Diego Seguí: Mexico, Aragua, Coaching, Career Highlights and Hall of Fames (Part IV)

RHP Diego Seguí was the only major-leaguer to play for the 1969 Seattle Pilots and first (1977) Seattle Mariners franchise. He was the Pilots MVP in their one 1969 American League (AL) season. In 1970, he led the AL with a 2.56 ERA for Oakland. Seguí received a 1972 World Series ring with Oakland, years after the A’s traded him to St. Louis, June 7, 1972. He pitched a seven-inning perfect game, in Mexico, Class AAA, June 21, 1978. Part I covered his 1958 semi-pro ball to the 1967-68 winter season with Caracas. Part II focused on 1968 with Oakland-to-February 1-6, 1973 Caribbean Series. Part III included his last (1973-75 and 1977) MLB seasons; winter ball in Venezuela; 1976 with Hawaii (Class AAA), featuring a Pacific Coast League (PCL) ERA crown; 1978 and 1980 Caribbean Series; and two in Mexico, 1978-79. Part IV covers six seasons in Mexico; three more in Venezuela; plus career highlights and honors.

Caribbean Series Legacy

Seguí is one of five pitchers to lead the Caribbean Series in strikeouts (K), twice. Table I includes these pitchers. Table II is an updated Part III Table, adding José Rijo and Raúl Valdés, who both had 10 K per nine IP, in a Caribbean Series. Rijo pitched less than nine innings, twice.

Two-time Strikeout Leaders, Caribbean Series History

PitcherTeams and YearIPKK/9 IP
Terín PizarroCaguas-195816.22915.66
Terín PizarroCaguas-1960141610.29
Diego SeguíCaracas-19739.21715.82^
Diego SeguíCaracas-1978121612
José Rijo Escogido-198971215.43
José RijoToros del Este-19958.21212.46
Giancarlo AlvaradoCarolina-200712.1107.3
Giancarlo AlvaradoPonce-200911.21612.34
Raúl ValdésEscogido-2010111310.64
Raúl ValdésToros del Este-201114117.07

^ All-time Caribbean Series record for one series, nine plus IP.

Table II: Strikeouts per nine IP, one Caribbean Series, minimum seven IP

PitcherTeam and SeriesIPKK/ 9 IP
Diego SeguíCaracas (1973)9.21715.82
Terín PizarroCaguas (1958)16.22915.66
José RijoEscogido (1989)71215.43
Odell JonesLicey (1977)121813.50
Francisco CamposMazatlán (2005)162312.94
José RijoToros del Este (1995)8.21212.46
Joe HattenAlmendares (1954)11.21612.34
Giancarlo AlvaradoPonce (2009)11.21612.34
Diego SeguíCaracas (1978)121612
José AcevedoAguilas Cibaeñas (2003)11.11511.91
Wilson AlvarezZulia (1992)151911.40
Pete WojeyMayagüez (1957)121511.25
Aurelio MonteagudoMagallanes (1970)13.21711.19
Earl StephensonAragua (1972)10.21210. 97
Héctor MercadoBayamón (2002)101110.80
Raúl ValdésEscogido (2010)111310.64
Humberto RobinsonCarta Vieja (1955)10.11110.45
Terín PizarroCaguas (1960)141610.29

As noted in Part III, Seguí was 4-0 for Venezuela, in three Caribbean Series (1973, 1978 and 1980). Table III is his official Caribbean Series record, per historian Tony Piña Campora:

Table III: Seguí’s Caribbean Series Record for Caracas Lions

SeriesGW-LIPHKBBERAWHIP
197321-09.271720.000.931
197822-01271622.250.750
198011-0711213.861.714
Total54-028.2253551.881.046

Mexico (1980-85)

Broncos de Reynosa

The Winston Llenas (manager)-Seguí connection continued with the 1980 Reynosa Broncos, Class AAA Mexican League. (The Córdoba Cafeteros franchise moved to Reynosa for three seasons: 1980-82.) Reynosa was in second-place, 11 games behind Aguascalientes, when a July 3 players’ strike ended the season, except for six of the 20 teams, including Reynosa. Seguí experienced his only losing season in Mexico: 10-13. He came back strong in 1981 with 14 wins in 20 decisions; 2.08 ERA; 19 CG in 22 starts, including five SHO. Reynosa, managed by Ben Valenzuela, qualified for the playoffs, despite a 62-64 record, 13.5 games behind Nuevo Laredo. They surprised the pundits by advancing to the league finals, after two playoff series wins: a four-game sweep over Saltillo; then, a semi-final series win over Nuevo Laredo, four games-to-one. The Mexico City Red Devils eked out the title, over Reynosa, four games-to-three. It’s likely that Seguí won three or four post-season games in 1981, but this cannot be confirmed.

Reynosa won its three final series contests (Games Three-Four-Five), in 1981, at the Red Devils “Parque del Seguro Social” (Social Security Stadium); the Red Devils won Games One-Two and Six-Seven at Reynosa’s López Mateos Stadium. It is the only time in Mexican League Final Series history that visitors won all games in a seven-game set. Coincidentally, the 2019 Washington Nationals won Games One-Two and Six-Seven of the World Series at Houston; the Astros won Games Three-Four-Five in Washington, D.C. Seguí’s third season with Reynosa (1982) produced a 12-10 ledger with a 2.57 ERA. He completed 19 of 25 starts, with four SHO. The 73-55 Ciudad Juarez Indios upended 70-61 Reynosa, four games-to-one, in the first round.

Then, in 1983, Seguí went 12-5, 2.53 ERA, with five SHO, for the Yucatán Lions, who played their home games in Mérida. Eduardo Figueroa (4-5, 3.50 ERA for Yucatán) and Luis Tiant (8-6 overall, 3.36 ERA with Mexico City and Yucatán) formed an “elderly trifecta.” Figueroa and Tiant pitched in Puerto Rico for the 1982-83 Santurce Crabbers, before connecting with Seguí in Yucatán. Seguí and Tiant had come “full circle” since their 1960-61 winter season with the Havana Lions. They were Caracas Lions teammates as well as (1974-75) Boston Red Sox teammates. Yucatán (60-55) was fourth in the eight-team South, before bowing out after an 18-game round-robin with the other three teams. The Campeche Pirates advanced to the finals, and bested Ciudad Juarez in a seven-game final series.  

Seguí turned 47 during his 1984 season with the León Braves, a seventh-place (53-61) club, in the eight-team South. He was 10-9 with a 5.55 ERA. His final Mexican League season was with the 1985 Monclova Steel Makers, eight-team North. Vinicio García managed them to a 64-62 third-place tie with Tampico, but Seguí (5-4, 4.26 ERA) opted to retire before season’s end. “It got to where I preferred the [long] bus trips to flying, but it was time to move on.”

Seguí’s 96-61 W-L record, .611 PCT, is tenth-best in Mexican League history, for hurlers with 1,000-to-1,999 career innings. He completed 108 of 188 starts, with 30 SHO; gave up 1,256 hits in 1,362.1 innings; struck out 1,015; walked 364 with a 1.189 WHIP. His career ERA of 2.91 is excellent. Table IV includes the Top 10 pitchers, in W-L PCT, 1,000-to-1,999 innings.

Table IV: Top 10 Regular Season W-L PCT, Mexican League^

PitcherW-LPCTIPERA
Martín Dihigo119-57.6761,523.22.84
Roberto Ramírez153-76.6681,832.24.03
Salomé Barojas115-58.6651,406.12.89
Rafael Díaz82-44.6511,094.13.40
Mike Paul104-56.6501,4342.06
Pablo Gutierrez129-78.6231,734.12.79
Tomás Armas90-55.6211,2843.53
Barney Brown84-53.6131,1863.49
Narciso Elvira84-53.6131,116.13.59
Diego Seguí96-61.6111,362.12.91

^ Pitchers with 1,000-to-1,999 career regular season IP.

Aragua Tigers (1980-83)

Segui’s last three Venezuelan winter seasons were with Aragua, 1980-83. He was a combined 9-6: 3-1 in 1980-81; 4-3 in 1981-82; and 2-2 in 1982-83, at age 45. Most remarkable was 80 strikeouts to 11 walks in 59.2 innings (1980-81), when Aragua finished 23-30. His two catchers were Bob Brenly—future NL World Series winning manager, 2001 Arizona D-Backs—and Sal Butera. Ted Power was a 25-year old prospect; Balor Moore, a 29-year old teammate who would soon embark on a different career path. Vic Davalillo, age 44, was the oldest Aragua Tiger in 1980-81. Davalillo, in 1981-82, had a .413 AVG (43 hits/104 AB). David Concepción played in 56 of the team’s 66 games that winter. Infielder Ron Washington was an Aragua import, 1981-82. “Segui and Vic Davalillo were amazing,” recalled Washington. “Winter ball was helpful, not just from a playing standpoint, but seeing how veterans like Seguí and Davalillo conducted themselves.” Seguí retired at 45 after five starts and a 2-2 record in 1982-83. Luis Peñalver, age 41, was the second oldest Aragua hurler; and, [Vic] Davalillo (46), their oldest player. Ron Washington returned for part of 1982-83; 25-year old Dan Gladden was a Tiger import, too.

Miguel Dupouy Gómez summarized Seguí’s Venezuelan League achievements, via a June 16, 2020 e-mail to the author:

# Eddie Watt of LaGuaira also won 12 games in 1967-68.

Seguí (95-58) had a 2.76 career regular season ERA in Venezuela and 1.182 WHIP, allowing 1,158 hits and 319 walks in 1,249.2 innings. He had 68 CG in 167 starts. His complete record in Venezuela can be found at: http://www.pelotabinaria.com.ve/beisbol/mostrar.php?ID=segudie001

Coaching Career (1986-1990)

Seguí got a call from Orlando Gómez, manager of the 1986-87 Ponce Lions, to be his pitching coach in Puerto Rico. Gómez replaced Art Howe, who led Ponce to a 24-29 record, and fifth-place finish (of six teams) in 1985-86. Ponce’s best 1986-87 starter was David Cone (6-2, 2.43 ERA), who had the league’s second-best ERA and second-most strikeouts. Cone completed three of his 10 Ponce starts, preparing for a fine MLB career. Doug Jones, Ponce’s closer, edged Cone in strikeouts, 46-to-45, in posting a 1.91 ERA, in 47 innings. (Cone pitched 70.2 innings.) “That winter was very helpful to my big-league career,” said Jones. “I led the league in saves (nine) and appreciated the competition, my manager and pitching coach [Seguí].”

Ponce (34-19) finished first, followed by Caguas (31-23), Mayagüez (26-26) and San Juan (25-28). The Lions came in second (7-5) in the four-team round-robin, behind 8-4 Caguas. Then, Caguas won the finals, four games-to-two. Game Six, January 29, 1987, was a Classic. With one out in the sixth frame, the game was delayed by rain for 45 minutes. When play resumed, the lights went out. Power was restored an hour later, but the drizzle persisted. Orlando Gómez told Fred Rehm of The San Juan Star: “We want to finish this up. The Lord put us here and I want to take advantage of it. We still have a chance.” But league president Guigo Otero Suro declared

the game official around 3 a.m., Friday, January 30, 1987, a 9-3 win by Caguas. And Caguas went on to win the February 1987 Caribbean Series in Mexico, reinforced by David Cone.

In 1987 and 1988, Seguí was the pitching coach for the Pocatello Giants, short-season Pioneer League. They were part of the San Francisco Giants system. Dominican Rafael Landestoy was the 1987 Pocatello skipper; Jack Hiatt did so in 1988. Seguí concluded his minor-league coaching with the Class A Everett Giants, Northwest League.

The author met David Seguí, Baltimore Orioles 1B, and son of Diego Seguí, at Camden Yards, during the 1992 AL season. David was in one game for the Ponce Lions several years earlier. He spoke highly of his father. Five plus years later (December 1997), when David signed a contract with the Seattle Mariners, he reported that his dad still threw 200 pitches each day. “Maybe he’s [Diego Seguí] thinking about a comeback, I don’t know,” David told The Tacoma News Tribune. “He’d definitely be the ancient Mariner.”

Career Pitching Comparisons of two Lions: Seguí and Tiant

Seguí (377 wins) and Tiant (400 wins) won a combined 777 victories in their careers. They were young teammates with the 1960-61 Havana Lions; pitched together on very good Caracas Lions clubs, late-1960s and early 1970s; were teammates with the 1983 Yucatán Lions in Mexico. Tiant pitched for the 1964-65 Ponce Lions; Seguí was pitching coach, 1986-87 Ponce Lions.

Table V: Diego Seguí, W-L Record by League-Series, 1958-1985

League-seriesW-L/PCTHonors
Pedro Betancourt League, Cuba8-1, .889Best pitcher, one no-hitter
Cuban Winter League1-5, .167 
Nicaraguan Winter League#11-5, .688 
1962 Interamerican Series0-2, .000 
1963 Interamerican Series0-1, .000 
Puerto Rico Winter League5-8, .385 
Mexican League (AAA)96-61, .611June 21, 1978 perfect game
Venezuela Pro Baseball League95-58, .6212003 Venezuela League HOF
Venezuela League post-season14-6, .700Six league championships
Caribbean Series (1973, ‘78, ‘80)4-0, 1.0002004 Caribbean Series HOF
Major-league baseball (MLB)92-111, .4531969 Seattle Pilots MVP; 1970 AL ERA leader, 2.56
1971 AL Championship Series0-1, .000Started Game Three
U.S. minor leagues51-45, .5311976 PCL ERA leader, 3.18
Total W-L, PCT377-304, .554 

# Estimated Seguí’s Nicaragua W-L based on June 14, 2020 interview with the author.

Seguí probably won some Mexican League post-season games, not included here.

Table VI: Luis Tiant, W-L Record by League-Series, 1959-1983, and 1989

League-seriesW-L/PCTHonors
Cuban Winter League10-8, .5561960-61 Rookie of the Year
1962 Interamerican Series2-1, .667Reinforced Mayagüez
Puerto Rico Winter League15-16, .484 
Puerto Rico Post-Season1-1, .500 
Mexican League (AAA)48-51, .485 
Venezuela Pro Baseball League37-24, .6071967-68 ERA leader (1.34)
Venezuela League post-season6-8, .429Two league championships
MLB229-172, .5711968 (1.60) and 1972 (1.91) ERA Leader
1975 AL Championship Series1-0, 1.000Defeated Oakland
1975 World Series2-0, 1.000Defeated Cincinnati twice
U.S. minor leagues49-25, .66215-1, Portland, 1964 PCL
1989 Senior League0-1, .000Traded for 500 teddy bears
Total W-L, PCT400-307, .566 

Hall of Fame Honors for Seguí

Seguí traveled to Santo Domingo for the February 1-6, 2004 Caribbean Series, but more importantly, to attend his Caribbean Series Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. A year earlier (2003), he was inducted in the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but could not attend that special ceremony. “Winston Llenas, my first manager in Mexico, was there with his wife,” recalled Seguí. “When they introduced me, the Cuban National Anthem was played. I ‘lost it…’ will never forget that moment. It had been a very long time since I heard the anthem.”

Another reason the above-mentioned ceremony was so special was re-connecting with Luis “Tite” Arroyo and Víctor Pellot Power, in Santo Domingo. Arroyo was inducted in 2002, but also attended the 2004 ceremony. Power, Luis Rodríguez Olmo and Carmelo Martínez—trio from Puerto Rico—were inducted with Seguí, along with George Bell (Dominican Republic) and Monchín Pichardo (Dominican League executive). Seguí was quite pleased to receive his 2003 Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame plaque, from Venezuelan officials, who attended this 2004 ceremony in Santo Domingo.

In 2006, the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame, based in San Francisco, California, inducted Seguí in their Hall of Fame. Bert Campaneris, Seguí’s Kansas City and Oakland A’s roommate, was also inducted the same year, in a separate ceremony. Seguí was invited back to Seattle to throw the first pitch, prior to a Mariners-Oakland A’s contest, September 8, 2012. It was part of the Mariners 35th Anniversary Celebration. That evening, the Mariners wore home white jerseys with the name “Marineros” across the front. Seguí’s SABR bio by Joanne Hulbert is at https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/diego-segui/  His major-league career stats can be located at: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/seguidi01.shtml 

With deep appreciation to Diego Seguí, for his time and goodwill, June 14 and 24, 2020. Thanks to Eduardo Almada (Seguí in Mexico), Monte Cely, Jorge Colón Delgado, Miguel Dupouy Gómez, Orlando Gómez, Carlos González-Mariche, Paul Hartzell, Juan Antonio Jasso Rodríguez, Doug Jones, Tony Piña Campora, Germán J. Rivas, Ron Washington and Luis Tiant.

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