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Friday, June 17, 2022

Jose Hernandez arrived in bigs to play, then stayed for 15 seasons, became All-Star

Jose Hernandez made his major league debut with the Rangers in August 1991 and he played well, notching two singles in his first two at bats, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote.

"Hernandez is here to play," Rangers manager Bobby Valentine told The Star-Telegram afterward. "He had himself a nice little game."

Hernandez went on to have plenty of nice little games in the years ahead. By the time he was done, he'd seen time in 15 major league seasons and hit 168 career big league home runs. In one season, 2002 with the Brewers, he earned an All-Star selection.

Hernandez' career began in 1987, signed by the Rangers as a free agent out of his native Puerto Rico.

Hernandez started with the Rangers in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He made single-A Gastonia in 1989, then AA Tulsa, AAA Oklahoma City and Texas in 1991.

Hernandez got into 45 games for the Rangers that first year. He hit .184. He then moved to the Indians for 1992 and saw three games. After a year back in the minors, he arrived with the Cubs for 1994 and soon became a regular.

He saw 56 games in 1994, then 93 in 1995 and 131 in 1996. He hit .273 over 121 games in 1997, then .254 over 149 games in 1998.

Along the way, he saw time at second base, shortstop, third base and outfield. He looked to move positions in August 1998 due to a trade, The Chicago Tribune wrote

"I hope they find my spot to play; I don't care where," Hernandez told The Tribune. "I like shortstop better. Right now I'm playing third pretty good. I just want my at-bats and to help the team win."

Hernandez stayed with the Cubs into 1999, when he moved to the Braves. He arrived with the Brewers for 2000. In 2001, he hit .249, with a career-high 25 home runs.

Hernandez hit another 24 home runs in 2002 and had a .288 average as he made the Mid-Summer Classic.

"It's a dream come true being at the All-Star Game and being an all-star," Hernandez told The Oshkosh Northwestern. "I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

Hernandez played three more major league seasons, with the Rockies, Cubs, Pirates, Dodgers, Indians and Phillies. He ended with 1,587 games played and a career .252 average.

Hernandez has since turned coach with the Orioles. He started as an assistant in the GCL in 2010, made AAA Norfolk in 2013. Then, in 2019, he joined the big club in Baltimore as a coach. He continues in that role in 2022.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,942
Made the Majors:1,315-33.4%-X
Never Made Majors:2,627-66.6%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:536-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:328

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