Rene Valdes Gutierrez
born Rene Gutierrez Valdez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 175 lb.
- Debut April 21, 1957
- Final Game September 28, 1957
- Born June 2, 1929 in Guanabacoa, Cuba
- Died March 15, 2008 in Miami, FL, USA
Cuban-born Rene Valdes was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the minor league portion of the 1953 Rule V Draft from the Juarez Indios, after two good seasons (1952 and 1953) in the Arizona-Texas League, where he chalked up 38 wins with just 23 losses. The right-hander showed strong again in 1954, going 20-5 with a 2.67 ERA in a combined effort for the Bakersfield Indians of the California League and the Pueblo Dodgers of the Western League.
Undoubtedly these strong showings encouraged the Dodgers to elevate him to the St. Paul Saints of the American Association in 1955, where he went 10-9 with a 4.05 ERA. 1956 found Valdes with the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League where he had a league-leading 22 wins and was picked for the All-Star team. This led to his major league debut on April 21, 1957 at Ebbets Field.
On the next to last day of the 1957 season, in the penultimate game in Brooklyn Dodgers history, Valdes made the start for the team on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies. For "El Latigo" (the "Whip"), it was his only start in the majors. The Dodgers staked him to an early 8-1 lead, but he wasn't able to get out of the 5th inning and was relieved by Ed Roebuck, who was credited with an eventual 8-4 victory. Rene did win a game and also lost one in four relief appearances for the Dodgers. He finished out at 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA in his only year in the big leagues.
Valdes spent until 1960 with the Montreal Royals of the AAA International League, winning 15 games for the pennant-winning 1958 team. He wound up up having two winning years and two losing ones, and then spent 1961 with the Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League, going 14-11 with a 3.64 ERA. Rene finished out the balance of his pro baseball career with three years (1962-1964) in the Mexican League, winding up with a 152-111 record and a 3.60 ERA while pitching 2,095 innings.