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Orlando Palmeiro

Sport: Baseball

Born: January 19, 1969

Town: Hoboken

Orlando Palmeiro was born January 19, 1969 in Hoboken. His family moved to South Miami Heights when he was a boy. Three out of five families in this part of the city are Spanish-speaking, and about a quarter are of Cuban descent, like Orlando. Baseball was the family game (his older cousin is Rafael Palmeiro) and Orlando made his mark as a left-handed hitter in the local youth leagues. He attended Miami Southridge High School, where he was the star of the Spartans varsity.

After high school, Orlando was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 57th round of the 1987 draft. He chose not to sign, and enrolled at Miami-Dade South Community College hoping to continue developing his baseball talent. The Yankees drafted him a year later, but he chose to continue playing college ball. In 1991, he move to the University of Miami and was part of the powerhouse team coached by Ron Fraser. Among his teammates was Charles Johnson, a future All-Star catcher.

The California Angels drafted Orlando at the end of the 1991 college season and this time he decided to go pro. He was a consistent .300 in the minors and showed speed on the bases. He made his big-league debut in 1995 and played a total of eight seasons with the Angels. he served as a reserve outfielder, left-handed pinch-hitter and DH. He enjoyed his best season in 2000, at age 31. Orlando batted .300 with 20 doubles.

Orlando became a free agent after the 2002 season. He played one year with the Cardinals and finished his career with the Houston Astros in 2007. Orlando played in two World Series—one with the Angles and one with the Astros—and made the final out for the Astros in their four-game loss to Chicago in 2005. He had one hit in six at bats. Orlando retired with 105 pinch-hits. An excellent contact hitter, he was one of the toughest batters in the game to strike out.


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