Sánchez, José

A special edition Selección trading card for José Sánchez, which includes his position, handedness, height and weight (but not his birthdate or birthplace, as those are unknown), mentions that he was chosen with the 29th pick of the 12th round, and that his career ended with a 1.000 fielding percentage and zero strikeouts.

basics

• position: right fielder.
• batted / threw:
right / right. 
• height:
170 cm.
• weight: 88 kg.

• born: unknown date, circa 1831.
• hometown: unknown.

teams

Vaqueros de Bayamón1871.

highlights

See below.

 

career

As is the case with so many other players of this era, the story of José Sánchez begins with that most chaotic of the league’s early crucibles: La Selección.

The logo of the Vaqueros de Bayamón: a navy blue B bordered in black against a golden circle streaked with small black lines, bordered in navy.

January 3rd, 1871

In the twelfth round of La Selección, the Vaqueros, having apparently committed themselves to the gerontocratic strategy by drafting 36-, 37-, and 38-year-old pitchers, outdo themselves by choosing 39-year-old left fielder José Sánchez, tying the Brujos for the dubious honor of drafting the oldest player in the round.

Barring the discovery of long-lost scouting notes from the Selección games, it is impossible to know what led the Bayamón front office to draft Sánchez in the middle rounds.

Some educated guesses: as a left fielder, he was likely an average defender, but probably expected to render most of his value via his bat. Given that he went in the twelfth round at his rather seasoned age, he must have displayed enough power or consistent contact to be part of a starting lineup.

The fact that he was nearly forty years old implies that he was probably not much of a speed threat, which suggests he would have been used to drive or bunt in faster hitters ahead of him in the order.

One other problem with divining what vouchsafed Sánchez his relatively high selection is that there is absolutely no evidence of how he played during the season.

As it turns out, there is a very good reason for that.

The logo of the Vaqueros de Bayamón: a navy blue B bordered in black against a golden circle streaked with small black lines, bordered in navy.

January 3rd, 1871

Mere hours after being presented with a contrato completo by the Vaqueros, Sánchez quietly informs the assembled gaceteros and team personnel that he does not intend to play after the end of the 1871 season.

In doing so, he becomes the first player to retire from the Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña, and immediately establishes an all-but-unattainable record for shortest service time before announcing retirement.

Vaqueros management, caught completely off guard and supremely embarrassed by the episode, drop Sánchez to their reserve squad and, despite repeated injuries to their starters over the course of the season, refuse to play him for even a single game.

By the turn of the twentieth century, la salida de Sánchez (“the Sánchez exit”) is LNP slang for a ballplayer choosing to retire rather than play for a team they consider beneath them.

One note does survive regarding Sánchez’s performance in the Selección games, but it is not from anyone on the Vaqueros.

In what is an unbelievable stroke of luck, it comes from Rincón‘s first manager, Ángel Venegas’ journals, when he lucked into watching a game the day before Sánchez was selected.

The quote below is completely unaltered and, based on the above, absolutely correct.

Sánchez (José?). LF. Much admired by his teammates for his cojones.

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