"Quitting crossed my mind after my arm started feeling great one time and then terrible the next," De La Hoya told The Sun. "Then, I had elbow surgery and didn't have a team. It was tough."
De La Hoya caught The Sun's interest due to the length of time he took to get to AAA - 11 seasons. He played well during his time there, making the AAA All-Star game in 2000. But, no matter how long he played, he never made the majors.
De La Hoya's career began in 1989, taken by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the draft out of Grant High School in California. De La Hoya is also credited as Javier Delahoya.
De La Hoya started with the Dodgers in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He moved to short-season Yakima, high-A Bakersfield and high-A Vero Beach for 1990. He went 8-8 overall, with a 5.08 ERA that year.
He first saw AA at San Antonio in 1992 and returned there for all of 1993. He went 8-10, with a 3.66 ERA at San Antonio in 1993.
De La Hoya moved to the Marlins system in 1994, playing at high-A Brevard County and AA Portland. He then missed much of 1996 and all of 1997. He returned briefly in 1998 with the Orioles at AA Bowie.
At Bowie in 1999, De La Hoya went 9-1 over 12 starts. He went eight scoreless in a May win and earned praise from his pitching coach, Dave Schmidt, according to The Washington Post.
"He's been throwing like that for his last three or four starts," Schmidt told The Post. "He knows how to pitch."
De La Hoya then made Rochester. He went 4-3 over 14 starts, with a 5.09 ERA. He returned to go 7-6, with a 4.29 ERA.
De La Hoya then moved to Mexico. He played for Saltillo in 2001. He struck out eight over eight innings in a 2002 Caribbean playoff game. He played at Veracruz and Campeche in 2003. He is last recorded as playing for Campeche in 2007, his 17th season as a pro.
- Washington Post, May 15, 1999: Eastern League
- Baltimore Sun, June 21, 1999: De La Hoya takes long road to success
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,832
Made the Majors:1,068-37.7%
Never Made Majors:1,764-62.3%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 444
10+ Seasons in the Minors:267-X