We close out the week on the Leading Off with True Blue LA podcast with another Dodgers rewind, looking back at Vicente Romo, who pitched for the Dodgers in two seasons, 14 years apart.
This week’s look back is thanks to Craig Minami, whose question on a recent The Lineup podcast included reference to Romo, suggesting he’d be a good rewind candidate. Craig was right!
The Dodgers took Romo in the Rule 5 Draft from Cleveland in December 1967, and he pitched one game for them in 1968 before getting sent back to the American League.
Romo earned the nickname “Huevo,” which I actually forgot to mention on the podcast itself, but his pitching career went well beyond the major leagues. Originally signed to the Mexican League by legendary Cuban scout Corito Varona, who later while with the Dodgers helped discover Fernando Valenzuela, Romo pitched seven years in his first stretch of major league time, playing for five teams.
He then spent seven more year, the bulk of his 30s in the Mexican League, where he pitched for parts of 16 years. His legend grew with that, plus his 24 seasons in the Mexican Winter League, where the annual award for best pitcher bears his name, per Romo’s SABR bio, written by Rory Costello.
Romo was the second Mexican-born player for the Dodgers, and first pitcher. He returned to them during the 1982 season and pitched pretty well at age 39, but his season ended early with a knee injury in July, ending the major league portion of his career.
Romo was inducted into the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.
Episode link (time: 19:30)