There is a rich history of Mexican players playing in MLB. Some people trace the roots of baseball in Mexico back to the 1840s. I could not make a list of the greatest "Latino baseball players" because I am not in the business of writing almanacs. It would literally be a nearly unending tome. Here is my list of the greatest Mexican baseball players.
9. Aurelio Rodríguez
Aurelio Rodriguez was more known for his glove than his bat. Born in Sonora, Rodriguez was also known as "Chi Chi," he played third base for most of his career. Throughout 17 years, he won a gold glove while compiling a 15.1 career bWAR.
8. Jorge Orta
Born in Mazatlan to Cuban parents, Orta holds the major league record for stolen bases in a season among players from Mexico, at 79. A two-time All-Star, he also was a member of the World Series champion Kansas City Royals in 1985. He played for 16 seasons.
7. Joakim Soria
A two-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year, Joakim Soria was known as the "Monclova whip." During his prime, he was one of the most dominant closers of his era, compiling 229 total saves before being moved out of the role as his career went on. 2021 was officially his last season.
6. Esteban Loaiza
The Tijuana native Esteban Loaiza is the second-winningest pitcher from Mexico. A two-time All-Star, Loaiza narrowly missed out on a Cy Young award in 2003 when he won 21 games with a 2.90 ERA in 34 starts for the White Sox. He pitched for 14 seasons before he hung up the uniform and got into some, uh, problems.
5. Vinny Castilla
Born in Oaxaca, Castilla was the first Mexican ballplayer to reach 1,000 RBIs and collect over 300 home runs. Castilla was a two-time All-Star and won three Silver Sluggers. His 46 home runs in 1998 are the most ever hit by a Mexican-born player. He may be a product of the so-called "steroid era" that hurt his numbers a little in terms of legacy, but Castilla could mash.
4. Bobby Avila
Roberto Francisco Avila Gonzalez, also known as "Beto" or "Bobby," played for 11 seasons in the majors. Born in Veracruz, Avila was a three-time All-Star, who also won the American League batting crown in 1954. He finished third in MVP voting that season.
3. Teodoro Higuera
It may be controversial to include "Teddy" Higuera so high on this list because his career was cut short due to injuries, but his body of work in his short nine seasons was impressive. Higuera narrowly missed being the Rookie of the Year in 1985, and then narrowly missed the Cy-Young award in 1986. He finished his career with a 94-64 record and a 3.61 ERA. He was lightning good.
2. Adrian Gonzalez
Born in San Diego, Adrian Gonzalez was raised in Tijuana. "El Titan" was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball during his career. Gonzalez compiled five All-Star selections, 5 gold gloves, and 2 silver sluggers. He ended his career with 317 home runs and 129 OPS+. Gonzalez was the most versatile hitter of any player born in Mexico.
1. Fernando Valenzuela
Nothing needs to be explained here. "El Toro" should already be in the Hall of Fame. He sparked "Fernandomania" in 1981 and transformed an entire organization and fandom almost immediately. The only player to ever win a Rookie of the Year, Cy Young award, and a World Series Championship in the same season, Valenzuela is also the all-time leader in wins for anyone from Mexico. He also threw a no-hitter in 1990. There are no words that can truly illustrate what Fernando Valenzuela means to Mexicans and the world of baseball and the Dodgers organization.