A mercury from Mexico
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA *
SEPTEMBER 6, 1981 – On this date in baseball history Los Angeles Dodgers rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuela threw his seventh shutout, a record for a rookie.
Fernando was something special. Four of his first five major league starts were shutouts.
Bob Gibson never did that. Cy Young never did that. Valenzuela won his first eight decisions – all complete games. His ERA for his first nine starts was under 1.00. He seemed to have come out of nowhere – Fernando was born in
Mexico – but he showed promise as a September call up the previous year at the age of 19. He pitched 17.2 innings without giving up an earned run.
Valenzuela didn’t keep up the torrid pace of his rookie year, but he had a good career; 18 years, a 173-153 won/loss record and a lifetime ERA of 3.54.