Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela brought a lot of hope and joy to the Mexican community in Los Angeles.
Before Dodger Stadium, it was a Mexican community neighborhood, and families lost their homes and dreams because a ballpark needed to be built. It was sad for me to watch these Mexican folks getting treated like animals in the 1950s and 60s. I saw this on the episode of 30 for 30: Fernando Nation.
When Valenzuela came onto the scene, everything changed. Mexicans started coming to the stadium to see him pitch. His impact on the Dodgers helped so many Mexican-Americans to chase their dreams.
Valenzuela gave you the impression of respect, humility, and confidence. When you hear him talk, he seems like a genuine human being.
Valenzuela won Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award in 1981. On top of that, the Dodgers beat the Yankees in 6 games to win the World Series. Valenzuela’s Game 3 performance was the turning point of the series. He made the All-Star time six times in his career. He probably would’ve had more success if he had not gotten injured.
One thing is for sure; there will NEVER be another Fernando Valenzuela. In my eyes, he’s a Hall of Famer.