San Juan (Caimito) Puerto Rico – The Detroit Tigers held the annual Fiesta Tigres Celebration at Comerica Park on Saturday, August 20, 2011. Fiesta Tigres 2011 paid tribute to Cy Young (1984) award winner, Boricua Guillermo (Willie) Hernández, best known by the Detroit fans from the '84 World Series. Hernandez also became one of the few relievers to ever win the Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) the same year(the others are Jim Konstanty, Rollie Fingers, and Dennis Eckersley).
At the Fiesta Tigres Celebration, Tiger closer José Valverde was congratulated by Guillermo Hernández for passing the record of the most consecutive saves (32) in a Tiger season. Guillermo Hernández was the previous record holder.
The Fiesta Tigres Celebration is the Detroit Tigers’ annual celebration on the contributions of Hispanic and Latino players to the game of baseball!
Guillermo "Willie" Hernández Villanueva (born November 14, 1954 in Aguada, Puerto Rico) first came up with the Chicago Cubs (1977–1983). In his first two years, Hernández went 16-9 with a 3.03 ERA in '77 and a 3.77 ERA in '78.
From 1979-1982, Hernández was 9-19 and eventually was traded to Philadelphia in 1983. With the Phillies that year, he went 8-4 with 3.29 ERA and 7 saves. The Phillies made it to the World Series that year but would lose to the Baltimore Orioles in 5 games.
Hernández became a Detroit Tiger in 1984: the year he would earn a World Series ring.
The 1984 season that earned him both the CY Young and MVP of the American League, Hernández compiled a 9-3 record, 1.92 ERA, 32 Saves – 140 innings pitched in 80 games with 112 strikeouts. Also noteworthy is the fact that Hernández, in the entire season, gave up only 6 home runs, 30 runs, 36 base on balls, and 96 hits. His 32 saves came in 33 opportunities. His only blown save came in a meaningless late September game after the Tigers had clinched the AL East title.
In 1984, the Tigers had a 104-58 season, and went on to sweep the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series. Then they defeated the San Diego Padres in the World Series, four games to one. Hernandez pitched five innings in the series, had two saves, and gave up only one run. Some call it "The Perfect Season."
His postseason stats include a 2-2 record, a 1.32 ERA in 10 games; in 13 innings pitched he walked 2, and struck out 7.
He played with the tigers till 1989, his last year as a Major League player. By the way, in his last years as a player he became known by his given name Guillermo – from being identified as “Willie” (Guillermo = William in English –this writer had to plug that in).
Fiesta Tigres and the game that followed was a sell-out.
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Hernandez and Latino Sports photographer Lisa Luevanos