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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Lino Rivera has been a person in baseball for more than three decades; First as player, then as manager

As Lino Rivera's Dominican League team started the Caribbean Series in early 2020, talk turned to the sign-stealing scandal that enveloped two big league managers, Carlos Beltran and Alex Cora, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Rivera, a native of Puerto Rico, responded with support and pride for both men, both fellow Puerto Ricans, The Times wrote.

"The situation is unfortunate, same as Beltran's, but you have to live with it," Rivera told reporters in responding to a question about Cora. "My message is to have your mind clear, your head held high. Me, as a Puerto Rican, as a Latino, as a person in baseball, I'll always support them."

By that point, Rivera had been a person in baseball for more than three decades, first as a player and then as a manager. He played in the minors, Mexico and Taiwan for almost two decades. He's then gone on to a career as a manager in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Rivera's playing career began in 1985, signed by the Rangers as a free agent out of Miami-Dade Junior College. 

In addition to Miami-Dade, Rivera also played on the 1984 American Legion title team from Puerto Rico. The win earned the legion team a trip to Detroit to see the 1984 World Series.

Rivera started with the Rangers in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He went 0-1, with a 2.86 ERA over 16 relief appearances.

He made single-A Gastonia in 1987, then single-A Port Charlotte in 1988. He then signed with the Tigers for 1989. He played between single-A Fayetteville and Lakeland. He saved 20 games overall, had a 2.12 ERA and made the South Atlantic League All-Star team.

Rivera started 1990 back at Lakeland and turned in a 0.41 ERA over 36 relief outings. He then got 18 appearances up at AAA Toledo and ended with a 3.07 ERA.

He played 1991 at Lakeland and London, then saw brief time with the Cardinals at AA Arkansas in 1992 and with the Pirates at AA Carolina in 1995.

By 1997, he was on Taiwan, with the Mercuries. He ended up seeing time in five seasons there, including one with Uni-President in 2002. He's last recorded as playing in Mexico in 2003.

He then started his managerial career in Mexico, with Monclova in 2004 and Yucatan starting in 2005. 

In 2015, he served as manager in the Dominian Republic, with the Tigres del Licey as his squad took third in the Serie de las Americas, wrote.

"I enjoyed the experience immensely," Rivera told "Hopefully, we continue to play in this event. We're leaving very satisfied."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,736
Made the Majors:1,265-33.9%
Never Made Majors:2,471-66.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:523
10+ Seasons in the Minors:310-X

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