Venezuelan Bust, Baseball Boom: Andraes Reiner and Scouting on the New Frontier

By Milton H. Jamail | Go to book overview

14
Andrés’s Dream and
the Future of the
Astros in Venezuela

When Andrés left the Astros, there was no public announcement and no press release from the organization. There was no mention of Andrés’s departure in the Houston Chronicle, no discussion of his leaving on Houston talk radio, and there was no fanfare and no celebration when he went to the Astros’ offices at Minute Maid Park on the last day of November 2005 to drop off his radar gun and computer. It would have been awkward to explain the departure of the organization’s highest-ranking Latino, especially when the Astros were taking heat (rightly or wrongly) for being the first team since the 1953 New York Yankees to play in the World Series with no African American players on the roster.

Although most in Houston were unaware Andrés had left the organization, he had delivered twenty-two major league players, at least two dozen quality prospects still in the Astros’ pipeline, and a network of coaches, instructors, scouts, and contacts that assured a continuous flow of talent. The most notable legacy of his Venezuelan venture is, of course, the players who made it to the big leagues. In the period between January 1990 and the end of 2000, Andrés and his staff signed seventy-six Venezuelans, and by September 2007 nineteen of those players — 25 percent — had played in the major leagues, including five that represented Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.1

(The three other big leaguers produced at the academy were Panama native Manuel Barrios, Devern Hansack from Nicaragua, and Felipe Paulino, who was born in the Dominican Republic.) When the baseball industry in general has only 5 to 7 percent of players signed that

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