Luis «Tite» Arroyo: Puerto Rico Winter League and Caribbean Series Hall of Famer, and 1961 New York Yankees Ace Reliever (Part II)

Tite Arroyo

Tite Arroyo showcased his talent for 10 San Juan (S.J.) Senators seasons: 1955-56 to 1964-65. He reinforced 1958-59 Águilas Cibaeñas, LIDOM playoffs; 1958-59 Santurce Crabbers, February 1959 Caribbean Series, Caracas; helped 1959 Havana Sugar Kings win Junior World Series. Arroyo pitched for two Puerto Rico Winter League (PRWL) champs: 1960-61 and 1963-64 S.J. Senators; reinforced Mayagüez, 1962 Inter-American Series. He managed SJ (1962-63); Ponce (1965-68), Caguas (1968-69), Mexico’s Reynosa Broncs (1967/1968), Poza Rica Oilers (1978).

In 1961, he saved 29 games for New York (N.Y.) Yankees, most in team history until Sparky Lyle’s 35 (1972). Lindy McDaniel tied Arroyo with 29 in 1970. Tables I-II are reprinted from Part I. «Save» became an official big-league statistic, in 1969, per Jerome Holtzman’s research—retroactively tabulated for pitchers pre-1969.

Table I: 13+ Single-Season Saves, NY Yankees, 1927-1969

Tite Arroyo196129
Joe Page194927
Johnny Sain195426
Johnny Murphy193919
Bob Grim195719
Ryne Duren195819
Marshall Bridges196218
Hal Reniff196318
Pedro Ramos196518
Dooley Womack196718
Joe Page1947/194817/16
Johnny Murphy194115
Ryne Duren195914
Wilcy Moore192713
Joe Page195013
Allie Reynolds195313
Pedro Ramos196613


Table II: Career Saves Leaders Top 15 N.Y. Yankees
1Mariano Rivera652
2Dave Righetti224
3Aroldis Chapman153
4Goose Gossage151
5Sparky Lyle141
6Johnny Murphy104
7Steve Farr78
8Joe Page76
9John Wetteland74
10Lindy McDaniel58
11David Robertson53
12Andrew Miller45
13Rafael Soriano44
14Luis Arroyo43
 Ryne Duren43


1955-59 S.J. Senators, 1956 Hollywood Stars, 1959 Caribbean Series and 1959 Sugar Kings

Arroyo, winningest hurler in S.J. franchise history: 59-36 W-L, .621 PCT, topped José «Palillo» Santiago: 57-46, .553 (12 seasons); and, Rafael Montalvo: 52-34, .605 (18 campaigns), one with 1982-83 Bayamón Cowboys—3-1, and 49-33 with San Juan. Arroyo’s PRWL, minor-league and major league stats are at:

Arroyo’s 1955-59 SJ seasons, minor-leagues, 1958-59 LIDOM playoffs, 1959 Caribbean Series:

  • 1955-56—encouraged to throw screwball by skipper Al Hollingsworth, who replaced deposed S.J. manager George Genovese. Arroyo led 36-36 Senators in wins (9); was 0-1 in the semis versus Caguas, league champs. (Part I: Rubén Gómez helped Arroyo «develop» his screwball, 1952 LIDOM.) By 1959, it was Arroyo’s «out pitch.»
  • 1956 Pacific Coast League (PCL)—Hollywood Stars skipper Clay Hopper managed Jackie Robinson, 1946 Montreal Royals. Hopper was «pleased with Arroyo’s 1956 work ethic and toughness,» per the author’s interview with C-OF Danny Kravitz, Arroyo’s 1955-56 S.J. and 1956 Hollywood Stars teammate. «Luis was our best [1955-56] S.J. and Hollywood pitcher,» recalled Kravitz. «Joe Montalvo caught him with S.J. I caught him with Hollywood.» Arroyo went 14-for-39 for Hollywood, .359 B.A.; four doubles.
  • 1956-57—S.J. manager Ralph Houk was impressed with Arroyo (11-9, 152 IP, 3.20 ERA) for 40-33 S.J. Arroyo defeated Caguas, one day’s rest, in a third-place tie-breaker. Houk, per Arroyo, said, after the 1961 big league season: «That man [Arroyo] showed me five years ago he could pitch, and I’m not taking credit for Arroyo being with this [Yankee] ballclub, but this man shows me he wants to pitch and that’s why he’s having some success in the big leagues.» Johnny Blanchard caught Arroyo with S.J. and was his 1960-1963 Yankees teammate. Arroyo deprived Roberto Clemente of .400 B.A. when Clemente went 1-for-4 in the tie-breaker to finish at .396 (89 hits/225 AB).


Ralph Houk
  • 1957-58 and 1958-59—Luis Olmo managed Arroyo. S.J. finished third (33-31); first (36-28), respectively, but lost in the semi-finals twice. In 1958-59, Arroyo (9-6), Ray Rippelmeyer (11-5), Chris Nicolosi (10-5), and Ron Negray (4-1) combined for 34 Senators’ wins. S.J. lost four/seven semi-final games, with Arroyo (1-1), Negray (1-1), Rippelmeyer (1-1), and Nicolosi (0-1).
  • On December 3, 1958, Pittsburgh traded Arroyo to Cincinnati for 1B-OF Nino Escalera, his S.J. teammate!
  • Arroyo, Escalera, and Rippelmeyer reinforced Águilas Cibaeñas, 1958-59 LIDOM playoffs. Arroyo pitched twice (one start) in semis—0-1, 10.2 IP, 8 hits, 13 K, 1 B.B., 0.84 ERA, 0.84 WHIP.
  • Cincinnati’s 1959 Class AAA International League franchise, Havana Sugar Kings, played home games in Havana’s «Grand Stadium,» the site of Cuban Winter League contests. Bobby Maduro, co-owner, Cienfuegos Elephants, was Sugar Kings majority owner. He came from a Sephardic Jewish family who migrated to Cuba from Curacao early 20th century. 
  • Preston Gómez managed the «Cubanos» to the 1959 Junior World Series crown over Minneapolis Millers, American Association champs (Boston Red Sox affiliate). Games 3-7 were held in Havana. Sugar Kings won Game 7. Carl Yastrzemski played 2B for the Millers. Table III has Sugar Kings’ regular season pitching stats.

Table III: Havana Sugar Kings 1959 Pitching Stats (Nine Primary Hurlers)

Tite Arroyo4108-9117751594391.150.97
Ted Wieand381316-1121718777123703.191.18
Walter Craddock29712-916914149111652.611.22
Raúl Sánchez41611-51451525088333.101,28
Miguel Cuéllar291110-1121218466111572.801.14
Emilio Cueche25109-81551486870483.951.26
Vicente Amor2569-81321216743454.571.26
Pedro Carrillo3913-390723368431.281.28
Don Rudolph1511-437482725126.571.62
Others*  1-5       

*N.A. Source: Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, Jorge S. Figueredo, McFarland, 2003.

1959 Caribbean Series in Caracas, Venezuela (VZA)

Monchile Concepción, 1958-1959 Santurce Crabbers skipper, and GM Pedrín Zorrilla asked Arroyo to reinforce them in Caracas, four-team round-robin event, with Nino Escalera (S.J.); Vic Power, and Lloyd Merritt, with Caguas. Rubén Gómez beat Almendares (Cuba), February 10, 1959 opener, 2-1. Tony Alomar singled; Jackie Brandt tripled; Orlando Cepeda and Power were intentionally walked, and Bob Lennon delivered a walk-off single. Orlando Peña took the loss. On February 11, Arroyo faced Oriente, Venezuela’s entry. Santurce led, 5-2, with Oriente’s runs via two solo H.R.s by Norm Cash. Arroyo gave up three straight hits and a run in the home ninth. Pete Wojey was summoned. Cash tied it with a two-run double; Ted Obregón drove in Cash with the game-winner. Santurce finished 3-3, behind Almendares (5-1). Oriente (4-2). Panamá’s Cocle Azucareros were winless, 0-6. Table IV includes Arroyo’s Caribbean Series records.

Table IV: Arroyo’s Caribbean Series Statistics

PanamáSJ19521 0-00.220000.003.00
PRCaguas19543 1-07.130420.000.68
VZASanturce19591 0-0875535.631.25
Totals  713-031.121820132.301.09

Source: Tony Piña Campora, December 15, 2022.

SJ: 1959-60 to 1961-62 and 1961 Inter-American Series

Arroyo sparkled in 1959-60 (11-4, 76 I.P., 2.36 ERA) and, 1960-61, his MVP season: 10-2, 71 I.P., 50 K, 1.64 ERA. S.J. won regular season titles: 41-23 and 39-25, and 1960-61 playoffs. Ray Rippelmeyer, Arroyo’s 1959-60 teammate, reinforced Caguas, 1960 Caribbean Series, in Panamá. «I won our only (1959-60) Finals game against Caguas,» noted Rippelmeyer. «Vic Power asked me to reinforce Caguas. Luis had a super personality and was a great teammate.»

The 1960-61 Senators traveled to Caracas, February 1961 Inter-American Series,  featuring two host country teams, Panamá, and Puerto Rico. Valencia Industrialists, propelled by Bob Gibson’s two gems against S.J., plus a tie-breaker win over Rapiños (VZA), won it. Arroyo saved Juan Pizarro’s 7-6 win over Panamá, on February 14.

Arturito López Remembers Tite Arroyo

Art López

Arturito López was a 24-year-old New York Yankees prospect, out of Class D ball, after four years in the U.S. Navy. His Arecibo Wolves hosted S.J. in the late 1961-62 season. With bases loaded and Arroyo pitching, López doubled over Roberto Clemente in C.F. López «had a future in baseball» after this. Before that A.B., as López recalled, «Manager (Luis Olmo) made signs for a pinch-hitter, 18-year old rookie Sandy Alomar Sr. [Olmo, as a scout, had signed Alomar for the Milwaukee Braves in 1960]. I walked over to Olmo, the third-base coach, and asked, ‘What the hell are you doing? I’ve faced better pitchers in minors.’ Olmo replied: ‘If that’s true, go hit.'»»

López found out Arroyo was pissed when the veteran heard the comment that a Class D rookie had faced better pitchers. A high-caliber lefty was supposed to retire a D-ball player and lefty hitter. «»That’s how I became a regular in Arecibo. We became good friends.» López was the first Yankee player (1965) from Puerto Rico initially signed by them. Arroyo became the first Puerto Rico-born player to play for the Bronx Bombers when N.Y. purchased his contract from Jersey City, on July 20, 1960.

Emilio Cueche, 2nd, and Tite Arroyo, 3rd, L to R, 1960 Jersey City. Photo credit:

S.J. and PRWL Highlights plus 1962 and 1964 Inter-American Series

  • Reinforced Mayagüez, February 6-14, 1962 Inter-American Series, at Escobar Stadium. Santurce (8-1) won over Caracas (5-4), Mayagüez (4-5) and Marlboro (1-8). Arroyo (0-1) had two saves: Luis Tiant’s 12-8 win over Santurce, on February 11, and Bob Dustal’s 10-7 win over Caracas, February 9.
  • Replaced manager Napoleón Reyes on December 20, 1962. José “Palillo” Santiago went 10-2, 2.44 ERA.

                        Palillo Santiago, SJ Senators. Photo credit:

  • Bob Turley, Arroyo’s Yankee teammate (1960-1962) pitched one game for S.J.; then, was substituted, 1962-63 roster, by SS Phil Linz, another Yankee.
  • In 1963-64, S.J.’s (35-35) late-season winning streak, under skipper Les Moss, who replaced Joe Buzas, included a playoff title. Arroyo pitched 22.1 regular season innings: 1-0, 1.21 ERA. Roberto Clemente (.345 B.A.) was their best hitter.
  • Arroyo retired with 110 PRWL career wins, third, behind Juan Pizarro (174) and Rubén Gómez (157). His 1,722.1 IP were third. Gómez (2,486.1) and Pizarro (2,403) were 1-2. Arroyo’s 942 strikeouts and 3.04 ERA were fifth, 1,000+ I.P.

Arroyo traveled to Managua, Nicaragua, 1964 Inter-American Series. S.J. was favored over Cinco Estrellas and Oriental—Nicaragua’s entries—and Panamá’s Marlboro Smokers. On February 4, S.J. trounced Oriental, 15-2, behind Palillo Santiago. Deacon Jones and Cocó Laboy homered. Pizarro lost Game 2. Cinco Estrellas edged S.J., 9-8 (10 innings), on February 6; Arroyo relieved Joel Horlen in the fifth. Arturito López, Cinco Estrellas’ hero, Game 6 (February 9), had the key hit in a 4-3 win over S.J. but didn’t attend the party at General Somoza’s castle. Cinco Estrellas was Somoza’s team. López visited with S.J. 2B-Yankees prospect Horace Clarke, during the Series. Standings: Cinco Estrellas (5-1), S.J. (3-3), Marlboro (3-3), Oriental (1-5).

Table V: Arroyo’s Managing Career-PRWL and Mexico

1962-63S.J.9-16.360Interim; replaced Nap Reyes.
1965-66Latin American All-Star Team1-01.000Defeated Wayne Blackburn’s North Americans.
1966-67Latin American All-Star Team1-01.000Defeated Earl Weaver’s North Americans.
Semi-finalsPonce (3x) and Caguas (1x)11-12.478Advanced to finals 2x with Ponce, 1965-66, 1966-67.
FinalsPonce (2x)4-8.333Managed versus Blackburn and Weaver.
1967Reynosa Broncs80-60.5712nd
1968Reynosa Broncs69-71.4935th
1978Poza Rica OilersNANA 
TotalEight (8) seasons330-294.529First, 1966-67 regular season.

Sources: Jorge Colón Delgado; The Sporting News, 1962-1963; Encyclopedia of

Minor League Baseball, 2007, edited by Lloyd Johnson and Miles Wolff.

Two PRWL All-Star Games with MGR Arroyo

Arroyo managed Latin American All-Stars, PRWL All-Star Game, Three Kings Day—January 6, 1966—and January 1, 1967. A 3-2 win in 1966 preceded a 5-1 victory in 1967. Santurce’s Orlando Cepeda homered in the 1967 game, won by Juan Pizarro. Wayne Blackburn and Earl Weaver, respectively, were North American All-Star skippers, per Tables VI-VII. U.S. Virgin Islanders Joe Christopher and Horace Clarke played for the Latin American squad. Ditto for Cubans’ Tony Pérez and José Cardenal; Panamá native Dave Roberts; Dominican Jesús Alou.

Table VI: January 6, 1966 PRWL All-Star Game Rosters

Latin American All-Stars (3)POSNorth American All-Stars (2)POS
Buco Domínguez (SJ)PJohn Boozer (A)P
Rubén Gómez (S)PGeorge Culver (A)P
Tito González (P)PJohn Hiller (M)P
Julio Navarro (C)PGrant Jackson (C)P
José “Palillo” Santiago (SJ)PFerguson Jenkins (C)P
Orlando McFarlane (P)C  
Pascual Ramírez (A)CBill Singer (SJ)P
Héctor Valle (M)CThad Tillotson (A)P
Tony Pérez (S)1B-3BBill Wilson (S)P
Horace Clarke (P)2B-SSPat Corrales (C)C
Félix Torres (P)3BDuane Josephson (SJ)C
José Pagán (C)SSWillard Davis (A)1B
Angel Luis Alcaraz (S)2BPaul Schaal (P)2B
Edwin Pacheco (P)UTJoy Foy (C)3B
Santiago Rosario (P)1BRay Oyler (M)SS
José Cardenal (A)CFDanny Cater (SJ)LF
Joe Christopher (C)OFJim Northrup (M)CF
Félix Juan Maldonado (S)LFRoger Repoz (P)CF
Samuel Parrilla (A)RFDick Simpson (P)RF
Jesús (Jay) Alou (SJ)CFMickey Stanley (M)OF
Dave Roberts (C)OF-1B  
Tite Arroyo (P)MGRWayne Blackburn (M)MGR

Table VII: January 1, 1967 PRWL All-Star Game Rosters

Latin American All-Stars (5)POSNorth American All-Stars (1)POS
James Gillman (SJ)PJohn Boozer (A)P
Rubén Gómez (S)PNelson Briles (P)P
Julio Navarro (C)PTed Davidson (S)P
Juan “Terín” Pizarro (S)PGrant Jackson (C)P
José “Palillo” Santiago (SJ)PDarrell Osteen (S)P
Luis Isaac (A)C  
Eliseo Rodríguez (C)CRuss Gibson (SJ)C
Héctor Valle (M)CLarry Haney (S)C
Orlando Cepeda (S)1BTommie Aaron (A)1B
Félix Millán (C)2BJim Beauchamp (C)1B
Tony Pérez (S)3BDeacon Jones (SJ)1B
José Pagán (C)SSRoy White (P)2B
Wito Conde (M)3BJoe Foy (C)3B
José Martínez (A)UTRay Oyler (M)SS
Orlando Martinez (SJ)SSPaul Blair (S)CF
Tony González (SJ)LF-CFDanny Cater (C)LF
Félix Juan Maldonado (S)LFDave May (S)RF
Samuel Parrilla (A)RFRoger Repoz (P)CF
Jaime Rosario (A)CFDick Simpson (P)RF
Gilberto Torres (S)LFWalter Williams (A)LF
Ozzie Virgil Sr. (M)IF-OF  
Tite Arroyo (P)MGREarl Weaver (S)MGR

A=Arecibo, C=Caguas, M=Mayagüez, P=Ponce, SJ=San Juan, S=Santurce.

Sources: Paloviejo en los Deportes, Barceló Marqués & Co., October 1966 and 1967.

Arroyo’s Links to Cardinals and Yankees

Arroyo managed Roger Repoz, Roy White, Horace Clarke, Steve Carlton, and Nelson Briles with Ponce. In 1968-69, he managed Bobby Murcer with Caguas. Arroyo, Ponce’s G.M., in the mid-late 1970s, arranged for Ken Boyer to manage them and prospect, Keith Hernández, to reinforce them. «I secured Roger Freed, 1976-77 and 1977-78, for Ponce,» said Arroyo, who «didn’t enjoy dealing with players’ agents.» Arroyo worked for Commonwealth Oil Refinery (CORCO), in Peñuelas, once «among largest independent petroleum refiners and petrochemical producers in the world.»

Yogi Berra on Arroyo’s Screwball

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra, in 1961, told a UPI reporter: «The screwball works two ways for Luis. For one thing, it’s a difficult pitch to hit. And, for another, the hitter seems to be always looking for it, enabling Luis to fool ‘em with his fast one or his other curve.» Arroyo «refined» his screwball in the 1950s. By 1960, he used it most of the time. Table VIII has Arroyo’s 1961 World Series stats.

Table VIII: NY Yankees 1961 World Series Pitching Stats

Tite Arroyo201-0441322.25
Jim Coates100-0410210.00
Bud Daley201-0750300.00
Whitey Ford212-01460710.00
Bill Stafford100-06.272522.70
Ralph Terry200-19.1125724.82

Source: Baseball Reference.


Arroyo saved 13 of Ford’s 25 wins. Ford invited him to his 1961 Cy Young acceptance speech. Ford spoke for seven minutes; called up Arroyo to talk for two minutes! «Whitey helped me out that winter,» Arroyo noted. «I made six trips [States] to do commercials with him and made around $30,000.» (Arroyo’s 1961 World Series winning share was $7,389.13.) I’m almost 35; I had a few drinks and overate. I’m overweight and made a mistake by not playing [most of] that winter…cost me my ten years in the big leagues. I only got six years and two months.»  


In 1992, Arroyo was inducted into Puerto Rico’s (P.R.) Professional Baseball Hall of Fame. As Ponce’s 1993-94 G.M., he helped Lions’ owner Pantalones Santiago. In 2002, the Caribbean Series Hall of Fame welcomed him. Latino Baseball Hall of Fame voted for him in—2012. Arroyo passed away in Guayanilla, January 13, 2016, at 88. On December 16, 2022, his San Juan (Palillo Santiago) and Havana (Miguel Cuéllar) teammates were inducted into P.R. Professional Baseball Hall of Fame. Special thanks to Tite Arroyo, Rory Costello, Rubén Gómez, Arturito López, and Tony Piña Campora. And to Héctor Díaz Salichs, Ralph Houk, Danny Kravitz, Ray Rippelmeyer, José «Palillo» Santiago, José «Pantalones» Santiago, and Freddie Thon, Jr. Jorge Colón Delgado, Official Historian, Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League, and Coordinator, PR Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, did the editing-photo placements.

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