World Baseball Network
Venezuela has a rich history of baseball that began when petroleum corporations from the United States brought the game with them when drilling for oil from the nation’s bountiful oil deposits.
The first Venezuela player in the Major Leagues was starting pitcher Alex Carrasquel, who made his debut on April 23, 1939 for the Washington Senators. During the 2022 Major League Baseball season, Venezuela provided the second-most international players, with 67 Venezuelans playing in the show.
There have been 462 players to come out of Venezuela and play in the Major Leagues. Some have also played in South Korea, Japan, and Mexico.
Here are World Baseball Network’s overall top ten players from the country of Venezuela according to Matt Tallarini.
* Denotes Active Player.
10. Francisco Rodriguez – Los Angeles (A.L.), 2002–08; New York (N.L.), 2009–11; Milwaukee, 2011–13, 2014-15; Baltimore, 2013; Detroit, 2016–17.
Rodriguez is fourth all-time in saves, and K-Rod had a prestigious career at the major league level. He had set the single season saves record with 62 in 2008, and posted six seasons with 40-plus saves. In 11 seasons, Rodriguez posted ERA lower than 3.00. He led the A.L. in saves three times and won the 2002 World Series with the Angels.
9. Victor Martinez – Cleveland, 2002–09; Boston, 2009–10; Detroit, 2011, 2013–18.
Martinez had five seasons in his career with 100-plus RBI and seven seasons with 20 or more home runs. Nine times in his career, he played over 140 games, and appeared in five All-Star Games. He batted .295 for his career, winning two Silver Slugger Awards and socking 246 homers.
8. Andres Galarraga – Montreal, 1985–91, 2002; St. Louis, 1992; Colorado, 1993–97;) Atlanta, 1998, 2000; Texas, 2001; San Francisco, 2001, 2003; Los Angeles (A.L.), 2004.
A five-time All-Star, Galarraga had three seasons 40 home runs season and won a batting title in 1993, led the National League in homers in 1996 and RBI in 1996 and 1997. He also won two Gold Gloves at first base. A free swinger, Galarraga led the majors in strikeouts four times.
7. Magglio Ordonez – Chicago (A.L.) 1997–2004; Detroit, 2005–11.
Ordonez had six seasons with 25 or more home runs, and played in at least 130 games 10 times during his 15 year career. He batted over .300 11 times during his career and has a .309 career batting average to go with his 2007 A.L. batting title.
6. Dave Concepcion – Cincinnati, 1970–88.
A crucial member of the Big Red Machine, Concepcion played in 140 games in 11 of his 19 major league seasons. A nine-time All-Star, Concepcion won five Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and back-to-back World Series with the Reds in 197 and 1976.
5. Felix Hernandez – Seattle, 2005–19.
Hernandez led the American League in ERA twice in his career and was a six-time All-Star. During the 2009 season, Hernandez led the major leagues with 19 wins, and won the Cy Young Award the next year. King Felix threw a perfect game on Aug. 15, 2012 against Tampa Bay at SafeCo Field in Seattle.
4. Johan Santana – Minnesota, 2000–07; New York (N.L.) 2008–10, 2012.
Johan Santana will forever be beloved by Mets fans for throwing the franchise’s first no-hitter on June 1, 2012. Santana led the majors in ERA three times and the A.L. in strikeouts three times during his 12-year career, won two Cy Young Awards and a Gold Glove.
3. Omar Vizquel – Seattle, 1989–93; Cleveland, 1994–04; San Francisco, 2005–08; Texas, 2009; Chicago (A.L.) 2010–11; Toronto, 2012.
Best known for his fielding, which earned him 11 Gold Glove awards, Vizquel was also a three-time All-Star and rapped 2,877 career hits in a long career.
2. Miguel Cabrera* – Florida, 2003–07; Detroit Tigers (2008–present).
Miguel Cabrera will be remembered as one of the best hitters of the 21st Century, having hit 507 homers and knocking 3,088 base hits through the end of the 2022 season. A 12-time All-Star and two-time A.L. MVP, Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012, the first player to lead the A.L. in batting, home runs, and RBI since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Miggy has also racked up four batting titles and seven Silver Slugger awards.
1. Luis Aparicio – Chicago (A.L.) 1956–62, 1968-70; Baltimore, 1963–67, Boston, 1971–73.
Aparicio was the first bona fide star from Latin America, debuting with the White Sox in 1956 grabbing the Rookie of the Year award. He appeared in 13 All-Star Games in an 18-year career, won the World Series with Baltimore in 1966, and earned nine Gold Gloves as a slick fielding shortstop. He was the first Venezuelan voted into the Hall of Fame, getting the nod from the scribes in 1984.