Friday, October 23, 2009

#10 Julio Becquer

1961 Topps
Julio (Villegas) Becquer
Bats: Left , Throws: Left
Weight: 178 lb.
Born: December 20, 1931 in Havana, Cuba

Drafted 25th by the Los Angeles Angels from the Minnesota Twins in the 1960 expansion draft.

Defensive replacement at first base for Ted Kluszewski at Baltimore April 11, 1961. Recorded 2 put-outs at first base.
Later purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Los Angeles Angels on May 10, 1961.

Batted .111 with 1 walk in 8 at bats.

Julio answered a question about his fondest memories.

Before the 1952 season Julio Becquer was signed by the Washington Senators as an amateur free agent. He began his professional career with the class C Provincial League Drummondville Cubs, playing in 125 games and hitting at a .292 pace.
For most of his career Becquer was to be a part time first baseman for the Senators, one of a host of Cuban black players recruited by Senators scout Joe Cambria. The oldest of eight children, Julio played baseball in his spare time while attending the University of Havana and working as a bookkeeper.
Julio got to go home to Havana for the 1953 season and he hit .296 with 11 triples. In 1954 the Senators invited seven black Cubans, Becquer among them, to the team's minor league spring training facility in Winter Garden, FL. Carlos Paula became the first to break the color line with the Senators that year, but Becquer continued to hit near .300 in the minors and earned his first taste of the major league life at the end of the 1955 season.
Julio spent the 1956 season with the AAA American Association Louisville Colonels and was back with the Washington Senators for the 1957 year. He had 18 pinch hits this season, the eighth highest total ever and had 23 more over the next two seasons on his way to a career total 63 pinch hits. Becquer led the American League in this category in 1957 and 1959. But it was on July 4, 1961 that Julio got the ultimate pinch hit, a grand slam.
Julio, a left-handed pull hitter with a fine glove and a .993 lifetime fielding percentage, believed he could have been a much better hitter had he played reguarly, but he was just happy to play, and in a 1958 interview he offered thoughts that are almost inconceivable today: "Money is secondary with me," he said. "I love the game and I believe this is true of most major league players. In fact, many would play for nothing because they love the game so much."

Probably the worst cut I've ever done!

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