Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday of Puerto Rico's own Hiram Bithorn.
Hiram Bithorn was born on March 18th, 1916, in Santruce, Puerto Rico.
Bithorn, the first Puerto Rican born big league ball player, made it to the New York Yankees Class B Norfolk Tars in 1936, posting a 16-9 record in the Piedmont League.
The Yankees traded Bithorn to the New York Giants, who thd sent Hiram to the Chicago Cubs, and made his big league debut, on April 15th, 1942.
Bithorn pitched two season with the Cubs, 1942-43, the went off to serve in the US Navy in Word War II.
In '42 Bithorn, a right handed pitcher, had a record of 9-14, with a 3.68 ERA in 171.1 innings pitched.
In '43 Bithorn's best year, the Cubs righty compiled a 18-12 record, incluging 19 complete games, in 249 2/3 innings, with a terrific 2.60 ERA.
After the war was over Bithorn played for the Cubs in 1946, going 6-5, with a 3.84 ERA in just 86 2/3 IP.
Bithorn's final game came on May 4, 1947, as a member of the Chicago White Sox.
In just two games with the ChiSox, Hiram went 1-0, in only 2 innings pitched.
Injuries forced him to end his pitching, but Hiram became the first dver Puerto Rican umpire in organized American baseball, umpiring in tne Piedmont League in 1951.
Hiram Bithorn was murdered in 1951, just after the Mexican League season, at the age of 35, by a corrupt Mexican policeman.
Here's a terrific read on Hiram...
Hiram Bithorn is a legendary figure in his native Puerto Rico, and in 1962 , the largest ball park in the country was re-named "Estadio Hiram Bithorn. "
Happy Baseball Birthday Hiram!