Mel Almada

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Baldomero Melo Almada Quirós

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Biographical Information[edit]

Mel Almada, brother of Lou Almada, was the first "Mexican National" to reach the major leagues and play. Lou had made the New York Giants but was injured in a pre-season caravan tour and sent to the minors never to return to the majors.

Mel was born in Mexico in a well-to-do family where his father supervised a string of ranches. His father became the Mexican Consul in Los Angeles, CA and moved his family there when Mel was 2 years old. He grew up there and came to speak perfect English. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1932. His brother was playing for the Seattle Indians in the Class AA Pacific Coast League at the time and took Mel with him. Mel was converted from pitching to playing the outfield, and in his professional debut hit .311 at the age of 19 with a career-best 6 homers. In 1933, he collected 204 hits for Seattle and batted .323, earning a call-up from the Boston Red Sox. He played his first major league game on September 8, 1933, and hit .341 for the BoSox. He spent the bulk of 1934 with the Kansas City Blues, batting .328, before returning to Boston, where he hit .223. According to the Boston Herald of October 2, 1933, Mel was the last batter to get a hit off Babe Ruth (on October 1st). That day, the Mexican had 3 hits and 2 walks versus the Bambino.

He returned to Boston in 1935 and finished third in the American League with 20 steals. In 1937, he was shipped to the Washington Senators. To this day, Mel holds the record for scoring the most times in one day - he scored 9 times during a doubleheader played between the Washington Senators (Mel's club at the time) and the St. Louis Browns. The low-power contact specialist led the AL with 158 singles in 1938, splitting the year between the Senators and St. Louis Browns. Immediately after his trade to the Browns, he began a phenomenal hitting stretch in which he had a base hit in 54 out of 56 games, from June 21st through August 19th (second game), meaning he fell just two hitless games short of equaling Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak.

Almada played in a total of 646 games for the Red Sox, Senators, Browns and Brooklyn Dodgers through 1939. In 1940, he played for the Sacramento Solons of the PCL, and the next season he played for the Torreon Cotton Dealers in the Mexican League. While he played just 26 games as the club's player-manager (hitting .343 in 1941), he was elected to the Salon de la Fama in 1971 in honor of his successful career in the United States.

After retiring, Almada began basic training in the Army Service Forces at Camp Barkeley, TX, in the Army Medical Corps, at age 31, in May 1944. After serving for a couple of years, he went into the fruit distribution business with his brother and was quite successful financially. He retired to his native Mexico and died there in 1988 at the age of 75.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL Singles Leader (1938)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1938)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Lou Hernández: "Mel Almada: The First Hispanic to Homer at Several Historic American League Stadia", in Stuart Shea, ed.: North Side, South Side, All Around Town, The National Pastime, SABR, 2015. ISBN 978-1-93359987-8

Related Sites[edit]

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