), he passed Arano as the LMB's career strikeout leader. [16] He was 7th in the LMB in ERA, between Edgar Perez and Pablo Ortega, showing he could still be one of the league's aces. [17]

In 2005, he was 8-3 with a 3.42 ERA for Tabasco. He was 4th in ERA, between Rigo Beltrán and Steve Bourgeois. [18] He was 3-4 with a 4.91 ERA in 2006. In 2007, he pitched for Tabasco (0-3, 7.01 in 8 G) and the Tigres de Quintana Roo (0 R in 2 1/3 IP for his old Tigres franchise).

He finished his Mexican League career at 244-159 with the record 2,549 whiffs and a 3.69 ERA. He had led the league in wins and strikeouts more often than any other hurler. [19] He had set records with six games started in a playoff, 45 career playoff games pitched, 16 career playoff complete games, 4 complete games in a playoff and 303 career playoff innings pitched. He had won 21 postseason games. [20] In the Mexican Pacific League, he was 86-72, 3.29 with 1,043 K and 12 more shutouts. [21] Through 2019, he was 4th in LMB history in wins (after Arano, Ángel Moreno and Ortiz), 6th in winning percentage (between Mendez and Jesús Moreno), 6th in shutouts (between Ortiz and Díaz) and 1st in whiffs (169 ahead of Arano). [22] In the LMP, he was 7th in strikeouts, between Arturo González and Juan Suby. [23]

Chito easily led the 2013 Salón de la Fama balloting with 259 votes, 118 ahead of #2 Cornelio García (who also got in that year). [24]


  1. 1985 Baseball Guide, pg. 347-350
  2. The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros, pg. 20
  3. 1986 Baseball America Statistics Report, pg. 193
  4. The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics, pg. 57
  5. The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics, pg. 58; Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database
  6. The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics, pg. 58; Doyle Database; 1988 Baseball Almanac, pg. 216
  7. Salon de la Fama
  8. 1989 Baseball Guide, pg. 372-374
  9. 1990 Baseball Almanac, pg. 246
  10. 1993 Baseball Almanac, pg. 284-286
  11. Salon de la Fama
  12. 1998 Baseball Almanac, pg. 296
  13. 1999 Baseball Almanac, pg. 321
  14. The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics, pg. 426
  15. ibid., pg. 62-65
  16. Youtube video of the occasion
  17. 2005 Baseball Almanac, pg. 361
  18. 2006 Baseball Almanac, pg. 355
  19. Salon de la Fama
  20. ibid.
  21. ibid.
  22. Salon de la Fama, LMB pitching leaders
  23. Salon de la Fama, LMP pitching leaders
  24. ESPN Deportes