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Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Sandy Valdespino, Member of the 1965 World Series Twins, Passes Away at 84

The baseball world lost another brother in their fraternity last Sunday. Sandy Valdespino, one of Sam Mele’s bench weapons on the 1965 World Series team, passed away in Moultrie, Georgia, at the age of 84.

Signed by the legendary scout, Joe Cambria, Valdespino made his American baseball debut in 1957, crushing a homer in the Texas League that earned him notice in The Sporting News (Cohen). Valdespino—who was originally named “Hilario,” only taking on the name “Sandy” because minor-league manager Johnny Welaj thought he looked like Dodgers player Sandy Amoros—bounced across the minors, playing around the U.S. as he fought for promotions.

Jim Kaat recalled rooming with Valdespino in Missoula, Montana in 1958: “We rented a room in a house … I think it was 16 bucks a week,’’ Kaat said. “I was 6-foot-5 and white as snow, and Sandy was 5-foot-6 and a black guy in Montana 65 years ago. We made quite the pair strolling down the streets of Missoula.” (Reusse, Miller)

As a Cuban player during the Castro revolution, Valdespino navigated choppy political waters, leaving his home country to focus solely on baseball following 1961.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 08, 2023 at 12:40 PM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: obituaries

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   1. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 08, 2023 at 03:32 PM (#6119962)
On a personal level, he's notable to me because he spent the final month of the 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots after a trade from Houston. He only had 8 hits with the Pilots, but I saw two of them - he played left field in both ends of a double-header against the Twins on September 28, which I saw with my Dad at Sicks' Stadium. Sandy had a single in each game. So, goodbye Sandy, and thanks!
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: March 08, 2023 at 04:00 PM (#6119965)
in his 1968 Topps card - first year I collected - he's featured as a Brave but with no cap or uniform.
no smile, and it looks like he's wearing a white undershirt.

I couldn't believe this possibly could be a real major league player.

oddly enough, he led the league in batting for Atlanta in 1964.
problem was, the Braves still were in Milwaukee at the time. it was a AAA title.

and his career OPS+ of 65 was boosted by a 140 mark - in his final MLB season at age 32.
he was a Royals September callup, and had 15 RBI in his 18 games while hitting 2 of his 7 career HR.
started out 15-for-33, but then slipped to a 5-for-30 finish - so I guess the Royals' interest fizzled, as he was back in AA for the following year.

RIP, Sandy.

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