Ozzie Virgil (virgioz01)

From BR Bullpen

Ossie Virgil.jpg

Osvaldo Jose Virgil Pichardo

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

1957 Topps

Ozzie Virgil was credited for breaking the color barrier for the Detroit Tigers in 1958, and had 5 hits in his first game as a Tiger. He used to be listed the very first of the hundreds of major leaguers who were born in the Dominican Republic but that honor was rescinded in 2020 when the Negro Leagues were retroactively given major league status; Pedro San took over, having played in 1926. Ozzie is still the first Dominican born player in either the National or American League.

He emigrated to the United States at fourteen in 1947 and began playing baseball in the 1950s while with the United States Marine Corps. He was signed by the New York Giants to a contract in 1953, reaching the big leagues at the end of the 1956 season. In addition to his major league career, he played 13 seasons (1953-1956, 1958-1960, 1962-1964 and 1966-1968) in the minor leagues, 10 of which were at AAA. He had three years with batting averages of over .300. A free swinger, Virgil walked only 34 times in nearly 800 career major league plate appearances.

Virgil was a coach for the San Francisco Giants (1969-1972 and 1974-1975), Montreal Expos (1976-1981), San Diego Padres (1982-1985) and Seattle Mariners (1986-1988). For the last three stops, he accompanied manager Dick Williams, with whom he had become a close friend and confidant during the latter's time as Expos manager. In 1989, he was a coach for the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the Senior Professional Baseball Association.

During the winter months Virgil played with the Mayaguez Indians in the Puerto Rican League and with Águilas Cibaeñas and the Escogido Lions in the Dominican League, both of which he would later manage. He also managed the Cardenales de Lara, Leones del Caracas, Tiburones de La Guaira and Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan League and the Mazatlan Venados in the Mexican Pacific League.

He is the father of catcher Ozzie Virgil Jr.

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1996 Bellingham Giants Northwest League 20-18 -- San Francisco Giants replaced by Shane Turner on July 28

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Venn: "Virgil paved path as MLB's 1st Dominican-born player: Third baseman debuted with New York Giants in 1956: 'The emotions were indescribable'", mlb.com, September 23, 2023. [1]

Related Sites[edit]