Angel Moreno Veneroso
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 9", Weight 165 lb.
- Debut August 15, 1981
- Final Game June 25, 1982
- Born June 6, 1955 in Soledad de Doblado, Veracruz Mexico
Counting winter ball, pitcher Angel Moreno has won over 420 games in 31 seasons as a professional pitcher.
1975-1980: with Aguascalientes: starting at the beginning of the alphabet
He began his long career with the 1975 Aguascalientes Rieleros, beating fellow long-timer Julio Franco into the pro ranks by three years. Moreno went 0-1 with a 12.00 ERA and a WHIP of 2.33 in three relief appearances that year. In '76, Angel went 5-5 with a 4.19 ERA and entered the rotation on a regular basis. In 1977, Moreno went 12-5 with one save and a 2.89 ERA. His fourth year with the Rieleros marked a continued rise to 15-8, 2.83 with 3 saves. He slipped to 12-17, 3.35 in 1979 with a career-high 18 complete games. He was only one loss shy of leading the Mexican League. Moreno bounced back with a 14-3, 2.08 season with only one homer allowed in 147 IP in the strike-shortened 1980 LMB season and tied for fifth in the Liga in wins. He just missed the top 10 in ERA, never having made it to that point.
1981-1985: in the US
Moreno was purchased by the California Angels in 1981. He was 1-0, 4.76 for the Salt Lake City Gulls and 1-3, 2.87 (a 128 ERA+) for the 1981 Angels. On September 22, he pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings against the 1981 White Sox before Don Aase got the final out. In '82, the left-hander was 5-0 but with a 5.73 ERA for the Spokane Indians. While he would still be pitching professionally 24 years later, he finished his big-league career by going 3-7 with one save and a 4.74 ERA for the 1982 Angels. He beat both Ron Guidry and Gaylord Perry that season. Overall, in MLB, he went 4-10, 4.02 (a 98 ERA+). The Veracruz native was 8-13, 5.73 for the '83 Edmonton Trappers and tied for the Pacific Coast League lead in losses. The next year, at age 28/29, Moreno went 0-3, 6.89 for Edmonton and 2-3, 3.59 for the Evansville Triplets. He made five relief appearances for the 1985 Pittsfield Cubs, allowing 7 runs in 7 innings and losing both decisions to go 16-21 in the US-based minors.
1986-1994: Arm of the Tigers
Angel returned to Mexico in 1986 as a 30-year-old who had not been successful for several years. It was the busiest offensive season in LMB history but the new Mexico City Tigers hurler held his own, going 14-6 with a 3.94 ERA. He was 11th in the Liga in ERA and tied for sixth in wins. In '87, Moreno was nearly identical (14-7, 3.94); he was 13th in ERA and tied for seventh in victories. 1988 was the year of a career-high five shutouts as Moreno went 13-10, 2.68. He was 7th in ERA and third in shutouts. In '89, the left-hander went 15-8 with a 3.84 ERA and 15 complete games, his second-highest total. He was part of an 8-way tie for third in the Liga in victories. 1990 presented his lowest LMB ERA to that point (2.81) and a 10-5 record. He was 9th in the Liga in ERA. Turning 35 the next year, he had a 12-4, 3.61 pitching line. He was 8th in ERA and tied for fifth in wins. The Tigers won the title in 1992 and Moreno helped out with a career-high 18 wins (losing 7) with a 3.28 ERA. He was part of a 3-way tie for second in the LMB in wins that season. In '93, he was rocked, going 0-4 at age 36/37, saving one and posting a 5.96 ERA. For the first time since '76, he had failed to win 10 games when pitching in the Liga and failed to record 100 strikeouts for the first time in Mexico in 16 years. He was resilient, though, and in his 9th season with Mexico City, he went 12-10, 4.84. He was clearly off of his earlier pace, though. Through his age 38/39 season, he had won 167 games in Mexico, a good but hardly great number for a pitcher seemingly near the end of the line.
1995-1998: Glory years after his 40th birthday
In 1995, Moreno went 16-3 with a 3.20 ERA for the Nuevo Laredo Owls, just the fourth pro franchise of his career. He led the LMB in wins for the first time despite turning 40. His winning percentage was not the best, though, as Francisco Cordova went unbeaten.
Moreno also pitched that year for the President Lions, going 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three games.
Pitching for the Owls and Tigers in '96, his record was 10-6 with a 2.90 ERA and three shutouts, the second-highest total of his career. He slipped to 5-10, 3.18 for the Minatitlan Potros and Yucatan Lions. Turning 43 during the '98 campaign, he still put together arguably his best year yet. He went 13-6 (tied for 4th in the LMB in wins) and had a 1.96 ERA, edging Narciso Elvira by .04 for the Liga lead. Through this date, none of his outstanding years nor record-chasing had drawn comment in the season-end summaries in the Baseball Almanac.
1998-1999:Twirling in Taiwan
The old-timer moved to Taiwan late in 1998, going 4-1 with a 3.20 ERA in 7 games for the Weichuan Dragons in his 24th season. In the 1998 Taiwan Series, he beat the Sinon Bulls in game 1 but lost 4. The Dragons would win it all in six games. He spent 1999 in the Chinese Professional Baseball League again. He went 8-8 with a 3.21 ERA for the Dragons, the third-lowest ERA on the league's championship club. He had now pitched for the Gulls, Cubs, Owls, Dragons, Bulls, Lions and Tigers (no Bears, but the Cubs might count). Oh my!
2000-??:More Mexico. Records and a 50th birthday
In 2000, Angel returned to the LMB and recorded his 16th and final seasons with double-digit wins there. He went 13-8 for the Mexico City Red Devils, becoming a devil 18 years after he had been an Angel. His ERA was high at 5.41 and for the first time in Mexico, he gave up 20 homers, but he was part of a five-way tie for the Liga lead in wins, topping that leaderboard for the second time, both times after age 40.
At this point in time, he was 223-133 in LMB with a 3.41 ERA, 153 complete games, 7 saves, 1,1913 strikeouts, 1,158 walks and 3,140 innings. He was 5th all-time in starts (446) and innings, 4th in wins, 22nd in losses, sixth in winning percentage among those with 2,000+ innings, in the top 20 in complete games, third in strikeouts and fifth in walks. Of course, as he was 45 now, how much longer could he advance his records?
Moreno was 9-11, 3.86 for the Veracruz Eagle in 2001 then followed with a 9-9, 3.80 season. He finally drew notice in the Baseball Almanac as he surpassed Antonio Pollorena for third on the all-time win list. In 2003, at age 47/48, Angel went 8-4 with one save and a 2.27 ERA, second in the LMB behind only Dan Serafini. He came close to his second ERA title after age 42 after attaining none previously. The Veracruz lefty was again ignored by Baseball America's LMB summary.
Angel began to decline in 2004 with a 8-6, 3.56 year. He still led the Eagle in ERA and he moved to second all-time in the Mexican League in wins, passing up Alfredo Ortiz for the most victories by a southpaw. Only Ramon Arano had won more, but he was 77 ahead. Moreno still was 6-5 for the 2005 Veracruz club but his ERA rose to 5.95; in a high-octane era, he was still around Liga average in earned run average. Turning 50 years old, he was amazingly managing to throw his fastball in the 90s at that ripe old age. At that point in time, he had 263 wins, 71 behind Arano. His 2,210 strikeouts are third-best behind Jesus Rios and Arano. In the Mexican Pacific League, he is 134-109, third all-time in wins and fourth in strikeouts (1,271).
Moreno's 2006 season was a major letdown, marking the third straight year of significant decline. He was 0-2 with a 10.57 for Veracruz and 0-0, 10.12 in three games for the Red Devils. He coached for the Mexican national team in the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Sources: Many Baseball Guides, 1986-2006 Baseball Almanacs or Baseball America Statistics Reports, The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros, Viva Beisbol newsletter by Bruce Baskin (9/15/05 edition), Minorleaguebaseball.com for 2006 statistics, Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database