Feb 2, 2016

A Mets Second Baseman For One Game: Luis Alvarado (1977)

Luis Cesar Alvarado (Martinez) was born on January 15th, 1949 in Lajas, Puerto Rico. The five foot nine, right hand hitting infielder was nicknamed "Pimba", getting signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1967.

The following year he made it to the big leagues, as a September call up, getting an RBI base hit off Dean Chance in his first career at bat. He spent most of the next two seasons with the AAA Louisville Colonels, leading the International League in hits (166) & runs scored (89) in 1969, winning the league's MVP Award. He was known as a solid middle infielder with a good glove & a fine arm, but played mostly a backup role throughout his career.

After three seasons with the Boston Red Sox he was traded to the Chicago White Sox along with Mike Andrews, in exchange for veteran Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio. Over the next three seasons Alvarado would share time at shortstop with Rich Morales, seeing career highs in games played (103) HRs (4) & RBIs (29) in 1972. That year he was a team mate of A.L. MVP; Dick Allen, as the White Sox finished 87-67 second to the World Champion Oakland A's.

Trivia: That year his Topps baseball card, showed him taking a throw to turn a double play in what looks like a Spring Training game. The background shows cars in a parking lot behind a chain link fence, with some high patches of grass beyond the rocky dirt infield.

The following season he hit a career best .232 in just 80 games played as the White Sox success didn't last as they finished fifth. Over the next few seasons he was traded quite often; first to the St. Louis Cardinals (1974) then the Cleveland Indians (1975) then to the Detroit Tigers (1976). During Spring Training 1977 his contact was purchased by the New York Mets.

Alvarado would only appear in one game for the New York Mets, a 7-3 loss at Shea Stadium to the St. Louis Cardinals on April 13th, 1977. It was the fifth game of the season, as Alvarado went 0-2 while playing second base. By the end of April he was returned back to the Tigers following the previous purchase of his contract.

He played in two games with Detroit before ending his playing career. In a nine year career he played in 463 games; 241 at short, 141 at second base & 44 at third base. He posted a .957 overall fielding % & batted .214.

Passing: Alvarado passed away in his hometown in March 2001 at the age of 52.

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