Cuban Baseball Hall of Famer Julio Becquer
Julio (Villegas) Becquer was born in Havana, Cuba on December 20, 1931. Becquer batted and threw left handed and was 5’11” and about 178 lbs. Julio attended the University of Havana and was signed to play for the Washington Senators as a free agent prior to the 1952 season by super scout Joe Cambria who was famous for signing numerous Cuban players. After spending 1952-1954 in the minors, Julio got his first call to the big leagues in late 1955 but in 1956 he was back in the minors. Becquer made the Senators team in 1957 and played there through the 1960 season but never could get a full time job. After the 1960 season the Los Angeles Angels claimed Julio in the expansion draft but again Becquer was behind some big name players and could not get the full time role he coveted. Julio’s stay with the Angels was short and they sold him to the Phillies who kept him for a short time in their minor league system before Calvin Griffith brought him back to the organization but this time as a Minnesota Twin. Julio only played in 57 games with 84 at bats in 1961 but that pinch hit grand slam on July 4th of that season is one of the Twins all-time highlights. Julio made one more appearance in a Twins uniform, in 1963 when Calvin Griffith activated Julio so that he would qualify for his major league pension.
Julio was in the big leagues for seven different seasons playing primarily first base with a few games in the outfield and during that time he played in 488 games, had 1,029 plate appearances, hit 12 homeruns and stole 8 bases and finishing with a career batting average of .244. Julio also made two pitching appearances, one for the Senators and one for the Twins pitching a total of 2.1 innings and giving up 4 earned runs.
Julio was inducted in to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 joining seven other Twins enshrined there. Today Julio is retired and living in Minneapolis, Minnesota and enjoying the good life.
The interview with Julio is 51 minutes in length and took place in May 2010.