Valenzuela will be traveling to Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico to be inducted on Feb. 3 at Universidad Sonora, Centro de Los Artes and will be joined by former manager Tommy Lasorda, Jaime Jarrin and Dodgers Executive VP Lon Rosen.
Having started his career in Sonora for the Mayos de Navojoa of the Mexican League, Valenzuela also played for Naranjeros de Hermosillo and Águilas de Mexicali in the LMP and played in the Caribbean Series. He will be honored for his career in the LMP and in Major League Baseball. Valenzuela is scheduled to travel to Hermosillo Friday to partake in the opening ceremonies of Estadio Sonora and the Caribbean Series at 6:30 p.m. Valenzuela will also throw the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 7:00 p.m. game (Mexico’s Yaquis de Obregón vs. Puerto Rico’s Criollos de Caguas).
Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame (Pabellón de la Fama del Caribe) members are voted in by journalists, radio and television broadcasters and baseball historians from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Each nominee has to receive a minimum 75 points on the ballot. Valenzuela received 175 out of a possible 200. The 2013 Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame class also includes former Major Leaguers and LMP stars Alfonso “Houston” Jiménez and Ever Magallanes.
Valenzuela went on to make his MLB debut at age 19 on Sep. 15, 1980 and is the only player in the Major Leagues to win his first eight career starts. In his first 90 innings with the Dodgers from September 1980 through May 14, 1981, Valenzuela posted a 10-0 record and 0.40 ERA. Valenzuela was the emergency starter on Opening Day, 1981 when he hurled a 2-0 shutout over Houston, one of five in his first eight starts that season. The phenomenon of “Fernandomania” that ensued traveled south to his native Sonora and throughout all of Mexico, making the Dodger pitcher one of the most significant athletes to ever come out of Mexico. While leading the Dodgers to the World Championship that year, he became the first player in Major League history to be named Rookie of the Year and win a Cy Young Award in the same season.
Valenzuela will return to the 2013 World Baseball Classic as the pitching coach for Team Mexico (2006, 2009) for the third consecutive time. He will enter his 11th season as the color commentator for the Dodgers’ Spanish-language radio broadcast, keeping “Fernandomania” alive and well in Los Angeles.