Virgil recalls his beginnings

I was signed in the summer of 1952, but made my minor league debut the following year.

My rise was pretty fast because of the Giants’ branch system. At that time the levels that existed in the minor leagues were class D, C, B, A, AA and AAA. I started playing in class C and then I went to class D, AA and AAA, until after 3 years and 5 months after my debut as a professional, the Giants raised me to the Major Leagues to play the last games of the 1956 season. In my early years I was mainly a regular third baseman for the teams I played for, although I also played in other positions occasionally and learned to play catching. I worked very hard on the minority circuits and was able to progress every day, both offensively and defensively, posting better numbers each season. Something that helped me improve was my participation in the Puerto Rican winter league, where I went because we Dominicans couldn’t play in our country, since tournaments were held in the summer months.

In the first two seasons with Mayag├╝ez I was on the roster, but I hardly saw action because the Puerto Rican circuit was very strong, AAA level. But already in the 1954-55 campaign, I played every day and had a good performance. I have no doubt that my time in Puerto Rico was decisive in my development as a player. In the winter of 1955-56, when the winter baseball tournament began in the Dominican Republic, I played with the Leones del Escogido, but my work in that first foray into the Quisquey circuit was very brief. In the following season I can establish myself and play regularly with the scarlet team until I retired from Dominican baseball in the 1959-60 season to return to Puerto Rico. Regarding being signed and being able to play in the United States, I was happy to receive that opportunity and I was grateful. The beginnings are always difficult and those first few years in the minor leagues were. I remember the grueling bus trips, the intense cold of the first months of the season, and the racial discrimination we suffered because we were not white. (Taken from the book I, Virgil, My Story, which will be put into circulation next Tuesday in the auditorium of the Hall of Fame).

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