Hi Bithorn was born on Saturday, March 18, 1916, in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Bithorn was 26 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 15, 1942, with the Chicago Cubs. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Hi Bithorn baseball stats page.
"Hi Bithorn while pitching for the Cubs had once fired a beanball at ( Leo ) Durocher in the dugout while Leo was managing the Dodgers. Jimmie Wilson , Bithorn's manager, fined his pitcher not for throwing the ball but because he missed hitting Durocher." - Author James D. Szalontai in Close Shave: The Life and Times of Baseball's Sal Maglie (McFarland Publishing, 09/09/2002, Page 370)
Hi Bithorn Pitching Stats
Hi Bithorn Hitting Stats
Hi Bithorn Fielding Stats
|1947 White Sox||P||2||0||6||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0||n/a||n/a||n/a||.000||0.00|
Hi Bithorn Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
|1947 White Sox||0||0||.000||0||0||n/a||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.00||0.00||0.00|
Hi Bithorn Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1942 Chicago Cubs||17||Undetermined||-||-|
|1943 Chicago Cubs||35||Undetermined||-||-|
|1946 Chicago Cubs||25||Undetermined||-||-|
|1947 Chicago White Sox||32||Undetermined||-||-|
|Hi Bithorn Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Hiram "Hi" Bithorn holds the distinction of being the first baseball player from Puerto Rico to play Major League Baseball. Baseball Almanac likes to take a look "beyond the stats" and we hope you enjoy the following biographical information:
Hiram Bithorn's Professional Baseball Career
Bithorn played for the San Juan Senators and at age 22 became the youngest manager in the history of Puerto Rican winter baseball. Soon enough, he was pitching at Wrigley Field.
On September 30, 1941, Bithorn was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and debuted in the Major Leagues on April 15, 1942 , making history as the first Puerto Rican to play in the Major Leagues. Bithorn won 9 games and lost 14 in his first season, but he rebounded in 1943 by going 18-12 with an earned run average of 2.60 and completing 19 of his 30 starts, leading the league in shutouts with seven, establishing a record for Puerto Rican pitchers that still stands to this day. During this time, he also formed the first Latin American pitcher-catcher combination along Cuban Chico Hernandez .
After his second season, Bithorn fought for the United States military in World War II. His promising start, though, did not last once he returned from military service. By this moment his weight had risen to 225 pounds, which led to rumors that he may not have the same abilities. Upon returning from the war, he returned to the Chicago Cubs, and went 6-5 in 1946. On January 25, 1947 he was purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates only to be waived later. On March 22 of the same year, the Chicago White Sox selected him off waivers but only pitched two innings, developing a sore arm that ended his career.
In four seasons, Bithorn had a 34-31 record with 185 strikeouts, a 3.16 ERA, 30 complete games, 8 shutouts, 5 saves, and 509 innings pitched in 105 games (53 as a starter).
Hiram Bithorn's Later Years and Death
Bithorn tried to make a comeback a few years later in the Mexican winter league. But, tragically, on December 28, 1951, at age 35, he was shot & killed by police officer Ambrosio Castillo Cano, in El Mante, Mexico. He was transferred to Ciudad Victoria's hospital, where he died the next day. Initially, officer Castillo Cano claimed that Bithorn was violent and also claimed that Bithorn had said he was part of a "Communist cell," but eventually this argument was debunked and he was sent to prison for Bithorn's murder. Castillo Cano was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Did you know that Hi Bithorn went 1812 in 1943 with an earned run average of 2.60, threw nineteen complete games, and led the National League in shutouts with seven, establishing a single season shutout record for Puerto Rican born pitchers that still stands?
Hi Bithorn Photograph / Original Photo by AP Wire (c. 1943) / Photoshop by Baseball Almanac
Hall of Fame first baseman Orlando Cepeda once said (Sports Illustrated, 04/19/2003, 'The pride of San Juan', Source ) of Hi Bithorn, "He was an important man. I wish more people now knew about him. He was the first person from Puerto Rico to make it to the major leagues. He did so much for the island. I remember watching him pitch against my father in the winter league and meeting him. When I was about 10, I played for him on a team he ran. He was a big star."
Last-Modified: February 1, 2018 10:05 AM EST