Chin-hui Tsao’s appearance and win in Friday’s 3-2 victory over Milwaukee, after eight years away from the Major Leagues, has reminded me of two-time Dodger pitcher Vicente Romo, who made his MLB debut for the Dodgers with one inning on April 11, 1968, then didn’t throw his next inning with Los Angeles until May 28, 1982.
In between, Romo pitched for four MLB teams — but he’s really better known as a legend in Mexico. From his Baseball-Reference.com biography:
Vicente Romo had the greatest career in the history of the Mexican Pacific League. He won a record 182 games in the LMP. Additionally he is the all-time league leader in ERA (2.38), strikeouts (2,038), complete games (178) and starts (364) during 24 years there. He pitched the first LMP perfect game and had a 17-win, 1.07 ERA in 1967-1968.
… Vicente retired with a 182-106 record and 2.49 ERA in the Mexican League. Despite spending nine full seasons in the US, he ranked (as of 2000) in the top 10 all-time in the Mexican League in strikeouts (1,857, 5th-best), shutouts (52, tied for third) and complete games (179, 7th). His ERA is the best among pitchers with over 2,000 innings, a solid .17 ahead of #2 George Brunet. In winning percentage his .632 is third-best among pitchers with over 2,000 innings, trailing only Rafael Garcia (.645) and Andres Ayon (.633). In addition to being the top pitcher in the history of Mexico’s winter league, Romo has a reasonable case as the best pitcher in the Mexican League as well. He was voted into the Salon de la Fama in 1992. …
As the 39-year-old teammate of 21-year-old countryman Fernando Valenzuela in 1982, Romo had a 1.38 ERA in his first 13 innings with the Dodgers. He finished his Dodger career with an ERA of 2.95, and ultimately pitched in Mexico until he was 43. He was elected to the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.