In recent decades, it has been common for Dominican baseball players in the Major Leagues to finish each season as leaders in important offensive, defensive and pitching categories, and win prizes reserved for the most outstanding players in each circuit. Today I am going to take a look at those Creole baseball players who were pioneers in the conquest of relevant leadership and recipients of the main annual awards. I’ll start with the main prizes:

Most valuable Player: George Bell – 1987 (Blue Jays – LA); Cy Young: Pedro Martinez – 1997 (Expos – NL); Rookie of the Year: Alfredo Griffin – 1979 (Blue Jays – LA) and Manager of the Year: Felipe Alou – 1994 (Expos – LN).

The first Dominican players to be leaders in the most relevant categories were:

OFFENSIVE: Batting Championship: Mateo Alou – 1966, .342 AVE. (Pirates – NL); Home runs, Sammy Sosa – 1998, 50 HR (Cubs – NL); RBIs: George Bell – 1987, 134 EC (Blue Jays – LA); Runs Scored: Felipe Rojas Alou – 1966. 122 AC (Giants – NL); Hits: Felipe Rojas Alou – 1966, 218 H (Giants – NL); Doubles: Mateo Rojas Alou – 1969, 41 (Pirates – NL); Triples: Juan Samuel – 1984, 19 H3 (Phillies – NL); Walks Received: David Ortiz – 2006, 111 BBs (Red Sox – LA; On-Base Percentage: Rico Carty – 1970. .454 OBP (Braves – NL); Slugging Percentage: Pedro Guerrero – 1985, .577 SLG (Dodgers – NL); OBP + SLG): Pedro Guerrero – 1985, .999 OPS (Dodgers – NL) and Total Bases Reached: Felipe Alou – 1966, 355 TB (Giants – NL).

PITCHING: Games won: Juan Marichal – 1963, 25 JG (Giants – NL); Effectiveness: Juan Marichal – 1969, 2.10 EFE. (Giants – NL); Strikeouts: José De León – 1989, 201 SO (Cardinals – NL); Complete Games: Juan Marichal – 1963, 22 JC (Giants – NL); Shutouts: Juan Marichal – 1969, 10 SHO (Giants – NL) and Games Saved: José Mesa – 1995, 46 JS (Indians – LA).

DEFENDING (first Gold Glove winners by position): Outfielder: César Cedeño – 1972 (Astros – NL); Catcher: Tony Peña – 1983 (Indians – LA) Shortstop: Tony Fernández – 1986 (Blue Jays – LA); Second baseman: Luis Castillo – 2003 (Marlins – NL); First baseman: Albert Pujols – 2006 (Cardinals – NL); Third baseman: Adrian Beltré – 2007 (Mariners – LA). Placido Polanco is the only Dominican player to win a Gold Glove at different positions. Polanco won the award as a second baseman with the Detroit Tigers in the 2007 and 2009 seasons, then in 2011 he won the award as a third baseman with the Philadelphia Phillies.

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