Valenzuela gave the mexicano population a kind of legitimacy

“Nicknamed El Toro, Valenzuela first ambled to the mound like some possessed vision endowed with superior gifts. The nearly unhittable left-hander was only 20, the youngest player in the National League. He was stocky, shaggy-haired, didn’t speak English. He was the seventh son, the youngest of a dozen children, reared in the Mexican hinterlands of Etchohuaquila in a home without electricity or running water. He combined the country grit of a Ring Lardner protagonist and the otherworldly aura of a Garcia Marquez creation. This was a character sprinkled with magic dust.”

Posted July 9, 2001

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