December 18, 1939
June 9, 1995 (aged 55)
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|August 1, 1959 for the Washington Senators|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 1971 for the Atlanta Braves|
|Runs batted in||471|
|Career highlights and awards|
Zoilo Casanova Versalles Rodriguez (December 18, 1939‚ÄďJune 9, 1995) was a Cuban shortstop in Major League Baseball, considered to be a great fielder, a solid leadoff man, and a brilliant baserunner. He was the sparkplug that led the 1965 Minnesota Twins to their first World Series. He was voted the American League Most Valuable Player in 1965.
Versalles had a hard time adjusting to life in the U.S., and was eternally homesick for his native Cuba. In 1967 he was traded by Minnesota; leading to his decline as a major talent. From that point, Versalles went from team to team, until he formally retired in 1972. He was born in El Vedado, Havana, Cuba and died in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Versalles played for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins from 1959 through 1967, the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968, the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators in 1969, and the Atlanta Braves in 1971. In 1972, he played in Japan for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. During his 1965 MVP season, he led the American League in at-bats, runs scored, doubles and triples. He was a near-unanimous winner of the MVP award, receiving 19 of the 20 first-place votes. The remaining first-place vote went to teammate and fellow Cuban Tony Oliva.
Versalles had a batting average of .252 during his six years with the Twins. Baseball statistician/historian Bill James points out that Versalles' MVP season makes him the player with the fewest career win shares (134) to win an MVP award. He had career totals of 1,046 hits, 564 runs, 86 homers, 401 RBI, and 84 stolen bases in 1,065 games. He was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame in 2006.
League Most Valuable Player