Thursday, January 28, 2016

Countdown to 2016 Topps #6: The Sixth of July

"In baseball there's no such thing as a small enemy."~ Fernando Valenzuela.

Acting on a tip about a young shortstop in a league down in Mexico, Dodger scout Mike Brito instead found himself in awe of a young 17-year old lefty with a good fastball and an above-average curve. A year later, Dodger team VP Al Campanis traveled south of the border to catch a glimpse of the kid and liked what he saw. 

Despite being offered more money by the Yankees for Fernando's contract, Puebla (Mexican League) team owner Jaime Avella kept true to a promise he had made earlier to Campanis, that the Dodgers would be given the first shot at the future NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award winner.

And on July 6, 1979, Fernando Valenzuela was sold to the Los Angeles Dodgers for $120,000- preventing the Evil Empire from adding even more star power to its roster and cementing the cultural phenomenon known as 'Fernandomania.'

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