Pedro Formental

From BR Bullpen

Pedro Formental
(Perucho, Perico)
also listed as Pedro Formenthal

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 200 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pedro Formental was a star in his native Cuba but also in Mexico and the USA in the 1940s and 1950s. He showed contact, power, speed and plate discipline during his well-rounded career.

Formental debuted in the 1942-1943 Cuban Winter League at the relatively old age of 27. He hit .231 with no homers in 65 AB, an inauspicious debut. While many Cubans stayed in the amateur circuits for a period before turning pro during that era, Pedro was not one of the best amateur players, never being chosen for the Cuban national team.

In 1943, Formental spent the summer with the Tampico Lightermen, hitting .312/~.424/.463 in the Mexican League. Back in Cuba in 1943-1944, he hit .250 and slugged .357 for Cienfuegos, leading the circuit with six triples. He batted .345/~.457/.518 for the 1944 Veracruz Eagle with 73 RBI and 81 runs in 88 games. He drew 61 walks while only striking out 20 times.

In 1944-1945, Formental batted .252 and slugged .336 for Cienfuegos. He continued to light up Mexico, though, in 1945, hitting .362/~.504/.554 for Veracruz with 10 triples, 22 steals and 84 walks to 16 strikeouts. He was .013 behind Claro Duany in the batting race.

Formental moved to the Havana Lions in the 1945-1946 Winter League, hitting .282/?/.396. He finished up his Mexican career with the 1946 San Luis Potosi Cactus Pear Growers, hitting .384/~.506/.624 with 35 runs, 31 walks and 11 steals in 35 games. He easily outhit the major leaguers who spent the season in Mexico. It was his last campaign in that country.

Formental hit .245 and slugged .333 for Havana in 1946-1947 but his six triples tied Hank Thompson for the CWL lead. In the summer of 1947, he came to the US to play for the Memphis Red Sox. In 1947-1948, Perucho batted .233 and slugged .346 for Havana. He hit .288 and slugged .389 for them in 1948-1949, at age 33.

In 1949, Pedro hit .341 in his third season with Memphis. He made the 1949 East-West Game as the starting center fielder ofr the West. He went 0 for 1 before replacing by Johnny Davis in center.

Formental's Cuban stardom really began in 1949-1950, when he hit .336 and slugged .468. He led the league in average, hits (99) and runs (51) and joined Roberto Ortiz and Don Lenhardt on the All-Star outfield. Fermin Guerra beat him for MVP honors. That summer, Formental played his last season in the Negro Leagues. He did not like playing in the USA due to the discrimination there; once he dined in a white restaurant in Dallas, TX to flagrantly show his disapproval.

Pedro hit .250 and slugged .408 for Habana in 1950-1951; he led the CWL with 55 walks and tied for the lead with eight home runs. In the 1951 Caribbean Series, Formental hit .316 and slugged .632; he had 5 RBI in six games. The veteran flyhawk hit .254 and slugged .417 in the 1951-1952 campaign. He led the loop with 47 runs and 46 RBI and tied Jim Basso for the lead with nine homers. He joined Frank Carswell and Sandy Amoros on the All-Star outfield. Bert Haas took home MVP honros instead.

Formental was only 1 for 16 with a double, 2 runs and five RBI in the 1952 Caribbean Series. At age 37, he had a career year in 1952-1953, hitting .337 and slugging .544. He led the league in doubles (18), tied Felipe Montemayor for the most walks (50), was second to Lou Klein with 10 home runs and set a new league record with 57 RBI. He joined Amoros and Minnie Minoso on the All-Star outfield. Minoso took MVP honors that time.

In the 1953 Caribbean Series, Formental set a Caribbean Series record with 14 hits (in 25 AB). He had 20 total bases and 8 RBI as Havana fell shy of a title.

Formental's decline then began as he was certainly getting old for a hitter. He batted .258 and slugged .373 in 1953-1954, spending part of the winter with Marianao. In 1954, he hit .293/?/.477 for the AAA Havana Sugar Kings, leading the club in slugging; most of his teammates would play in the majors at some point.

In 1954-1955, Formental hit .292 and slugged .482 for the Havana Lions. For the '55 Sugar Kings, Pedro batted .293/?/.433, .002 behind team slugging leader Clint Hartung. It was the curtain call for Formental, who wrapped up with better play after age 35 than before age 30.

Formental was a strong supporter of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Overall, Formental finished 7th in Cuban Winter League history in at-bats (2,720), 4th in runs (431), 5th in hits (746), tied for fifth with Ray Noble in doubles (106), third in triples (47, behind Hector Rodriguez and Minoso), 4th in home runs (56, behind Noble, Minoso and Ortiz) and 8th in RBI (362).

In 304 games in the Mexican League, Formental had hit .345/~.465/.524.

Formental was later inducted into both the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame and Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame.


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