Fernando Valenzuela Anguamea (Spanish pronunciation: [ferˈnando βalenˈswela]; born November 1, 1960) is a Mexican former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher. During a 17-year baseball career, he achieved his greatest success with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1980-1990, and went on to pitch for five more major league teams.
In 1981, the 20-year-old Valenzuela took Los Angeles (and Major League Baseball) by storm, winning his first 8 decisions and leading the Dodgers to the World Series. That year, Valenzuela became the only player in MLB history to win the Rookie of the Year award and the Cy Young Award in the same season; he was also awarded the Silver Slugger Award and the Dodgers won the World Series that year. With his youthful charm, devastating screwball, "Ruthian physique", and a connection with Los Angeles' large Latino community, Valenzuela touched off an early '80s craze dubbed "Fernandomania".
Valenzuela was a Dodgers mainstay throughout the 1980s, winning 21 games in 1986 and pitching a no-hitter in 1990, though he was injured during the 1988 championship run. However, he faltered because of injuries in the 1990s, pitching ineffectively for several teams. After one last effective season with the San Diego Padres in 1996 and a short stint with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1997, he retired from MLB.
Since 2003, Valenzuela has worked as a Spanish-language color commentator for the Dodgers.
By Dean Hanley
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