Víctor Canales

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Víctor Manuel Canales Lira (La Pingua)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 185 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Víctor Canales was on the Mexican national team several times and had four 100+ RBI seasons in the minor leagues. His brother Roberto Canales was sometimes his teammate. [1]

Canales debuted in 1940 with the Diablos Rojos del México, hitting .240/.284/.296; he was a bench player on a team with seven former or future major leaguers (mostly from the Negro Leagues) on the roster. He led the 1941 Amateur World Series with five doubles, while Mexico won Bronze. [2] While he had already played pro ball, the Mexican team of this era routinely had pro players on their team (Bobby Ávila would be with them in 1944) and had been removed from the 1935 Central American and Caribbean Games for the reason, following Cuban protests. Cuban protests in the 1938 Central American and Caribbean Games did not remove a similar Mexican team. Mexico was not the only country to flaunt the amateur status; the year prior, Hawai'i (not yet a state) had a team with former pros Herbert North, Pat Gleason and Johnny Kerr while the USA had used Lou Athanas.

He remained with Mexico for the 1942 Amateur World Series. [3] In the 1943 Amateur World Series, he helped Mexico win Silver. [4] He then began a long career with his hometown Indios de Ciudad Juárez. They played in the 1946 Mexican National League but stats are unavailable. In 1947, he hit .387/.453/.565 with 12 triples, 51 runs and 59 RBI in 60 games.

La Pingua produced at a .321/.461/.440 clip in 1948 with 20 triples, 110 runs, 91 RBI and 126 walks (to 31 K) in 140 games, fielding .929 at the hot corner. He made the Arizona-Texas League top ten in average, was 9th in hits (168), tied Edward Rzendzian for second in triples, ranked fourth in walks and was in the top ten in OBP and OPS. He remained stellar in 1949 - .335/.434/.419, 127 R, 112 RBI, 13 SB, 94 BB -while fielding .937. He also took over managerial reins from Héctor Leal during the season. He was again on the Arizona-Texas League leaderboards: top ten in average, 10th in runs, 6th in hits (191, between Tommy Torchia and Lou Tamone), 8th in triples (13).

Víctor hit .354/.465/.464 with 36 doubles, 13 triples, 120 runs, 116 walks and 121 RBI in 1950. He led the league's third basemen in putouts (172), assists (321) and fielding (.928). He was 6th in average, 4th in hits (208, between Len Noren and Burro Hernandez), tied Harold Rabourn for 10th in doubles, was in the top ten (probably top five in OBP), 9th in RBI and tied Ted Dean for 5th in walks. [5]

He managed the Indios for all of 1951, going 87-57 (second place). He hit .330 and slugged .442. The team was now in the Southwest International League. He likely made the top ten in average, finishing 4th with 188 hits (between Wayne Tucker and Ed Roberts), tying for 8th in doubles (30) and 4th in triples (14).

In 1952, he was replaced as skipper by Manuel Fortes, while the team returned to the Arizona-Texas League. He batted .368/.407/.492 with 34 doubles, 13 triples, 121 runs and 101 RBI in 127 games. The 1953 Baseball Guide only lists 31 walks, which would seem unusual given the walk rates we have for the rest of his minor league career; if the walk total was higher, his OBP obviously is higher as well. On the other hand, his walk total for 1953 was 24, so his batting eye may have worsened by this point or he may have gotten less patient at the plate. He led the league's third basemen in putouts (162) and fielding (.941). He tied Benny Valenzuela for 10th in runs, was 5th in average (between Art Lilly and Leonel Aldama), was third in hits (after Dick Steinhauer and Hernandez), 5th in triples and tied Gil Hawkins for 9th in total bases. [6]

Canales once again became manager during 1953, replacing Fortes during the season. He also hit .331/.365/.395 with 104 RBI. He was 10th in average, between Moises Camacho and Buck Elliott. He had hit .338 in his career (excluding the 1946 season, for which stats are unavailable). He coached for the Indios from 1975-1984. [7]


  1. Cultura Juarez
  2. A History of Cuban Baseball by Peter Bjarkman, pg. 196
  3. The Pride of Havana
  4. Juarez Sports Hall of Fame
  5. 1951 Baseball Guide, pg. 297-300
  6. 1953 Baseball Guide, pg. 304-307
  7. Juarez Sports Hall of Fame
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