Rapiños de Occidente

The Rapiños de Occidente (Western Raptors) was a Venezuelan baseball club that played from 1957 through 1963 in the Liga Occidental de Béisbol Profesional (Western Professional Baseball League). They played their home games at the old olympic stadium based in Maracaibo, Zulia.

Team historyEdit

The Rapiños (rah-pee'nyoz) were the most successful team during the 10 years of existence of the league, while collecting a total of five titles during their six seasons in the circuit. The team entered the league in the 1957–1958 tournament as a replacement for the departed Gavilanes de Maracaibo.

Managed by Ira Hutchinson, the Rapiños won their first pennant in their league debut. Following an agreement between the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League and the LOBP, the interleague playoff games would be played immediately following the end of their respective 1957–1958 seasons. As a result, the winning team would represent Venezuela in the 1958 Caribbean Series. Then, the Rapiños were swept by the Industriales de Valencia, 4–0, in the best-of-seven series.

After that, the Rapiños won three consecutive pennants to set a record of four titles in a row in Venezuelan baseball history. In the same way, catcher/manager Les Moss posted a managing record with his three consecutive titles. Both records still remain intact.

The Rapiños failed again in the 1958–1959 playoffs series, losing to the Indios de Oriente in the maximum of seven games. A new opportunity arose when the 1959–1960 Venezuelan Professional Baseball League season was suspended due to a players' strike, and the Rapiños were invited to participate in the 1960 Caribbean Series. The team ended in last place with a 1-5 record, while their only victory came at expense of the Puerto Rico team.

The team clinched their fourth pennant in the 1960–1961 season, but the beginning of the end came when the 1961–1962 was cancelled. After that, the league resumed operations in 1962–1963, while the Rapiños claimed their fifth pennant, but the average attendance was less than half what it was in previous years.

Finally, the LOBP folded on December 3, 1963, due to economic pressure and internal conflicts, just one month later after starting the 1963–1964 season. The Rapiños faded with the league, standing in last place with a record of 6-13, when the four team circuit disbanded.

Regular Season Team RecordsEdit

Season W L PCT   Finish   Manager Notes
  1957–1958     30     13     .698   1st   Ira Hutchinson     Lost interleague play  
  1958–1959     28     25     .528   1st   Les Moss     Lost interleague play  
  1959–1960     18     13     .581   1st   Les Moss     League Championship
  Played in the 1960 Caribbean Series  
  1960–1961     30     25     .545   1st   Les Moss     Won interleague play  
  1961–1962   Season cancelled
  1962–1963     21     12     .636   1st   Les Moss     League Championship  
  1963–1964     6     13     .316   4th   Antonio Briñez     Shortened season  
  Totals   133 101   .568   Most pennant wins in the league

Notable playersEdit

See alsoEdit

SourcesEdit

  • Gutiérrez, Daniel; Alvarez, Efraim; Gutiérrez (h), Daniel (2006). La Enciclopedia del Béisbol en Venezuela. LVBP, Caracas. ISBN 980-6996-02-X

External linksEdit