Robinson Checo Perez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- Debut September 16, 1997
- Final Game October 3, 1999
- Born September 9, 1971 in Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, D.R.
Robinson Checo was signed by the California Angels in May of 1989 and played on the club's Dominican Summer League team. He was released before the 1990 season and went to the Hiroshima Carp's Dominican Academy. In 1992 he went to Japan with the Carp's minor league club but the next year continued his international travels with a stopover in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. There he spent the whole 1994 season toiling for the China Times Eagles before returning to Japan in 1995. Checo quickly established himself as Hiroshima's ace. He went 15-8 with a 2.74 ERA and 166 strikeouts. He allowed the most homers in the Central League (25) and also walked the most batters (98) but he also was third in wins and ERA and second in strikeouts. He also became the first foreign pitcher ever to toss a shutout in his first Japanese appearance (April 12th against the Hanshin Tigers). He subsequently barely missed spinning a no-hitter later against Hanshin when light-hitting infielder Teruyoshi Kuji doubled with two gone in the 9th to spoil it (May 18, 1996).
Checo then became the center of scandal in the off-season. He demanded a release so he could play in Major League Baseball but Hiroshima officials turned him down. With agent Don Nomura, he then went to arbitration to try to get a big raise but this led to legal and public relation problems. He finally settled with the club, offered a public apology and paid the Carp a small fee. He only pitched in 9 games for Hiroshima in 1996, going 4-1 but with a 4.80 ERA. He then "retired", just as Hideo Nomo had done two years earlier.
Dan Duquette signed Checo to join the Boston Red Sox later that year. During his short career with the Red Sox he was sometimes referred to as "The Dominican Mystery Man" because no one seemed to know of his status or whereabouts. He pitched for four teams in the Boston chain in 1997, going 7-8 and suffering an arm injury. He also made 5 appearances with the Big League Red Sox in September. He was 7-5 with four different clubs again in 1998. He spent most of the season with the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox but also appeared in the Rookie-class Gulf Coast League, A Florida State League and majors.
Checo was signed and released by the Detroit Tigers then caught on with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1999 and went 5-8, doing okay in AAA but getting toasted in his final major-league appearances. In 2000 Checo was 8-3 with a 3.63 for the Albuquerque Dukes but this time he didn't get another shot at extending his career. Overall Checo had pitched for at least 13 teams in four countries in his 12-year career.
Sources: japanbaseballdaily.com, Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database and japanesebaseball.com