Cholly Naranjo

From BR Bullpen

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Lazaro Ramon Gonzalo Naranjo

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11½", Weight 165 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Cuban-born right-hander Lazaro Ramon Gonzalo "Cholly" Naranjo made the Washington Senators' pitching staff out of spring training in 1954, but never appeared in a game for the Senators before being returned to the minor leagues. On the Opening Day at Griffith Stadium that year he was assigned to sit in the presidential box in full uniform with glove in hand to protect President Eisenhower from being hit by a foul ball.

"Cholly", as he was nicknamed, was 1-2 for the Cuban national team in the 1951 Amateur World Series. He lost the finale to Puerto Rico. He had been signed as an amateur free agent by the Senators before the 1952 season and spent his first two seasons in the minors with three different teams en route to a 14-13 record. He then spent 1954 with the Charlotte Hornets and the Chattanooga Lookouts, appearing in just 23 games with a 1-1 record. On November 30, 1954 he was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Washington Senators in the 1954 minor league draft.

Naranjo started the 1956 season with the Hollywood Stars, pitching well. He was called up by the Pirates on July 8th and the 21-year-old Cuban appeared in 17 games, going 1-2 with a 4.46 ERA. In early September his major league time came to an end and he returned to the Hollywood club where he finished out the year at 8-6 with a 3.05 ERA.

"Cholly" spent five more seasons in baseball, all in the high minors, not quite being able to get the momentum going to get back to the majors. He finished out in 1961 with the Houston Buffs and the Jacksonville Jets giving him a career 72-78 record with a 3.59 ERA while appearing in 296 games.

From 1952-1961, he pitched in the Cuban Winter League.

At age 26, Naranjo was gone from baseball and spent years living in his native Havana, Cuba. In the 1990s he returned to the United States, according to the book The Hollywood Stars, which has a photo of him from the 1950s. Naranjo was recently in Pennsylvania for a gathering of former sports stars - see scenes, which has a photo of him with, among others, Bobby Shantz and Tony Taylor.


Baseball Players of the 1950s

Related Sites[edit]