Vincente Romo Navarro
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 195 lb.
- Debut April 11, 1968
- Final Game July 27, 1982
- Born April 12, 1943 in Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur Mexico
Vicente Romo had the greatest career in the history of the Mexican Pacific League. He won a record 182 games in the LMP. Additionally he is the all-time league leader in ERA (2.38), strikeouts (2,038), complete games (178) and starts (364) during 24 years there. He pitched the first LMP perfect game and had a 17-win, 1.07 ERA campaign in 1967-1968.
Vicente began his professional career in 1962 with the Aguascalientes Tigers of the Mexican Center League, going 8-9 with a 4.47 ERA at the age of 19. The next season he was up with the Mexico City Tigers and went 12-10 with a 3.26 ERA. A year later Romo went 16-8 with a 3.74 ERA, one win behind the Liga leader. In 1965 Romo joined the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League and went 2-5 with a 4.50 ERA.
The hurler returned to Mexico in 1966 and was 17-7 with a 2.41 ERA. He tied for sixth in wins, was fourth in ERA and third in strikeouts (206, easily his most in the Mexican League). At age 24, he was with Portland once again and went just 3-11 with a 4.15 ERA. He began the 1968 season in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a 1967 Rule V Draft pick but was returned to the Cleveland Indians after one game with LA. He had a dazzling rookie campaign, going 5-3 with 12 saves and a 1.60 ERA (184 ERA+), allowing 44 hits in 84 1/3 innings. Cleveland's top reliever also spent part of the year in Portland, going 4-3 with a 3.16 ERA. He spent the next six years as a good relief pitcher for several teams.
In 1975 Romo returned to his homeland at age 32 after a fairly bad year with the San Diego Padres in 1974. Pitching for the Cafeteros de Cordoba, he went 13-6 with a 2.83 ERA. He remained with Cordoba for three more seasons, going 11-9, 2.51 in 1976, 16-9, 2.43 in 1977 and 13-11, 2.52 in 1978. He joined the new Azules de Coatzacoalcos in 1979 and went 14-13 with a 1.97 ERA, with a career-high 10 shutouts. That is tied for the highest shutout total in Liga history, even with Gary Ryerson and Luis Mere. In 1980 he was 10-8, 1.86 before the strike, completing 12 of 21 starts at age 37 and then finished 5 of 8 outings after the strike ended, with a 5-3 record and 1.22 ERA. 1981 was perhaps Vicente's best year yet, as he went 16-6 with a 1.40 ERA. He finished 21 of 27 starts and captured the ERA title. In 1982 he went 7-0 with a 1.54 ERA and struck out 63 in 56 1/3 innings while walking just 12. That earned him a return trip to Major League Baseball seven years after his last appearance there. Romo went 1-2 with one save and a 3.03 ERA (114 ERA+) for the Los Angeles Dodgers but despite a very fine time with the club was returned to the Liga after the Dodger season ended.
Romo was 14-6 with a 2.48 ERA back with the Tigers in 1983 after a 16-year absence. At age 40, he tied for fourth in the Liga in wins and was among the ERA leaders. He slipped to 10-6, 3.45 in 1984 with the Mexico City Red Devils then returned to Cordoba in 1985 to go 4-2 with a 2.11 ERA. He split his final year between Cordoba and the Yucatan Lions in 1986 with a 4-2 record and 3.59 ERA in a year when that was perfectly respectable as offensive levels were amazingly high.
Vicente retired with a 182-106 record and 2.49 ERA in the Mexican League. Despite spending nine full seasons in the US, he ranked (as of 2000) in the top 10 all-time in the Mexican League in strikeouts (1,857, 5th-best), shutouts (52, tied for third) and complete games (179, 7th). His ERA is the best among pitchers with over 2,000 innings, a solid .17 ahead of #2 George Brunet. In winning percentage, his .632 is third-best among pitchers with over 2,000 innings, trailing only Rafael Garcia (.645) and Andres Ayon (.633). In addition to being the top pitchers in the history of Mexico's winter league, Romo has a reasonable case as the best pitcher in the Mexican League as well. He was voted into the Salon de la Fama in 1992.
Romo was a coach for the Olmecas de Tabasco in 2011.
Vicente is the brother of Enrique Romo. The two had identical MLB totals in saves (52) and losses (33). The two were in the majors simultaneously in 1982, which was their last year in the big leagues.
Principal sources: "The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics" by Pedro Treto Cisneros, Viva Beisbol newsletter by Bruce Baskin