José Meléndez (minors01)
José Miguel Ángel Meléndez (El Chino)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 165 lb.
José Ángel Meléndez was an early member of the Nicaraguan national team.
He won Bronze with Nicaragua in the 1938 Central American and Caribbean Games.  He was 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA in the 1939 Amateur World Series, when Nicaragua won Silver, finishing behind only Cuba.  In the 1940 Amateur World Series, El Chino was 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA, 9th in ERA. He was one win behind Rafael Kinsler. Nicaragua tied Team USA for a Silver. 
Meléndez appeared in the 1941 Amateur World Series and 1944 Amateur World Series.  He turned pro in 1946, going 5-2 to be named best pitcher of the Panamanian League.  The same year, he threw a no-hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers, containing the likes of Pee Wee Reese, Carl Furillo, Cookie Lavagetto and Bruce Edwards. 
At age 40, he played in the minors, one of the first Nicaraguans there. Francisco Dávila had pitched earlier, but it is unclear if Meléndez was the second Nicaraguan. He was 16-7 with a 3.87 ERA for the 1948 Juarez Indios. He tied Roger Higgins for 4th in the Arizona-Texas League in wins, one off the pace, and was 5th in ERA (between Thomas Radcliff and Tony Ponce) in the high-offense league.
With the '49 El Paso Texans, the old-timer hit .298/?/.426 and had a 18-5, 3.00 record. He tied Manuel Fortes for 5th in the AZ-TX League in victories and had the best ERA of hurlers with 100+ IP, .59 ahead of Manuel Morales. He fell to 13-14, 4.62 for the 1950 Texans at age 42 and still hit .284 with a .400 slugging. He tied Manny Fierro and Bob Greenwood for 10th in wins and was 7th in ERA among pitchers with 100+ innings, as the league averaged over seven runs per game. Given his track record at ages 40-42 in the minors, it is interesting to wonder how he would have fared had he gotten a chance at a younger age.