Tony Pérez

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Tony Pérez
Tony Perez Reds.jpg
First baseman / Third baseman / Manager
Born: (1942-05-14) May 14, 1942 (age 79)
Ciego de Ávila, Cuba
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 26, 1964, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
October 5, 1986, for the Cincinnati RedsLWin %WLWin %
Cincinnati Reds 199319932024.455
Florida Marlins 200120015460.474
Total7484.46800
Reference: [36]

Personal life

Perez at the 2008 All-Star Game Red Carpet Parade Tony Perez All Star Parade 2008.jpg
Pérez at the 2008 All-Star Game Red Carpet Parade

While playing winter ball in Puerto Rico in 1964, Pérez met Juana ("Pituka") de la Cantera, daughter of Pablo de la Cantera and Edilia Cortina. [37] Also of Cuban descent, she grew up in Puerto Rico. Four months after meeting the couple was married in early 1965. [38] They both became American citizens on October 18, 1971, in Cincinnati, [39] and have two sons, both born there – Victor Pérez (May 11, 1966) and Eduardo Pérez (September 11, 1969).

Victor played one year (1990) in the Reds' minor league system. [40] He attended and graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Finance and Computer Science. He later moved to New York City, where he worked in real estate and in telecommunications. He also attended acting school there and became a professional actor, first in New York City, and then for several years in London. [38] [41]

Eduardo was an All-American third baseman at Florida State University and played in the College World Series. He was drafted in the first round (17th overall pick) by the California Angels. He played Major League Baseball for 13 seasons. After retiring as a player, he served as an ESPN commentator for five years. In 2009, he managed Leones de Ponce to the Puerto Rican League championship, and in 2011 and 2012 he was hitting coach for the Miami Marlins. He was bench coach of the Houston Astros for the 2013 season. In 2016, Eduardo joined SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio hosting The Leadoff Spot with Steve Phillips. He is married to Mirba (Rivera) and they have two daughters, Andreanna and Juliana. [42]

In November 1972, Pérez was granted a 20-day visa to return to Cuba for the first time since a 1963 trip; however, the visa did not permit his wife and children to go, according to "Latino Baseball Legends: An Encyclopedia" by Lew Freedman. He took 17 suitcases of gifts, clothes, and medical supplies and reunited with his family in Central Violeta, Cuba—a 400-mile train ride from Havana. [7]

Tony's father, Jose Manuel – with whom Tony worked alongside as a teenager at the Camagüey sugar factory, hauling and stamping the company's name on the bags – died in 1979 at age 84 (some sources list his year of death as 1977). Tony has stated that, during his playing career, his family in Cuba would listen to the Voice of America, which would give daily updates on Cuban players playing in the majors. [7] [38] [43]

Tony's mother, Teodora ("Tita"), was 88 when Tony called her with the news in 2000 that he had been elected to the Hall of Fame. [27] Tony was able to make a return visit to Cuba in 2002, only this time with his sons. Teodora died in 2008. Tony's oldest sister died in 1997. In 2000, for a luncheon honoring Tony, the Marlins arranged to surprise him by helping his two living sisters, Argelia and Gloria, secure visas and come to Miami from their homes in Central Violeta, Camagüey, Cuba. [44] [45] [46] [47]

Pérez has cited Cuban-born Minnie Miñoso as his boyhood idol. [48] Pérez has been an advocate for many years in articles, speeches, and discussions to get Minoso elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. [49]

A 326-page biography, Tony Pérez: From Cuba to Cooperstown, written by John Erardi, was published on April 2, 2018. [50]

See also

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