When the Los Angeles Dodgers boarded their plane that was bound for Monterrey, Mexico, they did so with famed left-hander Fernando Valenzuela. But he was included with the traveling contingent for more reason than being the team’s Spanish-language broadcaster.
Valenzuela was tapped to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the opener of the Mexico Series, and he also represented the Dodgers on promotional stops. So too did Valenzuela’s understudy of sorts and fellow Mexican native, Julio Urias.
Making a return visit all the more exciting and special for Valenzuela was the Dodgers throwing a combined no-hitter in Friday’s game against the San Diego Padres. It was the 23rd no-hitter in franchise history but the first combined no-no.
Valenzuela is responsible for the Dodgers’ 17th no-hitter, and watching the 2018 Dodgers make MLB history had the Hall-of-Famer feeling nostalgic, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“That was great for the Dodgers,” said Valenzuela, who shut down the Cardinals on June 29, 1990. “Good memories from a couple years ago when I had the opportunity to do it. Last night I was thinking just do something, not a hit. I was excited. I think the fans enjoy that. More good memories.”
Valenzuela’s no-hitter came on the same night Oakland Athletics right-hander Dave Stewart threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the first time in the modern baseball era that two no-hitters were pitched on the same day.
Valenzuela went 141-116 with a 3.31 ERA and was a six-time All-Star during his 11-year career with the Dodgers. He pitched in Mexico in 1992 before returning to the Majors for parts of the next five seasons.
In addition to serving as a broadcaster for the Dodgers, Valenzuela is part of the ownership group of the Quintana Roo Tigres of the Mexican Baseball League.