As part of the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the birth of ‘Fernandomania’, the iconic Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Fernando Valenzuela, considers that his compatriot Julio Urías, may be the new figure of the franchise, especially among the Mexican fans in this city. “It seems to me that yes, he has everything. Julio is something important, it is what he needs, opportunities for him to develop what he has, he showed it in the last World Series when he was given the opportunity. He has a great future and he has the talent. enough to stand out “, shared Valenzuela this Saturday in videoconference.
Although the chronicler Jaime Jarrin, the legendary Spanish voice of the Dodgers, thinks otherwise: “La Fernandomanía will not be repeated again,” said Jarrín, who was sitting next to Fernando. On April 9, 1981, Fernando Valenzuela had his first MLB start on the Los Angeles mound. That first start against the Houston Astros, where ‘El Toro’ threw a shutout in a complete game, marked the beginning of something unique and special. “It’s something exciting because 40 years ago I started my career. That 81 ‘game at the inauguration was very important because that’s where those opportunities opened. If that game hadn’t been positive, we wouldn’t have won and we don’t know what would have happened.” shared Valenzuela.
In the 1981 season, Valenzuela was a key piece for the Angelenos to get the championship. El Toro was the first and only Cy Young winner and Rookie of the Year pitcher in the same season. He got off to a perfect start going 8-0 in his first eight starts. Valenzuela captivated the local public, the ratings soared, in the same way the merchandise sales and attendance at the stadium, thus initiating the Fernandomanía. “Our ratings on the broadcast went from 3 to 8.9. That reflects what Fernando did for baseball, that’s why he deserves all the recognition,” shared Jaime Jarrín. This weekend is one of celebration at Dodgers Stadium. The Angelenos made their home debut of the 2021 season on Friday, in the first of three series games against the Washington Nationals. Dodgers players received their 2020 season champion rings precisely on April 9, 40 years after Valenzuela’s first start with the Blues. “I am grateful for all the recognition and even better because it is during a championship celebration. It is something that people were waiting for and the most important thing is that the title has been achieved after 32 years of waiting,” said Valenzuela. On Sunday, before the last game of the series against Washington, the Dodgers will pay a special tribute to Valenzuela in honor of Fernandomanía.
Valenzuela was playing with the number 34 on the number. Although the number has not been officially retired, no other player has worn the number since. “I feel good, for me there is no problem if someone else uses it (number 34), but I understand that those in charge of the dressing room have decided that no one else uses it,” said El Toro. The Mexican fans are largely fans of the Dodgers, thanks to what Valenzuela has done. Currently, the team is well represented with Julio Urías and Víctor González, the Mexican pitchers who became champions with the franchise in 2020.