Oscar Rodríguez (minors01)
Oscar Rodríguez (Barriguilla)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7", Weight 170 lb.
Oscar Rodríguez played in Cuba and the minor leagues and managed in the US, Cuba, Mexico and Dominican Republic. His brother José Rodríguez played in the majors.
Oscar debuted in 1918-1919 for Almendares, having turned 16 late in 1918. He hit .211/.309/.296 while mostly backing up at third base (.846). In 1919-1920, he was 8 for 37 (all singles) as a backup infielder for Habana. He backed up his brother at third base for Habana in 1920-1921, going only 3 for 28 with two walks. In 1921-1922, he was 5 for 10 in a very shortened season, splitting third with Manuel Cueto for Habana.
In 1922-1923, he became a starter at second for Almendares (his brother made his managerial debut with the team that year), hitting .229/.276/.306 yet still managing 20 RBI in 43 games. He fielded .942, just ahead of the Cuban Winter League average that year at 2B (.938). He tied for 5th in the CWL with four triples and tied Merito Acosta and Jacinto Calvo for 8th in RBI. The next winter, he was 1 for 9 with a walk, backing up Eusebio González.
He made his US debut in 1924, hitting .250/?/.302 for the Petersburg Goobers and fielding .960 at second base. In 1924-1925, he was 2 for 7 in continued limited action in Cuba. In the summer, he batted .256 and slugged .376 for the Greenville Spinners. He started for San Jose in Cuba in 1925-1926 and hit .318/?/.439. In 1926, he hit only .193 with a .263 slugging for the McAlester Miners.
In the 1926-1927 Cuban Triangal League, he started at second for the Havana Reds and hit .338 in a high-offense circuit. In 1927, he hit .277/?/.379 for Greenville while fielding .971 at 2B for the South Atlantic League champions. He was 2 for 13 with 5 walks as a backup for Almendares in 1927-1928. He batted .296 and slugged .378 for the 1928 Spinners, fielding .972. He became a starter again for Almendares in 1928-1929 and hit .270/?/.324.
Rodríguez hit .281 and slugged .371 in his 4th and final season with Greenville, fielding .975. In the winter, he hit .216 and slugged .253 for Almendares. In 1930, he moved to the Allentown Dukes, fielding .965 at short and producing at a .253/?/.322 clip. The slick-fielding shortstop was 9th in the Eastern League with 172 hits and his 27 doubles were one shy of the top ten.
The 1930 Cuban Winter League season was limited to five games due to contractual disputes over stadium use; he was 3 for 15 for Almendares. In the Unico season that followed, he was 8 for 39 as the starting shortstop for Habana. His last US campaign as a player, 1931, he hit .290/?/.359 for Allentown and fielded .959 at third base. He helped Almendares to the pennant in 1931-1932, hitting .333 and slugging .406 as their starting second sacker.
The Havana native did not play for the next couple winters. He returned in 1934-1935 with Marianao, hitting .165/?/.209 while manning short. He was 4 for 26 for Marianao in 1935-1936, 6 for 31 for Habana in 1937-1938 and 6 for 26 for Cuba in 1938-1939 to end his long playing career. While he had played for 18 seasons in Cuba, he had spent more time as a backup than a starter, unlike in the US, where he had been a starter almost every season.
Coaching and Managing Career
Oscar became manager of the new Havana Cubans in the Florida International League in 1946 and guided them to regular-season pennants five years in a row (three times they fell in the playoffs, twice they won). He twice managed 100-game winners in this period. His brother managed the Big States League champion in 1948, giving the brothers each a minor league championship as skipper that year. In these winters, Oscar also coached for Cienfuegos in the Cuban Winter League.
After Havana did not retain him as skipper (he was replaced by Dolf Luque), he became a coach for the rival Tampa Smokers, then took over the managerial reigns from Joe Medwick at Tampa during the 1952 campaign. In 1952-1953, he continued his trend of switching managerial roles with MLB stars when he succeeded Billy Herman as manager of Cienfuegos. He then guided the Tigres del Licey to the Dominican League title in 1953.
He was the manager of Cienfuegos in 1955-1956, taking over for 1954-1955 skipper Reggie Otero and guided them from last place in 1954-1955 to first place. He then led them to the 1956 Caribbean Series title. He led Cienfuegos to a 36-33 record and second place in 1955-1956. In 1957, he became manager of the Mexican League's Leones de Yucatán and guided them to first place, though they fell in the postseason. He began 1958 as their skipper but was replaced by Willie Alvarez during the year.
In 1958-1959, he was managing Almendares on the way to a pennant when he had a heart attack and Clemente Carreras took over. He also began 1959-1960 back at the head of Almendares before Carreras again succeeded him. He was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961 in a class with Tommy de la Cruz.