Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tony Chevez & Nicaraguan Orioles

Last Friday, I mentioned that I found an ebay seller with some tough-to-find Orioles autographs. Well here's another one of them, Mr. Tony Chevez.

Tony's autograph is very hard to track down, and I've never actually seen another example of it to compare this one to, but everything else I got from this seller checked out so I have no reason to believe that Chevez isn't legit as well. Tony pitched in only four games for the 1977 Orioles and seems to have fairly well disappeared, possibly back to Nicaragua, after his professional baseball career ended following the 1979 season.

The only lead I've ever been able to track down for him is that current Padres SS Jason Bartlett is his son-in-law. I'm such an Orioles autograph freak that I considered trying to talk to Bartlett during his time with the Rays about Chevez's whereabouts. I never did, and doubt I would've gotten anywhere with that anyway. Can you imagine someone walking up to you at your job asking you where your father-in-law lives? It comes off a little strange. Even I will admit that.
Tony was the second baseball player from Nicaragua to make it to the Majors after "El Presidente" Dennis Martinez.

Martinez is still the most famous player to make it to the Majors from his home country with only Vicente Padilla giving him any sort of competition. Porfi Altamirano and Devern Hansack aren't gonna give him a run for the money on this one.

El Presidente pitched for the O's for the first 11 years of his 23 seasons in the big leagues. He was a four time All-Star (none of those appearances were during his time with the O's), pitched a perfect game for the Expos in 1991 and led the American League with 14 wins in 1981 and the N.L. with a 2.39 ERA in 1991. His 245 career victories are the most of any Latin American pitcher. So he found just a little more Major League success than his fellow countryman Chevez, but Chevez leads the way in the hard to find autograph category.

Martinez has been a pitching coach in the Cardinals organization for the past few years and has signed TTM requests from time to time but my two attempts (in May & August 2009) have not made it back to me yet, and I'm not hopeful at this point. I picked up this signed card in a trade and I think that he signs one of the coolest and most unique M's that I've ever seen.


Anonymous said...

Tony lives in the Rochester area (he liked it there after playing with the Red Wings). He visits Nicaragua to do good works in his hometown. He and his wife are extremely nice people.

Orioles Magic said...

That's interesting to hear, didn't know that he was living stateside. I know that some fellow Orioles collectors could use his autograph. I wonder if he would do a signing?