The Valuable Latino Contribution to the Phillies' Victory
The Dominican Feliz, the Puerto Rican Romero and the Panamanian Ruiz shined under their own light.
The Latino contribution to the Phillies in the World Series was essential.
The only pitcher to score two victories in the Series this year was the Puerto Rican Pitcher, JC Romero. The native of Río Piedras won the third and fifth games of the Series. Though he was only a relief pitcher and pitched for 4.2 innings, while pitching in four out of five of the games of the Series he did not allow a single walk and struck out four opponents. Romero finished the postseason with a perfect effectiveness of 0.00 in 7.1 innings that he pitched.
His two victories set a new record in the history of Puerto Rican baseball. Romero became the first Puerto Rican to win two games of the Fall-Classic.
The last Puerto Rican to win a World Series game was John Candelaria of the Pirates, when he beat the Orioles in the third game of the 1979 Series. The first native of the Island of Enchantment to win a World Series game was Rubén “El Divino Loco” Gómez, when he defeated the Yankees during the third game of the Series in 1954.
Another Puerto Rican that won a game in the World Series was Luis Arroyo, who won the third game of the 1961 Series for the Yankees when they defeated the Reds.
“I am very happy to contribute my grain of sand and represent the island of Puerto Rico as I did in Philadelphia”, said Romero, after the fifth game of the Series. “These are opportunities granted by life and I humbly receive them. But the important thing is that we won the Series”.
Pedro Feliz did his part serving as a stronghold to resist the five left-handed Tampa Bay pitchers that the Phillies faced. Faliz, the Dominican third baseman for the team batted .333 during the Series (18-6) with to runs batted in.
The most vital hit of the Series was made by Feliz, when with one man on third and one out, he hit a single that gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the final game. “I saw the runner on third and all I could think about was bringing the batter home”, said Feliz after the game.
“This is something for always”, declared the native of Azua.
Carlos Ruiz’s strength awoke during the Series. He batted .375 (16-6) with one homerun and driving in three runs. His bat became red hot during the third game, when he promoted the first and last strikeout of the game, which the Phillies won 5-4. Ruiz hit a homerun in such game and became the third Panamanian ballplayer in history to hit a homerun in the World Series. The other two were Héctor López (Yankees- 1961) and Ben Oglivie (Cerveceros - 1982).
Ruiz’s batting average during the postseason (.216) was much better during the regular season (.261) and his performance as a cátcher was so spectacular that rumors regarding the Phillies using him only as a replacement cátcher next year have no basis whatsoever.
Ruiz was the cornerstone of the Philadelphia’s pitching squad. Under the guidance of the Panamanian catcher, the Phillies finished the Series with an effectiveness rate of 2.86. “It all begins with Ruiz”, said Joe Blanton, the Phillies pitcher that won the fourth game of the Series. “Ruis has done a tremendous job as a catcher. He is well focused, provides a good rhythm, gives me his signs and lets me work. I don’t have to think about anything. I’m like a machine. All I have to do is throw what he asks for.”
Greg Dobbs, the only ballplayer of Peruvian descent ever to play in the Major Leagues, didn’t have much of a chance to play during the Series. During the second game against Tampa Bay, he served as a designated batter for the Phillies since in the games of the Series held in the home state of the team of the American League such position is used in the batting order. Dobbs was 3-1 in that game and then as an emergent got a free ticket during the third encounter. His small participation in the Serires does not mean that his contribution to the team was not valued. Without Dobbs, Philadelphia wouldn’t have made it to the postseason. His 22 unstoppable hits as an emergent during the season led the Major Leagues and set a new record in the history of the franchise.
All Philadelphia must celebrate the victory of the Phillies, but in the Latino community we must especially acknowledge our countrymen. They, like us, provide vitality to the region of Philadelphia though we do not always receive the recognition we deserve.