A ranking of 10 of the best Mexican baseball players in history of the game

A ranking of 10 of the best Mexican baseball players in history of the game

Kenneth Mwenda
November 20, 2023 at 2:24 PM

The world of Major League Baseball (MLB) has been graced by some of the best Mexican baseball players, each bringing their unique flair and skill to the game. These players have not only showcased exceptional talent but have also become influential figures in the sport's history.

Best Mexican baseball players of all time
From left: Aurelio during a Major League Baseball game circa 1980. Jorge Orta in Chicago in 1984. Loaiza at Dodger Stadium in 2007. Photos: Focus on Sport / Vesely / Blumenfeld (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

The presence of Mexican players in the MLB is undeniable for those asking whether there are any Mexican MLB players. From pitchers with incredible win records and strikeouts to batters known for their powerful hits and defensive prowess, these athletes have significantly contributed to their teams and the sport at large.

Top 10 best Mexican baseball players of all-time

These players' journeys from local fields in Mexico to the grand stages of MLB are stories of determination, skill, and passion. This article ranks ten of the best Mexican baseball players in history, celebrating their significant contributions and extraordinary skills. Each player's unique story and achievements are highlighted, offering insight into their sports journey.

10. Yovani Gallardo

Best Mexican baseball players
Starter Yovani Gallardo of the Texas Rangers delivers a pitch during a game against Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2018, in Seattle, Washington. Photo: Stephen Brashear
Source: Getty Images

Yovani Gallardo, renowned for his time with the Milwaukee Brewers, has etched his name among the best Mexican baseball players. With 1,584 strikeouts, he stands second among Mexican-born pitchers in this category.

Apart from the Milwaukee Brewers, he competed for the Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and Cincinnati Reds, all in the MLB. In 2010, Gallardo earned accolades as an All-Star and received the Silver Slugger Award designated for pitchers.

9. Esteban Loaiza

Best Mexican baseball players, current
Esteban Loaiza of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on September 16, 2007, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld
Source: Getty Images

Esteban Loaiza, the second winning-est pitcher from Mexico, demonstrated remarkable prowess on the mound. He participated in Major League Baseball with several teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2003, Loaiza was the American League's (AL) starting pitcher in the All-Star Game and topped the AL in strikeouts that same year. A two-time All-Star, he narrowly missed the Cy Young award in 2003, highlighting a season of exceptional achievement with the White Sox.

8. Aurelio Rodríguez

Best Mexican baseball players right now
Aurelio Rodriguez of the New York Yankees runs the bases against the Baltimore Orioles during a Major League Baseball game circa 1980 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Sometimes referred to as "Chi Chi," he was a Mexican professional baseball player who primarily played Major League Baseball with the Detroit Tigers. Celebrated for his strong throwing arm, he was among the elite defensive third basemen of his era. His career range factor of 3.215 per nine innings at third base is the second-highest in major league history.

Earning a Gold Glove during his 17-year career, Rodríguez's ability to dominate the field defensively made him one of the best Mexican-born baseball players, particularly known for his skills at third base. Additionally, at the time of his retirement, his 4,150 assists at third base were the fifth-most in major league history.

7. Jorge Orta

Best Mexican baseball players as of 2023
Jorge Orta of the Kansas City Royals poses before an MLB game at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, in 1984. Photo: Ron Vesely
Source: Getty Images

Jorge Orta, a two-time All-Star with notable base-stealing abilities, holds the major league record for stolen bases in a season among Mexican players as of November 2023. His career included a World Series championship with the Kansas City Royals in 1985, marking him as one of the most famous Mexican baseball players.

In a Major League Baseball MLB career spanning from 1972 to 1987, he played fifteen seasons for teams including the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Kansas City Royals. He is most notably remembered for his involvement in one of the most debated plays in the history of the World Series.

6. Bobby Avila

"Beto" or "Bobby" Avila, a three-time All-Star and American League batting champion, is a legendary figure in the annals of Mexican baseball. His tenure with the Cleveland Indians highlighted his prowess as a second baseman, making him one of the best Mexican baseball players of all time.

He spent ten seasons in Major League Baseball with the Cleveland Indians from 1949 to 1958, and then in 1959, he split his time among the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and Milwaukee Braves.

In 1954, Ávila clinched the American League batting title with a .341 average. That same year, he was honoured with The Sporting News American League Player of the Year award and was selected for the American League All-Star team in 1952, 1954, and 1955.

5. Joakim Soria

Best Mexican born baseball players
Joakim Soria of the Oakland Athletics plays against the Seattle Mariners during their game at T-Mobile Park on August 01, 2020, in Seattle, Washington. Photo: Abbie Parr
Source: Getty Images

Joakim Soria, known as "The Monclova Whip," stands out as one of the best current Mexican baseball players, especially in relief pitching. With an impressive 229 career saves, Soria has been a dominant closer, earning him a spot among the top Mexican baseball players.

From 2007 to 2021, he was a player in Major League Baseball (MLB). He represented teams such as the Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Toronto Blue Jays.

4. Vinny Castilla

Famous Mexican baseball players
Colorado Rockies coach Vinny Castilla during workouts on day 10 of spring training on March 2, 2015 in Scottsdale. Photo: John Leyba
Source: Getty Images

Vinny is a former Mexican Major League Baseball third baseman renowned for his prime years with the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves. His career included stints with the Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, and San Diego Padres.

A two-time All-Star and power hitter, Vinny Castilla was the first Mexican player to reach over 1,000 RBIs and 300 home runs. His record-breaking 46 home runs in 1998 are the most by a Mexican-born player, earning him a place among the best Mexican-born baseball players.

3. Teodoro Higuera

Are there any Mexican MLB players?
Coach Ted Higuera of Mexico poses for a portrait during a photo day for the World Baseball Classic on March 5, 2006, in Tucson, Arizona. Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld
Source: Getty Images

Teodoro Higuera Valenzuela, a renowned Mexican former professional baseball pitcher, played for the Milwaukee Brewers in Major League Baseball (MLB). His 1986 season was a highlight, marking the first 20-win season by a Mexican-born pitcher in the American League, and included an appearance in the All-Star Game.

Higuera's promising career was affected by injuries, including a significant rotator cuff tear. Post-retirement, he served as a pitching coach for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic and was inducted into the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. His performance places him high among the greatest Mexican baseball players.

2. Adrián González

Most famous Mexican baseball players
Legend Adrián González of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the FTX MLB Home Run Derby X at Crystal Palace Park on Saturday, July 9, 2022, in London, England. Photo: Chris Trotman
Source: Getty Images

González, born in the United States, grew up in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, before moving back to the United States in 1990. He represented Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2017, as well as in the 2020 Olympic Games.

Adrián "El Titán" González is celebrated for his batting and defensive skills. Accumulating 317 home runs and a 129 OPS+, his accolades include five All-Star selections, four Gold Gloves, and two Silver Sluggers.

González's versatility and impact make him one of the best Mexican baseball players of all time. His Major League Baseball (MLB) career included stints with the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Mets.

1. Fernando Valenzuela

Greatest Mexican baseball players
Fernando Valenzuela during the 92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Dodger Stadium on July 19, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Ronald Martinez
Source: Getty Images

At the pinnacle of Mexican baseball players stands Fernando Valenzuela, a symbol of excellence in the game. "El Toro" sparked "Fernandomania" with his debut in 1981, winning both the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards.

Being among the most famous Mexican baseball players, Valenzuela's Major League Baseball (MLB) career spanned 17 seasons between 1980-1991 and 1993-1997. He spent the majority of his MLB career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, among six teams he played for.

A left-handed batter and pitcher, Valenzuela's career was marked by a 173–153 win-loss record and a 3.54 earned run average (ERA). Right now, his career achievements, including 173 wins and 2,074 strikeouts, solidify his status as the greatest Mexican baseball player in history.

Final word

The best Mexican baseball players represent the pinnacle of talent in baseball, each bringing their unique skills and stories to the sport, leaving a lasting legacy in Major League Baseball. Their achievements not only highlight their individual capabilities but also underscore the rich contribution of Mexican players to the current global baseball landscape.

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Kenneth Mwenda
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