Born 14 January 1939 in Cuba, his real name was Hilario Valdespino – but he reminded Johnny Welaj, one of his minor league managers, of Sandy Amoros (whose real first name was Edmundo), and so Welaj started calling him Sandy, and, of course, it stuck. (Makes me wonder about all the other players named Sandy. Sandy Koufax? Did he ever play for Johnny Welaj?) In any case, Sandy Valdespino is a great name, no wonder it caught on. It slips off the tongue like a little bit of poetry.
Valdespino came up in 1965 with the Twins. He was a pretty fair hitter in the minors – in ’64 in Atlanta he hit .337 with 16 home runs – but he did not fare so well in the majors. 1965 was his high-water mark, I think. He hit .261 with a home run and 22 rbis in 245 at bats as the Twins won the junior circuit gonfalon. Sandy continued to play in the majors till 1971, finishing up with Kansas City, and with a lifetime average of .230.
Today Sandy is 75 years old, and reportedly lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Happy Birthday, Hilario Valdespino! Good game.