When Hall of Famers say things about a player like “Dihigo was the only guy I ever saw who could play all nine positions, manage, run and switch-hit,” and “Dihigo was the greatest all-around player I know. I say he was the best player of all time, black or white. He could do it all,” the baseball word steps up and takes notice. Martín Dihigo is the only player elected to the Cuban, Mexican, and United States Baseball Halls of Fame and is also in the Dominican Republic and Venezuelan Halls of Fame. Arguably the greatest Cuban ballplayer of all time Dihigo had speed, size, and a strong throwing arm which made him one of the most versatile players in baseball history. During his 30-year career, Dihigo played every position on the field; sometimes more than one in the same game. His versatility truly came through in the 1938 Mexican League where his .387 average won the batting title and he was 18-2 with an 0.90 earned run average on the season. Dihigo finished his career winning three Negro League home run crowns and tied Josh Gibson for another; as a pitcher, he racked up more than 200 wins in American and Mexican ball. While modern superstars are given the ‘five-tool’ moniker, Dihigo, like Babe Ruth, had a sixth tool as he could pitch as well as any one of his fellow competitors.
March 1, 2015