José Morales (designated hitter)

José Morales (Designated Hitter)

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José Morales (designated hitter)

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José Manuel Morales Hernández (born December 30, 1944 in Frederiksted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) is a former designated hitter in Major League Baseball who played for five different teams between and . Listed at 5' 11", 187 lb., Morales batted and threw right-handed.

Morales spent nine seasons in the minor leagues before turning as one of the premier pinch-hitters in major league history. One main problem held up his advance: as a catcher, he was a defensive liability, leading four different minor leagues in errors. Indeed, during his majors career, he appeared in the field in only 104 of his 733 total games, and he never collected more than 242 at-bats during a regular season. He is often referred as a "a catcher by trade" (30 games), though first base was his most frequent defensive position in the majors (67) and eventually at left field (7). He played much more at DH (265 games) than at any fielding position.

Morales started playing sandlot baseball in his homeland before signing his first professional contract to play in Puerto Rico in late 1963. Over his two decades-plus in the Puerto Rican Winter League, he collected a .290 batting average (840-for-2,901) with 84 home runs and 467 RBI. He also led the league three times in doubles and one in hits, and in the 1968-69 season he hit .402 with the San Juan Senators, to become one of 19 players to break the .400 line in the PRWL. But his 112 at-bats did not qualified him for the batting...
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