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Remembering Fernando Valuenzela's No-Hitter

El Toro threw a no-no on this day, 32 years ago. We honor his immeasurable legacy and achievement.

On this day in 1990, Fernando Valenzuela jokingly predicted to his teammates that they might witness a second no-hitter that evening. The first one had been thrown by Dave Stewart of the Oakland A's earlier that afternoon. A few hours later, Valenzuela's prediction astoundingly came true after he no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals in a 6-0 victory. No other time in baseball history have two no-hitters been thrown on the same day.

No-Hitter From The Dodger Legend

He threw 119 pitches. Valenzuela also had seven strikeouts and three walks. Upon the final out being recorded, Vin Scully dropped one of his best calls. “If you have a sombrero, throw it to the sky!” Vin Scully has a lot of great calls in his GOAT career, but that one surely ranks among one of the best. This no-hitter ended up being an odd bookmark to Valenzuela's career as a Dodger. He came out of nowhere in 1981 and took America by storm. That season, he became the first pitcher to win the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards in the same year. When I say he "took America by storm" it is not an exaggeration. He spawned what was called "Fernandomania." He had fans charging onto the field to get a hug from him. His poster outsold Farrah Fawcett—the queen of posters. There is no understating what Fernandomania did in 1981. Valenzuela also helped lead the Dodgers to a 1981 World Series title. Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award, and a Championship, all in his first season. No other pitcher in MLB history has ever accomplished this. Incredibly, that is not Valenzuela's longest-standing legacy.

A Fandom Of Mexican-Americans and Latinos

Fernando Valenzuela's influence on baseball, Dodger fans, and Latinos cannot be overstated. Before Fernando Valenzuela, Dodger fandom did not have the greatest association. It was seen as a rich man's team. Rich business owners took business trips to Dodger Stadium for meetings. Dodger Stadium itself was built on Chavez Ravine, where Mexican-Americans had lived for generations. Eventually, the purchase of said land resulted in the removal of the entire population of Chavez Ravine from the land on which our now beloved Dodger Stadium was constructed. Mexican-Americans and Latinos had a lot of good reasons to avoid being Dodger fans.

This of course has all changed. Latinos and Dodger fandom are now culturally linked. Many films, television shows, or conversations with a lot of Mexican-American baseball fans will be firmly rooted or connected to Dodger hats and Dodger iconography. My family in Los Angeles has season tickets to Dodger Stadium and you can bet your bottom dollar that Fernando Valenzuela has a lot to do with that.

Last Thoughts

Fernando Valenzuela's number 34 jersey should be retired at Dodger Stadium. If any player deserves that exception to the rule, it is Fernando. The Dodger organization needs to understand Fernando's immeasurable, indeterminable, and infinite influence on Dodger fans and Major League Baseball. I did not even deign to use AP's rule of referring to him by his last name after mentioning his name the first time. For Dodger fans, he is simply "Fernando."