Monday, May 08, 2006

Luis Alcaraz

Although Angel Luis Alcaraz [Acosta] had excellent bloodlines, he just didn't have the requisite skills to make it in the major leagues.

Alcaraz is a distant cousin of Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, a power-hitting first baseman-outfielder who batted .297 and slugged 379 home runs during his 17-year major league career.

Like his famous cousin, Alcaraz was born in the beautiful little Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, but that's where the similarities end.

Alcaraz signed with the Milwaukee Braves in 1959 and was sold to the Los Angeles Dodgers the following season. He made his major league debut with the Dodgers on September 13, 1967, after playing in such places as McCook, Orlando, Artesia, Keokuk, Santa Barbara, and Albuquerque.

In the minor leagues, the 5-9, 165 pound infielder displayed plenty of power, averaging nearly 20 home runs per year from 1960 to 1967. He had his best season as a professional ballplayer with the Double A Albuquerque Dukes in 1967, leading the Texas League in batting with a .328 average, while belting a career-high 23 home runs and knocking in 85 runs.

However, in two brief stints with Los Angeles, Alcaraz struggled at the plate, hitting .181 with two homers and eight RBI in 58 games.

Nevertheless, Alcaraz remained confident that he could hit big league pitching. “I batted against Juan Marichal, Juan Pizzaro, Bob Gibson, Sam McDowell, Al McBean, Joe Sparma, Denny McLain and pitchers like that [in the Puerto Rican Winter League], so I know I can hit,” Alcaraz insisted at the time.

The Dodgers were not convinced. They peddled Alcaraz to the Kansas City Royals for a bucket of baseballs and a fungo bat on October 21, 1968. (Actually, the Dodgers received cash in return, but who is to say that they didn't purchase a bucket of balls and a bat with the money they received?)

Shortly after the trade, Lou Gorman, the Royals' director of player development, said: “I think the Dodgers became discouraged with Alcaraz when he didn’t hit.”

Ya think?

Gorman also provided the following assessment of Alcaraz' abilities: “His speed and his arm are okay, but if he doesn’t hit, his other abilities probably won’t impress you too much. We feel he is a much better hitter than he looked with the Dodgers.”

He wasn't.

Alcaraz failed to hit in Kansas City as well, batting a combined .201 with two homers and 21 RBI in 57 games during parts of two seasons.

He was traded to the Chicago White Sox prior to the start of the 1971 campaign, but would never return to play in the big leagues again.

[1] -----. "Little Alcaraz Shows Sock." The Sporting News, May 14, 1966, 39.
[2] Hunter, Bob. "Newcomers Adding Dash and Fire to Dodgers." The Sporting News, April 20, 1968, 23.
[3] McGuff, Joe. "Luis Alcaraz: Big Name in Royals Future." The Sporting News, November 30, 1968, 51.
[4] Roth, Alan, "Who's Who in Baseball: 1970." New York, 1970, 3.


At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This man is my father so watch what you say


Post a Comment

<< Home