Top Major League Baseball (MLB) Venezuelan Players

Venezuela has one Hall of Famer and a lot of players on that path. Here's a look at the best players (along with some honorable mention) in Major League Baseball history to come out of Venezuela (stats as of July 1, 2013, for active players).

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Miguel Cabrera

Pittsburgh Pirates v Detroit Tigers - Miguel Cabrera
Mark Cunningham/Contributor/Getty Images Sport

Position: Third baseman/first baseman

Teams: Florida Marlins (2003-07), Detroit Tigers (2008-)

Stats: 11 years, .321, 346 HR, 1,205 RBI, .965 OPS

Premature to put him No. 1? No way. Born in Maracay in 1983, Cabrera has almost 2,000 hits before age 31. In 2012, he became the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, and he won his first MVP. He has a World Series ring from his rookie season with the Marlins and is well on his way to a 10th consecutive season with more than 100 RBI.

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Johan Santana

Position: Starting pitcher

Teams: Minnesota Twins (2000-07), New York Mets (2008-)

Stats: 12 years, 139-78, 3.20 ERA, 2025 2/3 IP, 1988 Ks, 1.132 WHIP

Santana, born in Tovar in 1979, can lay claim to being the best pitcher from Venezuela in big-league history, at least as of now. A left-hander, he was the best pitcher in baseball in a three-year stretch from 2004-06, when he won two Cy Young Awards and led the American League in strikeouts all three seasons, going a combined 55-19. Injuries have caught up to Santana after age 30, however, as he missed the 2011 season with shoulder surgery and re-injured the shoulder in 2013, threatening his career. He still was able to pitch the first no-hitter in Mets history in 2012.

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Omar Vizquel

Position: Shortstop

Teams: Seattle Mariners (1989-93), Cleveland Indians (1994-2004), San Francisco Giants (2005-08), Texas Rangers (2009), Chicago White Sox (2010-11), Toronto Blue Jays (2012)

Stats: 24 years, .272, 80 HR, 951 RBI, 404 SB, .688 OPS

Putting Omar Vizquel ahead of a Hall of Famer? Yes, because Vizquel had a better overall career and is on the short list as one of the best fielding shortstops in big-league history. The native of Caracas had great range, and his .985 fielding percentage is the best all-time among shortstops. He didn't make as many All-Star teams (three), but he did win 11 Gold Gloves and was a part of two pennant-winning teams as a major part of some very good Cleveland Indians teams in the 1990s. And with 2,877 hits (more than Babe Ruth), that's the most of any Venezuelan (at least until Cabrera catches him). At age 45 in 2012, Vizquel became the oldest player to play shortstop in big-league history.

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Luis Aparicio

Position: Shortstop

Teams: Chicago White Sox (1956-62, 1968-70), Baltimore Orioles (1963-67), Boston Red Sox (1971-73)

Stats: 18 years, .262, 83 HR, 791 RBI, .653 OPS

The first Hall of Famer from Venezuela, the slick-fielding Aparicio was a perennial All-Star. A native of Maracaibo, Aparicio was the 1956 Rookie of the Year and finished second in MVP voting in 1959. He led the American League in stolen bases for nine consecutive seasons from 1956-64. Aparicio, who had 2,677 career hits, also won a World Series with the Orioles in 1966.

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Dave Concepcion

Position: Shortstop

Teams: Cincinnati Reds (1970-88)

Stats: 19 years, .267, 101 HR, 950 RBI, 321 SB, .679 OPS

Yes, Venezuela has had some great shortstops. Concepcion can stake a claim as one of the best, with a stellar 18-year career in the middle of the diamond ​​for the Big Red Machine. A native of Ocumare de la Costa, Concepcion was a nine-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove winner and won two World Series rings with the Reds. His No. 13 is retired by the team.

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Magglio Ordonez

Position: Outfield

Teams: Chicago White Sox (1997-2004), Detroit Tigers (2005-11)

Stats: 15 years, .309, 294 HR, 1,236 RBI, .871 OPS

Ordonez was a run-producing machine for the better part of 15 seasons, making six All-Star teams and winning a batting title in 2007 for the Tigers. A native of Caracas, Ordonez was a .309 career hitter and had 2,156 hits. He drove in 139 runs in that special 2007 season and hit .363. It was one of the greatest seasons in Tigers history when he finished second in MVP voting behind Alex Rodriguez.

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Bobby Abreu

Position: Outfield

Teams: Houston Astros (1996-97), Philadelphia Phillies (1998-2006), New York Yankees (2006-08), Los Angeles Angels (2009-12), Los Angeles Dodgers (2012)

Stats: 17 years, .292, 287 HR, 1,349 RBI, .873 OPS

It's a tough call between Ordonez and Abreu, whose statistics in 17 years were sneaky good. Abreu, from Maracay, had 2,437 hits and made a living by getting on base and hitting for power and average. He also stole 399 bases and won a Gold Glove. Abreu never played in a World Series or finished in the top 10 in MVP voting, but was a steady performer for the better part of two decades.

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Felix Hernandez

Position: Starting pitcher

Teams: Seattle Mariners (2005-)

Stats: 9 years, 106-80, 3.18 ERA, 1737 IP, 1610 Ks, 1.204 WHIP

Give him a few more years and he could climb high on this list. The 2010 American League Cy Young winner hasn't received great run support in his time with the Mariners, but he's been one of the most consistent pitchers in the game and finished in the top four in Cy Young voting three times in his first eight seasons. The Valencia native threw a perfect game in 2012.

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Andres Galarraga

Position: First baseman

Teams: Montreal Expos (1985-91), St. Louis Cardinals (1992), Colorado Rockies (1993-97), Atlanta Braves (1998, 2000), Texas Rangers (2001), San Francisco Giants (2001, 2003), Montreal Expos (2002), Anaheim Angels (2004)

Stats: 19 years, .288, 399 HR, 1425 RBI, 129 SB, .846 OPS

The "Big Cat" was known for his comebacks. He was a two-time Comeback Player of the Year, coming back from a broken wrist early in his career and a bout with lymphatic cancer in 1999. He won two Gold Gloves for his fielding prowess at first base and was a five-time All-Star. A Caracas native, Galarraga won a batting title in 1993 with the Rockies, batting .370, and led the NL with 47 homers and 150 RBI in 1996.

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Francisco Rodriguez

Position: Relief pitcher

Teams: Los Angeles Angels (2002-08), New York Mets (2009-11), Milwaukee Brewers (2011-)

Stats: 12 years, 39-34, 2.65 ERA, 300 saves, 737 IP, 541 H, 895 Ks, 1.164 WHIP (537)

It's a tough call between "K-Rod" and a few others, but because he's a big-league record-holder, we'll give the last spot to Rodriguez, a native of Caracas. He set the record for saves in a season in 2008 with 62 for the Angels and was a lights-out setup man for a World Series champion in 2002 with the Angels. He's led the league in saves three times and has made four All-Star teams.