July 29, 2019

OTD July 29

In 127 innings for the ’88 Gastonia Rangers, Álvarez struck out 134 and only gave up 5 home runs.

OTD in 1989, the now recent HoF inductee Harold Baines was traded by the White Sox along with Fred Manrique to the Texas Rangers for Scott Fletcher, Sammy Sosa and Wilson Álvarez. Wilson Álvarez was a 19-year old pitcher for Texas at the time of his trade. In the two seasons prior to the trade, Álvarez spent parts of the ’87 and ’88 seasons pitching for the Gastonia Rangers of the SALLY League. In 1987, Álvarez pitched in 8 games for Gastonia, going 1-6. In 1988, Wilson would start 23 games for Gastonia going 4-11, but posting a 2.98 ERA. In 127 innings for the ’88 Gastonia Rangers, Álvarez struck out 134 and only gave up 5 home runs.

Álvarez made 1 start with Texas before his trade to Chicago, an uninspiring MLB debut. But Álvarez’s debut for the White Sox in 1991 was much different. Maybe dramatic is the best word to describe it. In his 2nd MLB start, Álvarez pitched a no-hitter for the Sox against the Baltimore Orioles on August 11, 1991. A native of Venezuela, Álvarez earned the nickname “El Intocable” (The Untouchable) from his native country’s fans for his rare pitching feat. At age 19 at the time of his no-hitter, El Intocable became the 4th youngest pitcher in MLB’s history to throw a no-no. There is an inspiring story behind this game involving Álvarez’s family and how the game, along with Wilson’s debut with Chicago, captivated the country of Venezuela. You can read about it here:https://sabr.org/gamesproj/game/august-11-1991-untouchable-wilson-alvarez-pitches-no-hitter-second-major-league-start

In 1993, he would go 15-8 for the Pale Sox, with a 2.95 ERA in 31 starts. The next year, Wilson would be selected to the 1994 MLB All-Star game and finish season going 12-8 in 24 starts. Álvarez would be traded to the Giants in 1997 and eventually also play for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers before retiring from baseball at age 35 in 2005. In his 14-year MLB career, Álvarez would win 102 games and post a 3.96 ERA. In 2010, Álvarez was inducted to the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame and in 2011, he was inducted into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame.

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