Martín Dihigo

Martín Magdaleno Dihigo Llanos (May 25, 1906[1] – May 20, 1971) was a Cuban player in baseball's Negro leagues and Latin American leagues who excelled at several positions, primarily as a pitcher and second baseman. He was born in the sugarmill (town of Cidra) Jesús María in Matanzas Province, Cuba.

Martín Dihigo
Pitcher/Second baseman
Born: (1906-05-25)May 25, 1906[1]
Matanzas, Cuba
Died: May 20, 1971(1971-05-20) (aged 64)
Cienfuegos, Cuba
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Cuban League debut
1922, Habana
Last Mexican League appearance
1950, Águila de Veracruz
Negro leagues statistics
Win–loss record22-19
Batting average.307
Slugging percentage.511
Negro leagues
Cuban League
Mexican League
Venezuelan League
Career highlights and awards

Cuban League records

Mexican League records

  • .676 career winning percentage ( > 1,000 innings)
Member of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame
Election MethodNegro League Committee

Early career

Dihigo began his professional career in the winter of 1922/23 at the age of 16 as a substitute infielder for Habana in the Cuban League. His first summer in United States baseball came in 1923 as a first baseman for the Negro leagues' Cuban Stars (East). He played in the Negro leagues from 1923 through 1936 and again briefly in 1945. Over the course of his career, he played all nine positions. As a hitter, he led the Negro leagues in home runs in 1926 and 1935. As a pitcher, he once defeated Satchel Paige when the latter was touring Cuba.

Negro leagues

Dihigo's career record in twelve seasons in the Negro leagues was a .307 average and .511 slugging percentage, with 431 hits, 64 home runs, 61 doubles, 17 triples, 227 RBIs, and 292 runs scored in 1404 at bats. He drew 143 walks and stole 41 bases. As a pitcher, he went 26–19 with a 2.92 ERA, with 176 strikeouts and 80 walks in 354 innings.[2]

Mexican and Cuban leagues

Although a two-time All-Star in the American Negro leagues, Dihigo's greatest season came in the Mexican League in 1938, with Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz where he went 18-2 with a 0.90 ERA as a pitcher, while winning the batting title with a .387 average. In another season in the Mexican League, he had a 0.15 ERA. In his Mexican career, he was 119-57 with a .317 batting average. In the Cuban League, he was 107-56 with a .298 average. Dihigo continued his playing career in Mexico into the early 1950s. He was Cuba's Minister of Sport from 1959 until his death, where he was called "The Immortal". In other Latin American countries, he was called "El Maestro", translated as "The Master".

Career stats

Combining his Dominican, American, Cuban and Mexican statistics results in a lifetime .302 career batting average with 130 home runs (eleven seasons worth of home run totals are missing) and a 252-132 pitching record.

Post career

After retiring, Dihigo became a radio announcer for the Cuban Winter League. He fled Cuba in 1952 to protest the rise of Fulgencio Batista. He managed the Leones del Caracas in the 1953 Caribbean Series but finished last. Dihigo returned to Cuba when Castro took power, and was appointed the minister of sports. He taught programs for amateur baseball players that the new government opened [3]

Death and Hall of Fame Inductions

He died five days before his 65th birthday in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Known as a humorous, good-natured man as well as a versatile player, Dihigo was elected to the American Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. Dihigo was also inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.[4][5]

Along with Willie Wells, Dihigo is just one of two players to be inducted to the American, Cuban, Mexican, Dominican Republic and Venezuelan Baseball Halls of Fame.

Martín Dihigo's stature as a ballplayer is reflected in this conversation between former Dodgers general manager Al Campanis and broadcaster Jaime Jarrín:

"Al said, 'Jaime, the best player that I have ever seen in my life is Martin Dihigo, but he never came to the Major Leagues,'" Jarrin said. "'After Dihigo, I would put Roberto Clemente above Willie Mays. Those are the two best players I have ever seen in my entire life.'"[6]

Martín Dihigo is buried in Cementerio Municipal Cruces in Cruces, Cienfuegos, Cuba.[7]


  1. Sources disagree on Dihigo's birthdate. Hogan, p. 386, shows his birthdate as May 25, 1906, while Riley, p. 233, and show May 25, 1905.
  2. Hogan, pp. 386–87, 404–05.
  3. "Martin Dihigo". Baseball-Reference Bullpen. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  4. "Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum". Archived from the original on 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  5. Early Latino Ballplayers in the United States: Major, Minor and Negro Leagues By Nick C. Wilson
  6. Jesse Sánchez. "Clemente headlines All-Time Latino Team". Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  7. Martín Dihigo at Find a Grave


  • Clark, Dick; Lester, Larry (1994), The Negro Leagues Book, Cleveland, Ohio: Society for American Baseball Research
  • Figueredo, Jorge S. (2003), Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878–1961, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, ISBN 0-7864-1250-X
  • González Echevarría, Roberto (1999), The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-514605-0
  • Hogan, Lawrence D. (2006), Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball, Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, ISBN 0-7922-5306-X
  • Riley, James A. (1994), The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf, ISBN 0-7867-0959-6
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