Hi Bithorn

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Hiram Gabriel Bithorn Sosa (Tropical Hurricane)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 200 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Hiram Bithorn was listed the first Puerto Rican to play in the major leagues before the Negro Leagues were given MLB status retroactively in 2020 and José Torres took over the honor.

Bithorn won a silver medal in volleyball in the 1935 Central American and Caribbean Games and a bronze in basketball but Puerto Rico did not compete in baseball yet. He began his professional career with the 1936 Norfolk Tars and finished sixth in the Piedmont League in wins with a 16-9, 4.22 season. He split 1937 between Norfolk (10-1) and the Binghamton Triplets (7-8, 3.99). He remained with Binghamton in 1938 and went 5-2 with a 4.33 ERA and got a brief glance at AAA with the Newark Bears, posting a 7.00 ERA in two outings. He managed the Senadores de San Juan in 1938-1939, the youngest manager in Puerto Rican League history. In 1939, the 23-year-old moundsman went 13-14 with a 3.64 ERA for the Oakland Oaks. Moving to the Hollywood Stars, he was 10-17 with a 4.37 ERA in 1940 and 17-15 with a 3.59 ERA the next year, tied for 8th in the Pacific Coast League in wins.

He debuted in the National League with the Chicago Cubs in 1942. In 1943, Bithorn won 18 games while pitching 249 innings and compiling a 2.60 ERA, leading the league in shutouts with 7 (a record for Puerto Rican pitchers that still stands). That November, Bithorn joined the Navy. He was discharged in September 1945. Upon his return to the bigs in 1946, Bithorn was no longer the same pitcher, and retired from the Major Leagues in 1947. Back with Hollywood, he went 0-1 with a 3.76 ERA. In 1949, Hi went 4-3 with a 5.00 for the Nashville Volunteers and had a 18.00 ERA in limited time with the Oklahoma City Indians. He spent 1951 as an umpire in the Pioneer League.

Bithorn died in 1951, at age 35, when he was shot and killed by a policeman in Mexico. The policeman shot Bithorn in the stomach after a misunderstanding over the selling of a car. After being shot, he was taken to the nearest hospital - which was 84 miles away. Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico bears his name and was home to the Montreal Expos for 22 games per season in 2003 and 2004.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL Shutouts Leader (1943)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1943)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1943)

Related Sites[edit]