|Batting average .159|
Role Baseball player
Name Nino Escalera
|Runs batted in 3|
Home runs 0
Born 1 December 1929 (age 91), Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Died July 3, 2021 (aged 91) Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
Similar Nino Espinosa, Chuck Harmon, Jackie Robinson
He started his baseball career at a very young age, often playing with his brothers and neighbors from the Loiza Street in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In 1950, the New York Yankees organization obtained Escalera from the Bristol Owls of the Colonial League. In 1952, he was purchased by the Toledo Mud Hens/Charleston Senators of the American Association, and later that year, by the Cincinnati Redlegs organization.
On April 17, 1954 at Milwaukee County Stadium, a 24-year-old Escalera, standing at 5'10 and weighing 165 pounds, became the first black to play for the Cincinnati Redlegs. He entered the game as a pinch hitter, and hit a single in a 5–1 loss to the Milwaukee Braves.
Was selected and played in the 1958 International League All star game.
He played in 73 games during his only big league season, often as a pinch hitter. Season and career totals include a .159 batting average (11-for-69), 3 Runs batted in, 15 runs scored, and an on-base percentage of .234. He committed just one error in 49 total chances at OF/1B for a fielding percentage of .980. On the 22nd of May, Escalara became the last left-handed player to field at shortstop in a National League game.
Escalera worked as a scout for the New York Mets organization from 1966 to 1981. In 1982, he served as a scout for the San Francisco Giants organization. Among players signed by Escalera are retired major league players Jerry Morales, Ed Figueroa, Benny Ayala, José Oquendo and Juan Berenguer.
Escalera was a member of the Puerto Rico Baseball Hall of Fame, Río Piedras Sport Hall of Fame, Puerto Rico Sport Hall of Fame and Santurce Sport Hall of Fame. He was considered alongside Victor Pellot and Orlando Cepeda among the best first basemen in Puerto Rico history. In 2015, he was also named as one of the best 75 five baseball players ever played in Puerto Rico winter league history.
Baseball family tradition
Escalera was the pioneer of a multigenerational tradition of Major League Baseball players, scouts and baseball managers. Escalera's nephew Ruben Escalera, played for the Milwaukee Brewers minor league organization, later became a professional baseball scout and currently is a professional baseball manager. Another nephew, Alfredo Escalera, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals as the youngest player ever to be drafted by any organization.
Minor League experience
Escalera died on July 3, 2021 at the age of 91.