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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Henry Mercedes moved past language problems to make bigs over five seasons

Originally published March 21, 2015
Henry Mercedes signed with the Athletics as a catcher out of his native Dominican Republic. He immediately ran into difficulties, according to The Associated Press.

That's because the catcher Mercedes didn't know English, The AP wrote.

"I wanted to return to my country," Mercedes told The AP in July 1996. "I think there are a lot of players that went through the same situation."

Mercedes eventually got over those language issues. He also went on to a long career as a pro. That career included time in five major league seasons.

Mercedes was originally signed by the Athletics in 1987. He first hit the field in the United States in 1988, playing in the rookie Arizona League. He made single-A Madison and Modesto in 1989.

For 1990, he played most of the year at Madison. He played the rest, 12 games, at AAA Tacoma. He hit .224 overall on the year.

He debuted in Oakland in April 1992. He got into nine games for Oakland, picking up four hits in five at bats. He closed out the season with a run-scoring triple that gave his team a lead.

Mercedes returned to Oakland for 20 games in 1993, going 10 for 47. He also knocked in three and stole a base.

After missing the majors in 1994, he joined the Royals for 23 games in Kansas City in 1995. He went 11 for 43 and knocked in nine. He hit a two-run double in an August game.

He rounded out his major league career with four games with the Royals in 1996 and 23 with the Rangers in 1997.

Mercedes went on to play in three more minor league seasons. He then spent time in Mexico. He's last credited as playing in the Dominican Winter League in 2006.

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