Luis Fernando Méndez
Luis Fernando Méndez Garcia
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 198 lb.
Luis Fernando Méndez was a star pitcher in Mexico in the 1980s and 1990s and later became a successful pitching coach.
Méndez debuted in 1982 with Chihuahua, going 3-1 with a save and a 4.30 ERA in 37 games, being used almost exclusively in relief as a teen. In 1983, he joined the Mexico City Red Devils and went 8-5 with 2 saves and a 1.87 ERA. In 87 innings, he only gave up two home runs. That earned him a spot in the rotation in 1984; that year, he was 17-5 with a 3.61 ERA, completing 10 of 25 starts. He tied four other hurlers for the Mexican League lead in wins.
In 1985, Luis Fernando posted a 14-6, 3.38 record with a save. He was even better in the postseason, winning game one and game five of the finals as Mexico City took the championship in five contests. In the deciding game, the young right-hander held the Nuevo Laredo Owls to four hits.
1986 was a hitters' season in Mexico and Méndez had one of his worst years, going 6-12 with a 5.32 ERA. It was the only time in 7 years he did not reach double digits in wins. He was 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA in the 1986-1987 Mexican Pacific League. 1987 found him back in form, with a 16-6, 4.02 record and 11 complete games. He again tied for the Liga lead in wins. On July 7 of that year, Luis held the Cuban national team to 3 hits and a run in an exhibition won by Mexico.
Méndez went 14-5 with a 3.61 ERA in 1988. In '89, he had a 13-6, 4.09 record. In the winter, he was 5-4 with a 3.30 ERA for the Hermosillo Orange Growers. He was 16-5 with a 3.04 ERA for the 1990 Red Devils. He was four wins behind league pace setter Armando Reynoso. In 1991, he fell to 8-8, 5.59, the second-highest ERA of his 18 seasons.
Luis had a fine winter in 1991-1992, going 4-4 with a 2.97 ERA for Los Mochis. He had a 8-9, 4.23 record that summer in Mexico. For Los Mochis in 1992-93, he had a 8-1, 2.65 record, finishing one win shy of the Mexican Pacific League lead.
Méndez finished his Mexico City playing career in 1993; at age 30, he had a 10-9, 3.73 record. With the Red Devils developing a slew of future major leaguers in Francisco Cordova, Ricardo Rincon, Elmer Dessens and Roberto Ramirez in 1994, Luis was given his walking papers.
Signing on with the Monterrey Industriales, Méndez showed he could still dominate, going 12-4 with a 2.33 ERA. He tied Cordova for sixth in the Liga in ERA. In 1995, Luis was on the move again, this time to the Reynosa Broncos, for whom he posted a 6-6, 4.57 record. He was 6-6 with a career-worst 5.73 ERA for Reynosa in '96.
In 1997, Méndez went 6-5 with a 3.17 ERA for two Mexican League clubs. He spent the 1998 season with the Yucatan Lions, going 3-4 with a 3.07 ERA but being limited to 13 games at age 35. He concluded his career with the 1999 Torreon Cotton Dealers, allowing one run in 2 1/3 IP.
Overall, Luis Fernando pitched 2,267 2/3 innings in 415 games in the Mexican League. He went 163-105 with 4 saves and a 3.85 ERA in 18 seasons.
Through 2000, Méndez was 7th all-time in the Mexican League in winning percentage (.608) for a pitcher with over 2,000 innings, right behind former major leaguer Angel Moreno.
Luis then became a pitching coach for the Red Devils. Joakim Soria later credited Méndez with developing him physically and mentally to succeed in the majors. Luis coached for Mexico in the 2007 Baseball World Cup, 2008 Americas Baseball Cup and 2009 Baseball World Cup.