José Muñoz (Negro Leagues)

From BR Bullpen

José Muñoz (Joseíto, Joe)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7"

Biographical Information[edit]

José Muñoz was a Negro League and Cuban Winter League pitcher of the Deadball Era.

Muñoz debuted in 1900 with the Almendares club, going 8-7. He tied Carlos Royer for the Cuban Winter League lead in losses. He improved to 9-5 in 1901 and led the league with 14 complete games. He was 7-7 in 1902, tying for the league lead in defeats, then fell to 3-7 in 1903 and 0-4 in 1904. In 1904, he was 0-1 against the Lynn, MA club but 5-0 against mixed teams of white major and minor leaguers touring Cuba. Also that year, he played for the All Cubans in the Negro Leagues, going 0-2 while hitting .385 as an outfielder in action against top black teams.

In 1905, he was a workhorse for his new club, Habana. He was 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA. He led the league in most pitching departments, including wins, losses, appearances (20), complete games (19), innings (169 1/3), runs allowed (82), hits allowed (111), earned runs (32) and walks (44). He was second in strikeouts (48) and shutouts (1, tied), 5th in ERA and allowed no home runs. He hit .172/.192/.189, playing the outfield when not pitching, and his 12 sacrifice hits were second in the league. He also played in the US that year and faced the Cuban X-Giants when they visited Cuba (going 1-2).

The right-hander was 8-1 with a 0.67 ERA and .80 WHIP back with Almendares in the winter of 1906. He led the CWL in WHIP and was .02 behind ERA leader Luis González. He was second to González in wins and tied for the lead with two shutouts. He gave up just 44 hits in 81 innings and completed all nine of his starts. In a pitcher's league, his batting line of .204/.232/.259 resulted in a 106 OPS+. He was 0-1 against the Cuban X-Giants and 2-0 against a combined team of major and minor leaguers.

Muñoz was 9-6 with a save, 0.78 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 1907 as Almendares won it all. He only walked 25 in 139 1/3 IP. He was second in ERA, first in WHIP, tied for first in wins (with Rube Foster), tied for second in losses and was second with complete games (13, 2 behind Foster). He was also 1-2 against the Philadelphia Giants and 1-1 against a team of major and minor leaguers. The Havana native was 10-1 with a 1.20 ERA in 1908. Almendares won another pennant. He led the league in wins, was third in ERA, second in complete games (8), tied for second in shutouts (2), second in innings (105 1/3 IP), led in hits allowed (77), was second in walks (37), tied Luis Padron for the most strikeouts (46) and had a 1.08 WHIP. He went 0-2 against the Brooklyn Royal Giants and beat Bob Spade and the Cincinnati Reds 4-2.

Joseíto went 4-3 with a save and a 1.31 ERA for Almendares in 1908-1909. He hit .229/.275/.271 for a 107 OPS+. He finished second in ERA behind future Hall of Famer José Méndez, who was superseding Muñoz as the top Cuban pitcher named José M. He had a strong winter against teams touring Cuba. He beat the Indianapolis Indians twice and the Detroit Tigers twice (4-1 over George Mullin, with a 4-hitter and 13-2 over Ed Willett). He lost 4-1 to Nap Rucker, who was backed by a team including Sherry Magee, Danny Hoffman, Germany Schaefer and Tommy McMillan.

José had a quieter time in 1910. He was 0-1 against the Leland Giants but beat the 1910 Philadelphia A's and Chief Bender 1-0 or 2-1 (sources vary) (the A's were absent Eddie Collins and Frank Baker, though). He also lost 4-0 to George Mullin and the Tigers as Ty Cobb got 3 hits (including a home run). Almendares won the title in 1910-1911 and Muñoz did very well in a limited role (Méndez getting the bulk of the work), going 4-1 with a save and a 1.75 ERA. He led in ERA by .02 over Méndez.

The aging star was 1-0 in 1911-1912. In 1912, he beat future Hall-of-Famer Smokey Joe Williams and the New York Lincoln Giants, 2-1. During the 1913 winter season, he was 6-5 with a 3.38 ERA for Almendares. He was 4th in wins and tied for third in losses. He beat the Birmingham Barons twice that year and lost a 3-1 decision to Pat Ragan and the Brooklyn Superbas. He was 1-4 for Almendares in 1913-1914, his last season. He led the league champions in defeats.

From 1904-1916, Muñoz was among the Cuban Winter League leaders in every pitching department - first in wins (67), games (132), starts (100), complete games (83), innings (968 2/3), runs (351), hits (713), walks (279) and hit batsmen (47), second in losses (39, trailing Luis González), saves (3, one behind Méndez), strikeouts (345, trailing Méndez) and shutouts (13, 3 behind Méndez), 3rd in ERA (behind Rip Hagerman and Méndez), tied foe 3rd in homers allowed (8) and 4th in earned runs allowed (171) and ERA+ (153). His 88.5 win shares trailed only Méndez among all Cuban players for this period.

Overall for his career, he was 82-60. He was among the CWL all-time leaders in complete games (117, 3rd, only four behind leader Martin Dihigo and one shy of Royer), wins (6th, between Manuel García and Méndez) and losses (tied for 8th with Luis Tiant Sr.

He threw a fastball and screwball.

He was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1940, part of the second class elected.