Conversations With Juan "Igor" González • Latino Sports

Caribbean Baseball

Conversations With Juan “Igor” González

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Juan “Igor” González & Hall of Fame player, Roberto Alomar stopped by the ESPN Deportes booth at the Caribbean Series in San Juan, Puerto Rico during the Puerto Rico – Venezuela game. This is a synopsis of Juan’s interview. Alomar’s will appear on a separate article.

Both players were part of that famous Puerto Rican Dream Team that was undefeated in the 1995 Caribbean Series and also played an additional game with the then powerful Cuban National Team that were also in Puerto Rico in a separate tournament. Puerto Rico also won that tight game by one run thanks to a late inning homerun by Javy Lopez.

The first interview was with Juan “Igor” González. One of the premier run producers and most feared hitters of the 1990s, González averaged 37 HR’s and 117 RBI’s per season between 1991 and 1999. He won the AL MVP award twice in that time span, 1996 and 1998 and won the prestigious LatinoMVP award three times, 1996, 1998 & 1999.

The incredible Puerto Rican Dream Team of the 1995 Caribbean Series. (Photo Latino Sports)

The incredible Puerto Rican Dream Team of the 1995 Caribbean Series. (Photo Latino Sports)

Juan was asked about that 1995 Dream Team. He stated that team had all the right ingredients to make it the wrecking crew that it was. “Facing Pedro Martinez and beating the Dominican Republic 16 – 0 was our coming out. After that there was no stopping us,” he replied.

Juan talked about baseball today and stated his disappointment with the way baseball today gives multi-million dollar contracts to players that he believes are not really worth that amount. He stated, “In my day a player had to put up some hefty numbers, RBI’s, homeruns and hits to be able to get a multi-million dollar contract.”

He was asked why he turned down an incredible 10 year $120 million contract with Detroit back then? He stated that money was not his only concern. “I really did not feel comfortable going to Detroit. I didn’t believe the team was really interested in building a championship team. The fences were too far out for my type of batting, I just did not feel it.” He continued, “ I went to Cleveland and had a great year.”

Juan reiterated that people think so much about money, but that he does not. “I had (have) money, so a huge contract did not entice me. How many times have we seen people that have all the riches that you can imagine and they are not healthy, miserable and eventually wind up in a tomb?

Juan looked like if he could still hit some of those monster homeruns that he was known for.

About Julio Pabón

Julio is President and Founder of Latino Sports LLC., the parent company of Latinosports.com. Julio is a product of the South Bronx where he still lives and runs his businesses. Julio has written and has been interviewed for numerous publication and networks on sports & political issues. He has been an activist promoting social justice and respect for all communities. He is a recognized motivational speaker, was an adjunct professor of American History and presently volunteer's as a lecturer in local South Bronx High Schools. His primary goal is to make Latinosports.com a multi-facet sports portal that will engender social and economic empowerment to the Latino community.

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  • Rosanna

    Good for you Juan! A great athlete and great insight as a retired athlete.