Yucatan debuted on April 17, 1954, and today is the most successful team in recent years throughout Mexico and Latin America 

Torreón, Coah. (leones.mx) April 17, 2022.- The Yucatan Lions are partying! This Sunday, they celebrate the 68th anniversary of their arrival in the Mexican Baseball League.

It was on April 17, 1954 that the history of baseball began to be written in the region; 68 years since that game in which Yucatán debuted with an 8-0 win over Nuevo Laredo, framed by a pitching gem by José “Indio” Peraza before 9,000 fans at Parque Carta Clara in Mérida.

Three stages in the LMB

First stage

Yucatán played for the first time from 1954 to 1958, obtaining its first title in the 1957 season by finishing at the top of the general standing. In 1959 the franchise changed its headquarters to become the Rojos del Águila.

Second stage

In 1970 the best baseball in Mexico returned to Yucatan to form part of the newly created South Zone, playing until 1974 before moving the franchise to Villahermosa.

Third stage 

Los Leones would appear again in 1979, managing to create from that moment on a whole culture that has expanded throughout the 43 years where they have played uninterruptedly in the maximum circuit.

Four Championships

1957

Yucatan raised the title of the Mexican Baseball League for the first time in the 1957 season by finishing first in the league, guided by manager Oscar “Barriguilla” Rodríguez, and having William Berzunza, Jesús ” Chucho” Rejón, “Cuco” Toledo, “Chino” Wong, Julio Moreno, José Nakamura, Romeo Cadena, René Solís, Edrick Kelman, Orlando Leroux, Olmedo Suárez, Luis García and Zacarías Auais.

1984

The year 1984 can not be mentioned without manager Carlos Paz, who with his peculiar style got the Leones de Yucatán into the postseason at the last moment. Ken Angulo and Fredy Arroyo were the pillars on the mound to eliminate the Diablos Rojos del México cleanly in the first round, then they would pass over the Tigres Capitalinos in the next phase, and finally they would be crowned Champions by defeating the Indios de Ciudad Juarez in the Final Series.

2006

The third crown arrived in a spectacular way similar to what had happened 22 years before. Led by Puerto Rican Lino Rivera, the long-haired team qualified for the postseason as the fourth guest and managed to beat the Diablos Rojos in the first round of the playoffs, then left the Tigres de la Angelópolis behind, and in the Final Series they beat to the Sultanes de Monterrey with Jesse Castillo’s unforgettable home run to win the title, that team had a very young Mexican base including Oscar Rivera, Héctor Castañeda, Luis “Rayo” Arredondo, Oswaldo Morejón, Luis Borges, Oswaldo Verdugo and Salvador Arellano .

2018

In the 2018 Spring season, the Leones led by Roberto “Chapo” Vizcarra won their fourth title and lifted the Zaachila Cup by beating the Sultanes de Monterrey in the  Serie del Rey, being the first team in history to win all four games as locals. In the first round of the playoffs they beat the Bravos de León and in the South Final they knocked out the Tigres de Quintana Roo, having a team made up of the new idols of the fans such as Yoanner Negrín, Luis Juárez, José Juan Aguilar, Leo Heras, Sebastian Valle, Walter Ibarra and Humberto Sosa.

Cuevas melenudas

Parque Carta Clara 

It was the home of the Leones de Yucatán from 1954 to 1981, inaugurated on April 17, 1954 with a capacity for 9,000 fans, although on March 19, 1970 an impressive figure of 14,000 spectators was recorded who were witnesses of the return of the beasts to the LMB, having as special guests the Yankee, Joe DiMaggio, and the MLB High Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn. 

Kukulcán Alamo Park

The current home of the Yucatan Lions was inaugurated on March 23, 1982, it has hosted the only perfect game in postseason history, three championships, five All-Star Games, and some sensational feats. Since 2015 it has received constant renovations to continue being one of the most spectacular settings to enjoy baseball, now with a capacity for 14,917 people seated comfortably.

Retired Numbers

Throughout their history, the kings of the jungle have retired 11 numbers in honor of great and immortal players: 1 Juan José Pacho, 2 Luis “Rayo” Arredondo, 3 Mercedes Esquer, 4 Oswaldo Morejón, 15 Fernando Villaescusa, 17 Carlos Paz, 18 Ray Torres, 19 Ricardo Conde, 21 Héctor Espino, 29 Leonel Aldama, and 34 Fernando Valenzuela.

Rookies of the Year 

Los Leones have had three LMB Rookies of the Year: Fernando Valenzuela (1979), Andrés Cruz (1988) and Yucatecan Manuel Rodríguez (2015).

Featured Players

In Yucatan several Mexican and foreign players have left an indelible mark such as: Ravelo Manzanillo, José Vargas, Nick Castañeda, Oscar Rivera, Gener Rivero, Luis Borges, Zacarías Auais, Fermín Vázquez, Ángel Moreno, Alfredo Mariscal, Pilar Rodríguez, Ronnie Camacho, Teolindo Acosta, Blas Santana, Héctor Castañeda, Said Gutiérrez and Willie Romero.

Unforgettable Voices

Jorge Blanco

“George White” is the second Yucatecan inducted into the Hall of Fame (1992) by dedicating more than 40 years to baseball on radio and television, most of which were with the  Leones. He was the first Yucatecan chronicler to narrate a Major League game for radio in Spanish from New York. “Ave Maria!” was one of his trademark phrases when a batter hit a homerun.

Jorge Abraham

“Cousin” Abraham managed to position himself as one of the favorites on radio and television microphones with his indelible style. An authentic “Human Computer” who, when the technology was not so advanced, averaged the batter’s percentage and the pitcher’s average live. He made a perfect team with George White in the games of the beasts.

Luis Cardeña

The “Caballero de la Crónica” is a very traditional voice of baseball, not only of the Lions but of the Peninsula. More than half a century dedicated to the baseball chronicle, and without missing a single game since 1982. He has broadcast the last three club championships with his voice, has been a travel writer, and has narrated more than 2,000 games in his career.

Russell Gutiérrez

A character like very few, his spark, joy and knowledge made him stand out masterfully on radio, press and television. He was a traveling columnist for a long time, bringing listeners “on pins” with his heartfelt and highly detailed and accurate chronicles of his “reyes del suspenso”. Defender of the diffusion of baseball, teacher of many generations and friend of thousands of fans. The Kukulcán Alamo Park media room bears his name in honor of his career and love for the club.

The number one sports show

Los Melenudos are the most successful sports club in recent years in all professional sports in Mexico and Latin America, adding 437 wins from 2015 to date. 68 years after its birth, they have become a benchmark in sports entertainment thanks to the efforts of owners Juan José and Erick Arellano Hernández, who day after day have sought to improve the experience of fans, business partners and collaborators.

More than half a million people attend the games of the beasts each year, which have become an exemplary organization inside and outside the diamond, carrying out more than 100 altruistic and social activities annually to achieve the Empresa Socialmente Responsable distinction for 6 years.

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