Héctor Villanueva

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Hector José Alberto Villanueva Balasquide

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Biographical Information[edit]

In the 1984 Amateur World Series, catcher Hector Villanueva backed up Jose Lorenzana for Puerto Rico and hit just .154/.154/.231 in 5 games. Villanueva was signed as a free agent for the Chicago Cubs by scout Joaquin Velilla on March 26, 1985. He played in the major leagues for the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals from 1990 to 1993.

Following his brief major league career, Villanueva had a much longer career as the popular catcher for the Independent Atlantic League's Atlantic City Surf.

Villanueva dazzled in Latin American leagues. He won the Triple Crown in the Puerto Rican Winter League for San Juan. He was MVP of the 1993 Caribbean Series and led both the 1992 Caribbean Series and 1993 Series in RBI (in 1993, he also led in average and tied Matías Carrillo and Moises Alou for the most homers). In 1994, he led the Mexican League in slugging (.599) and RBI (108), tied for the homer lead (30) and was 2nd in OBP (.457) and walks (108). He was only the second three-time home run king in Puerto Rico, winning titles in 1990-1991 (12), 1995-1996 (8) and 1996-1997 (11). Only Willard Brown (1947-1948, 1948-1949 and 1949-1950) had done so before (and one of Brown's titles was a tie with Bob Thurman, while Villanueva had no ties). In 2015, he made the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame in a class with Roberto Clemente, Juan González, Nap Reyes, Connie Marrero and Bernie Williams.

He coached for Puerto Rico in the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games.

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