Dodgers to recall Valenzuela's debut
Phenom first appeared in relief on Sept. 15, 1980, in Atlanta
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Fernando Valenzuela's Major League debut Sunday at Dodger Stadium before the game with the Rockies.
The consul general of Mexico in Los Angeles, Juan Marcos Gutierrez Gonzalez, will represent the Mexican government and participate in the pregame ceremony honoring the Sept. 15 anniversary along with Mexico's bicentennial. The tribute will take place after Valenzuela's appearance at La Gran Fiesta: Viva Los Dodgers presented by Coca-Cola and Hyundai starting at 10 a.m. PT.
Valenzuela made his Major League debut at 19 in relief against the Atlanta Braves at Fulton County Stadium, retiring the side in order. In his 10 appearances with the Dodgers in 1980, Valenzuela didn't allow an earned run in 17 2/3 innings.
Valenzuela began his Major League career with a 10-0 record and a 0.40 ERA (four earned runs in 90 innings), including his late season callup in 1980. He won the Rookie of the Year and National League Cy Young Award in the same season in 1981, when the Dodgers won the World Series.
In 17 big league seasons, Valenzuela compiled a 173-153 record and a 3.54 ERA with the Dodgers, Angels, Orioles, Phillies, Padres and Cardinals. He was named to the National League All-Star team for six consecutive seasons from 1981-86, and in '86 he won 20 games while also earning the Gold Glove Award.
In 2009, Valenzuela made his second World Baseball Classic coaching appearance and helped lead Team Mexico to the second round of the tournament in San Diego. This year marks Valenzuela's eighth season as the analyst for the Dodgers' Spanish-radio broadcasts.
Valenzuela recently recorded a video message for President Felipe Calderon of Mexico and the Mexican government expressing his well wishes as the country celebrates its bicentennial.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.