By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network
Less than a week after a player walk-out over missed pay caused a forfeit in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, another controversy is roiling the league.
According to news website Proceso.com.mx, multiple players on multiple teams in the LMB obtained forged or fraudulent birth certificates that grant them Mexican nationality, enabling teams to count them as Mexican players to comply with league rules regarding foreign players. Generally, the Proceso report indicates that the birth certificates were usually issued by authorities in remote locations in Mexico, making the certificates far more difficult to investigate.
The full article from Proceso can be read here, and can be translated via Google Translate.
The flouting of the rules regarding foreign players drew the attention of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has assigned former Mexican Senator and Olympic silver medalist Ana Guevara to lead an investigation into the situation.
“Since the start of the playoffs is coming up, they are reinforcing themselves in this way, I am going to ask Ana Guevara, because there is a sports court, to carry out the investigation, I take this opportunity to call on the owners of the teams so that if they fell into this error, they can rectify it, it is wise to change their minds,” said Lopez Obrador in a report by El Economista and translated into English, which can be read here.
The report from Proceso indicated that multiple players on the Leones de Yucatan, which won the LMB championship in 2022, obtained documents in the town of Concordia, which is located in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, a town of 8,000 located on the west coast on the Gulf of California. Among the Leones players Proceso reported to have obtained falsified documentation this way were Cuban pitcher Onelkis Garcia, Cuban infielder Lazaro Alonso, and American pitchers Casey Coleman, Tim Peterson, and Jake Thomson.
Similarly, at least two players on the Tecolotes de Los Dos Laredos, the team won the Zona Norte during the 2023 regular season and was recently profiled by World Baseball Network, were listed as dual citizens of Mexico using documents allegedly obtained from a small town in the Mexican state of Michoacan.
Proceso reported that Henry Gatewood, an American, and Danry Vasquez, a Venezuelan who washed out of the Houston Astros organization after video of him physically assaulting his girlfriend in the ballpark of the Astros’ Double-A affiliate, both had documents registering their birth issued by a records office in Michoacan.
“The parents of both, with no known relationship between them, decided, when their children were newborns, to travel to the remote municipality of La Huacana, Michoacán, to register them as Mexicans because their father or mother transmitted their nationality to them,” a translated version of Proceso’s report says.
“As if the destinies of those children had been marked ever since, more than 25 years later, Vásquez and Gatewood coincided as players on the same baseball team: the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos, owned by businessman José Antonio Mansur,” the story continued.
Several other teams have allegedly used a records office in Castanos, Coahuila, to obtain Mexican registration records for players. A full list of players implicated by the report and their teams are listed below this article.
The Sports Director for the LMB, Gabriel Medina, told Proceso that the league received documentation on a player’s nationality, but responsibility for the documentation falls on those providing it to the league.
Teams and Players Implicated In Proceso Article
Team (Place of Birth)
* – denotes player no longer with club
Algodoneros de Union Laguna
Jose Torres (Libertador, Venezuela)
Leones de Yucatan
Lazaro Alonso (Pinar del Rio, Cuba)
Casey Coleman (Fort Myers, Florida)
*Johnny Davis (Compton, California)
Onelki Garcia (Guantanamo, Cuba)
Tim Peterson (Tacoma, Washington)
*Josh Smith (Kansas City, Missouri)
Jake Thompson (Dallas, Texas)
Tecolotes de Los Dos Laredos
Brandon Brennan (Mission Viejo, California)
Henry Gatewood (Visalia, California)
Cade Gotta (San Diego, California)
Alonso Harris (McComb, Mississippi)
Donnie Hart (Bedford, Texas)
Danry Vasquez (Ocumare del Tuy, Venezuela)