Hilario Oscar Rodríguez Moyo
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 175 lb.
The only member of the Salon de la Fama (as of 2005) born in Puerto Rico, Oscar Rodríguez began his professional baseball career with the 1951 Middlesboro Athletics, batting .278 with 6 homers and 50 RBI. A year later he hit .290/~.404/.407 for the Athletics, with 89 runs, 82 walks and 27 steals as a 2B-3B-OF; he made 47 errors but was above-average or just shy in fielding percentage at each position.
Oscar remained with Middlesboro for a third season and lit up the Mountain States League in 1953 with a .384 average. He was only third in the MSL, which was a high-offense league that year. He played briefly for the Longview Pirates as well, hitting .322. In 1954 Rodríguez began a three-year run with the Waco Pirates. He batted .278 for Waco in 1954, then .321 the next season and .297 in 1956.
In 1957 Oscar began the main part of his career, joining the Mexico City Tigers of the Mexican League at age 25. He batted .280/~.341/.429 while playing third base and catching. The next year Rodríguez's line was .289/~.394/.466 as his walk total almost doubled (going from 34 to 66); he split the year between the Tigers and Yucatan. He split the 1959 campaign between two clubs as well, hitting .314/~.390/.515 with 22 homers, 97 runs and 90 RBI. At age 27-28, he had begun to emerge as a star.
The 1960 season brought Rodríguez to the Puebla Parrots, where he would spend the next 7 years. He hit .344/~.418/.571 his first season there, with 102 runs, 26 homers and 105 RBI. He was in the top five in all three Triple Crown stats and was tied for third in home runs. In 1961 Rodríguez fell to .303/~.386/.530; his 22 homers were only one behind leader Witty Quintana though.
In 1962 Rodríguez had his highest average in the Mexican part of his career, as he batted .374/~.443/.567, seven points behind league leader Al Pinkston. The next year he was part of Puebla's pennant-winning team, forming a fine infield with 1B Ronnie Camacho, 2B Moisés Camacho and SS Jorge Fitch. Oscar hit .342/~.412/.545 that season. The 1964 campaign had Rodríguez posting a .363/~.433/.582 line for his highest slugging percentage south of the border. Oscar was 6th in the Liga with 107 RBI, third in average behind Hector Espino and Pinkston, scored 103 runs (third behind Espino and Angel Scull), hit 37 doubles (third behind David Garcia and Arnoldo Castro) and collected 9 triples in a fine all-around offensive season.
1965 saw Rodríguez begin to fade. At age 33-34, he hit .319/~.384/.502. A year later his line was .333/~.420/.490 with 13 homers, his fewest since his first season in the Liga. For the first time in Mexico, he led the league in a category, pacing the circuit in hits (165) and doubles (35); his 103 runs were second to Ronnie Camacho. His 70 walks were the most he drew in Mexico.
Oscar left Puebla in 1967 and went to the Reynosa Broncos. He put together another double-leading season (42) and overall hit .356/~.434/.547. He fell drastically in 1968 at age 36-37 when his line was .279/~.376/.408 but was still feared enough to draw 20 intentional walks, tied for fifth in the Liga. His homer total fell to 9 after 10 straight years in double digits. His career finished in 1969. He hit just .230/~.342/.370 in 32 games and was sent down to be a player-manager in the lower minors, no longer able to play regularly at the top level in Mexico. Becoming the player-manager of the Carmen Camaroneros (replacing Pancho Herrera at the helm), he hit .324/~.423/.466, third in average on the Mexican Southeast League club.
In 1993 Rodríguez was voted into the Salon de la Fama. His career totals in Mexico were .324/~.401/.512 with 1,011 runs, 1,808 hits, 2,859 total bases, 334 doubles, 66 triples, 195 homers, 995 RBI and 690 walks. As of 2000 he was 17th all-time in the Mexican League in runs scored, 14th in doubles, 19th in RBI, 21st in homers, 19th in total bases and fourth in average among players with 4,600+ AB (trailing only Matias Carrillo, Espino and Juan Navarette).