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César Tovar
Outfielder / Infielder
Born: July 3, 1940(1940-07-03)
Caracas, Venezuela
Died: July 14, 1994 (aged 54)
Caracas, Venezuela
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
April 12, 1965 for the Minnesota Twins
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1976 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Batting average     .278
Home runs     46
Runs batted in     435
Stolen bases     226
Career highlights and awards
  • AL record 164 games played in 1967
  • Led AL in doubles in 1970 with 36
  • Led AL in triples in 1970 with 13
  • Led AL in hits in 1971 with 204

César Leonardo Tovar (July 3, 1940 - July 14, 1994), nicknamed "Pepito" and "Mr. Versatility", was an infielder/outfielder and right-handed batter in Major League Baseball who played for the Minnesota Twins (1965-72), Philadelphia Phillies (1973), Texas Rangers (1974-1975), Oakland Athletics (1975-1976) and New York Yankees (1976).[1 ]


Major League career

Tovar was born in Caracas, Venezuela.[1 ] He was signed by the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1959 and, after being traded to Minnesota in late 1964, made his debut on April 12, 1965.[2][3] The Twins made ample use of his ability to play a variety of positions; by 1967, Tovar divided his fielding season between third base (70 games), center field (64), second base (36), left field (10), shortstop (9) and right field (5), setting an American League record of 164 games played and leading the league with 649 at-bats. [4] In addition, he was among the top 10 batters in runs, hits, doubles, triples, stolen bases, on base percentage, hit by pitch and sacrifice hits. [4] At the end of the 1967 season, the Triple Crown Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski received all but one vote for the American League MVP award; the lone dissenting ballot was marked in favor of Tovar.[5]

On September 22, 1968, Tovar became the second player to play every position in a game, joining Bert Campaneris (Kansas City Athletics, 1965), Scott Sheldon (Texas Rangers, 2000) and Shane Halter (Detroit Tigers, 2000) as the only players to have accomplished the feat.[6][7][8][9] Tovar started the game on the mound against Oakland and pitched one scoreless inning in which he struck out Reggie Jackson; the first batter he faced was Campaneris. Along with Campaneris, Tovar is one of only four players to have played in all of the baseball positions, including one pitching appearance and being a designated hitter.[10 ] No National League player has ever played all nine positions in one game.

On May 18, 1969, Tovar combined with Rod Carew to set a major league record for most steals by a club in one inning with five. In the third inning against a Detroit battery of Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan, Tovar stole third base and home. Carew followed by stealing second base, third base and home.[10 ][11][12] The two steals of home in the same inning also tied a record.

In 1970, Tovar ended the season with a .300 batting average, ranked third in the league in total hits with 195, and second in runs scored with 120.[13] He improved his hitting through 1971, when he hit for a .311 batting average and led the league with 204 hits.[14] In 1971, SPORT magazine polled major league players to identify the game's most competitive player. Pete Rose won; the runners-up were Frank Robinson, Bob Gibson, and César Tovar. On September 19, 1972, Tovar hit for the cycle.[15][16] After a colorful tenure as a Twin, Tovar platooned with the young Mike Schmidt at third base for the Phillies in 1973. After that, he gave the Rangers, Athletics and Yankees, three years of his versatile services.

Tovar is regarded as the all-time American League leader in breaking up no-hit attempts with five.[10 ][17][18] On April 30, 1967, Tovar's single was the only hit against the Washington Senators' Barry Moore.[19] On August 10, 1969, Mike Cuellar of the Baltimore Orioles extended his streak of consecutive batters retired to 35 before surrendering a ninth-inning single to Tovar, which also broke up Cuellar's bid for a no-hitter.[20] Earlier in the season (May 15), he broke up the no-hit bid of another Baltimore pitcher, Dave McNally.[21] Tovar was responsible for spoiling two other no-hitters during his career: against the Washington's Dick Bosman (August 13, 1970) and the Yankees' Jim "Catfish" Hunter (May 31, 1975).[22][23]

In his 12-year career, Tovar batted .278 with 46 home runs, 435 RBI, 1546 hits, 834 runs, 253 doubles, 55 triples, and 226 stolen bases in 1448 games.[1 ][24][25]

César Tovar died of pancreatic cancer in Caracas, Venezuela, at 54 years of age.[26]


Tovar was inducted into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.[27]

Related links

External links


  1. ^ a b c César Tovar at Baseball Reference
  2. ^
  3. ^ César Tovar Trades and Transactions at Baseball Almanac
  4. ^ a b 1967 American League Batting Leaders at Baseball Reference
  5. ^ 1967 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results at Baseball Reference
  6. ^ September 22, 1968 Athletics-Twins box score at Baseball Almanac
  7. ^ September 22, 1968 Athletics-Twins box score at Baseball Reference
  8. ^ The Day César Tovar Played All 9 Positions, by Emil Rothe, Baseball Digest, February 1973, Vol. 32, No. 2, ISSN 0005-609X
  9. ^ When César Tovar Played All Nine Positions in One Game by Bruce Markusen, Baseball Digest, December 1998, Vol. 57, No. 12, ISSN 0005-609X
  10. ^ a b c César Tovar at The Baseball Page
  11. ^ May 18, 1969 Tigers-Twins box score at Baseball Reference
  12. ^ May 18, 1969 Tigers-Twins box score at Baseball Almanac
  13. ^ 1970 American League Batting Leaders at Baseball Reference
  14. ^ 1971 American League Batting Leaders at Baseball Reference
  15. ^ September 19, 1972 Rangers-Twins box score at Baseball Almanac
  16. ^ September 19, 1972 Rangers-Twins box score at Baseball Reference
  17. ^ George Vass, Baseball Digest, October 1989, Vol. 48, No. 10 ISSN 0005-609X
  18. ^ Baseball Digest, August 2007, Vol. 66, No. 6 ISSN 0005-609X
  19. ^ April 30, 1967 Twins-Senators box score at Baseball Reference
  20. ^ August 10, 1969 Twins-Orioles box score at Baseball Reference
  21. ^ May 15, 1969 Orioles-Twins box score at Baseball Reference
  22. ^ August 13, 1970 Twins-Senators box score at Baseball Reference
  23. ^ May 31, 1975 Yankees-Rangers box score at Baseball Reference
  24. ^ César Tovar at Baseball Almanac
  25. ^ César Tovar at The Baseball Cube
  26. ^ César Tovar obituary at the New York Times
  27. ^ Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame at Baseball Reference


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