Francisco Jose Obregón
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 170 lb.
Teodoro Obregón was born one year after Luis Aparicio and shared a nationality and a position with Aparicio. While both would star in Venezuela, Obregón peaked at AAA in the US, spending 11 seasons at that classification without appearing in one game in the majors. Obregón was noted primarily for his glovework. His brother Antonio Obregón also played professionally.
Teodoro debuted in 1956-1957, hitting .283/?/.323 for the Industriales de Valencia and winning honors as Venezuelan League Rookie of the Year. Signing with the Cincinnati Reds, he went 3 for 18 with a homer and four walks for the Wausau Lumberjacks in '57. In the winter of 1957-1958, he hit only .176/?/.235 for Valencia. He was 0 for 2 in the 1958 Caribbean Series, moving to the bench when the team added Chico Carrasquel for the Series. That summer, he hit .271/?/.354 for the Visalia Redlegs, including a career-best 7 home runs (he would hit only four in 806 career games back in Venezuela).
Obregón batted .291/?/.362 for Valencia in 1958-1959 and was 6th in the Venezuelan League with 26 runs scored. In the 1959 Caribbean Series, he hit .292 as the starting shortstop for Oriente. He was with the 1959 Savannah Reds, hitting .234/.303/.317. His 17 steals tied him for third in the South Atlantic League. In 1959-1960, he batted .342/?/.432 for Valencia. He was third in the league in runs (17, behind Elio Chacon and Alex Carrasquel), led in hits (40) and was third in average (trailing Gene Collins and Ed Sadowski). He did not play for Venezuela in the 1960 Caribbean Series (the last Series for a decade), but there was little shame in that as Aparicio was the shortstop for the Venezuelan entry.
Teodoro made it to AAA in 1960, playing for the Seattle Rainiers (.243/.321/.281 in 56 G) and Indianapolis Indians (.242/.278/.275 in 55 G), stealing 23 bases between the two teams but managing only 10 extra-base hits. In 1960-1961, he hit .257/?/.316 for the Industriales and tied for 6th in the league with 27 runs. In '61, he produced at a .269/.323/.330 clip and fielded .944 for the Jersey City Jerseys. He had 7 triples, tying Barry Shetrone for 6th in the 1961 International League. He hit .311/?/.395 in winter ball, tying Dario Rubenstein and Lou Johnson for 8th in the Venezuelan League in runs (23) while placing 9th in average (between Rene Friol and Johnny Schaive).
The Caracas native fielded .961 for the 1962 Syracuse Chiefs but hit only .198/.310/.260 (on loan that year from the Reds to the New York Mets, but Cincinnati refused to sell his contract to the bumbling new club, denying Teodoro a chance at the majors). He turned 101 double plays, leading all shortstops in the 1962 International League. In '62-'63, he batted .277/?/.333 for Valencia. In the summer, he moved down to AA with the Macon Peaches, hitting .261/.320/.333 with 28 doubles and 15 steals in 22 attempts. He tied Jim Northrup and Adolfo Phillips for 4th in the SAL in doubles and he also tied for fifth in swipes. He led the loop with 16 sacrifice hits. During 1963-1964, he fell to .227/?/.263 for the Industriales but did steal 10 bases, good for 6th-best in Venezuela that season. He also scored 25 times, tying Dave Roberts for third in the league.
Obregón split 1964 between Macon (.285/.347/.346, .949 FLD in 103 G) and the San Diego Padres (1 for 4, 2 R). He hit .266/?/.346 for Valencia in 1964-1965. In 1965, he played for the Padres (.204/.230/.241 in 27 G) and Knoxville Smokies (.253/.317/.308 in 109 G). He followed with a .284/?/.360 campaign for Valencia. In '66, he hit .275/.322/.389 for the Buffalo Bisons and fielded .972. He matched his career high with 7 dingers and nearly led the 1966 International League's shortstops in fielding, two behind the wizard Mark Belanger.
He ended his 11-year run with Valencia in 1966-1967 (he would be with them briefly in 1967-1968), hitting .242/?/.258. With Buffalo again in '67, he fielded .971 while his batting line fell to .264/.303/.329. Only Al Lehrer had a better fielding percentage among starting shortstops in the 1967 IL. Moving to the Leones del Caracas in 1967-1968, Teodoro batted .242/?/.293 (he was 10 for 51 for Valencia that winter). He hit only .215/.246/.276 for the Indianapolis Indians in 1968, backing up Jimy Williams at SS and a couple players at 3B. He even pitched five games, allowing 8 runs in 13 innings. In 1968-1969, Obregón hit .218/?/.251 for Caracas.
After 12 years in the Reds system, he moved to the Atlanta Braves in 1969 and almost made the majors. Manager Lum Harris said that Obregón would be the team's starting shortstop at one point, but he wound up losing the job to Sonny Jackson. Back for another year in AAA, he hit .232/.290/.285 and fielded .959 for the Richmond Braves. He led 1969 IL shortstops in double plays (92) and was second in fielding percentage among the starters, behind Luis Alvarado. In winter play, he batted .255/?/.288 for Caracas.
With Richmond again in 1970, Teodoro had a pretty good season at age 34, hitting .301/.376/.386 while splitting shortstop with Vic LaRose, backing up Darrell Evans at 3B and backing up Jack Damaska at 2B. Had he qualified (he was about 50 plate appearances shy), he would have been 5 points shy of making the 1970 International League top 10 in average, trailing another Teodoro, Teodoro "Ted" Martinez. He hit .249/?/.282 for Caracas in the winter.
In 1971, he moved down to the Savannah Braves in AA and batted .271/.352/.373 with 28 doubles. He led the Dixie Association's Southern League component in doubles and tied John Knox for 10th in average. He make the league's All-Star team as a utility man (Bruce Miller was the shortstop), one of two utility players chosen, alongside Ike Blessitt. In the winter, he batted .279/?/.295 for the Leones.
With Savannhah in 1972, he hit .246/.336/.333 and fielded .981 at short, backing up Larvell Blanks. The old-timer hit .262/?/.291 for Caracas in 1972-1973. Ending his US career, he split 1973 between Savannah (.169/.263/.169 in 38 G) and Richmond (8 for 34, BB). He was 1 for 16 for the 1973-1974 Cardenales de Lara and 0 for 3 for Lara in 1974-1975. He ended his career with over 1,500 hits in the minors and over 2,300 in professional baseball altogether, not bad for someone noted primarily for his glove. Through 2012-2013, he was tied with Alexis Infante for 20th in Venezuelan League history in hits.