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Guillermo "Willie" Hernandez - Image Credit: ESPN

We present this article written by a Latino Sports friend, Luis Mayoral who has authored five baseball books and spent nine years as a Texas Ranger and Detroit Tigers official. He coordinated MLB’s Latin American Baseball Players’ day for 25 years. He is also a veteran of over 2,000 MLB radio broadcasts.


Arlington, Texas — At 5:40 in the morning today (article written yesterday) I learned of the death of the once great reliever of Puerto Rico, Guillermo “Willie” Hernandez, in the city of Sebring, Florida, at 69 years old and 7 days old. (His good friend, Luis “Pichi” Villanueva, told us the sad news a couple of hours ago.)

Guillermo was born in Aguada, Puerto Rico, on Sunday, November 14, 1954.

His brother, Angel, from Florida informed us a few minutes ago, “He went with God yesterday (November 20) around 6:30 in the evening and I was at his side.” In 1984, the Detroit Tigers… won the World Series… the first pitcher from Puerto Rico and Latin America to win the awards as “Most Valuable Player” and as best pitcher (Cy . Young Award) in one season in the Major Leagues. Both awards were in the American League.

The dear and respected brother that he was had been facing challenges regarding his health for some years. He had undergone surgery for heart disease… he suffered from diabetes and in more recent times part of his left leg and 4 toes of his right foot were amputated.

To all this, this past Friday, November 17, his 48-year-old son of the same name died at his home in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

In 1984 with Detroit…Guillermo in 80 games had 9 wins against 3 losses with a magnificent ERA of 1.92 in earned runs allowed per 9 innings pitched. Furthermore, except for 32 games. His career in the Major Leagues (1977-1989) with the Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit Cubs for a total of 744 games he obtained 70 victories against 63 losses. His ERA was a very acceptable 3.38 and he managed to save 147 games.

The mortal remains of “Guillo” will be transported to Puerto Rico and will receive a “Christian Burial” in a yet unidentified cemetery.

In Guillermo, who I met more than 45 years ago a true believer in God who was in continuous communication with HIM. As recently as two days ago I left a message on his cell phone telling him that as always I prayed for him daily and that I would try to call him again.

Deaths like that of that highly respected and loved being boggle the mind… however, he is now embraced by God eternally.

(SPECIAL NOTE: To the respected dear friends, Luis “Pichi” Villanueva…Angel, brother of Guillermo and to Dr. Ithier Montañez, my gratitude goes out for keeping me informed of the health of the late great human being…SON OF GOD…who was ” “Willie.”

(“Pichi” Juan Eduardo Villanueva was on Wednesday, December 27, 1972, the young pitcher to whom Roberto Clemente hit his last home run in his life at a youth baseball clinic in Parque Colón in Aguadilla.)



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