Juan Francisco "Pancho" Herrera Willavicencio (June 16, 1934 – April 28, 2005) was a Cuban-born professional baseball player. He played all or part of three seasons in Major League Baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies between 1958 and 1961, primarily as a first baseman. He also played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro American League, from whom he was purchased by the Phillies in 1954, as well with the Buffalo Bisons of the International League (AAA) and also in Mexico. Herrera was the first Afro-Latino to play for the Phillies.
Herrera in 1961
|Born: June 16, 1934|
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
|Died: April 28, 2005 (aged 70)|
|April 15, 1958, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 1, 1961, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Runs batted in||128|
|Career highlights and awards|
As a prospect, he spent 1957 with the Miami Marlins of the International League, where he, Woody Smith, Mickey Micelotta, and Bobby Young were considered to be one of the best infields in the International League, with one writer saying, "they make plays the Phillies couldn't make."
1960 was Herrera's most productive year. He homered 17 times and batted .281 for the season. He also led National League batters with 136 strikeouts, a league record at the time (it would be broken by Dick Allen four years later). Herrera also committed more errors (13) than any other first baseman in the league. Still, Herrera finished a distant second to Frank Howard in that year's Rookie of the Year balloting.
Herrera's statistics slipped after 1960 and he never played again in the majors after the 1961 season. He played another eight years of minor league baseball before retiring in 1969, although he continued to play sporadically until 1974. After that he managed in both the Mexican and Florida State leagues.
- Burgos Jr., Adrian (2007). Playing America's Game. Berekely: University of California Press. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-520-25143-4.
- Anderson, Norris (September 22, 1957). "Sports Today". The Miami News. p. 2B.
- Baseball Awards Voting for 1960: NL Rookie of the Year Voting