Jose Joaquin Bautista (Arias)
The son of an Israeli mother and a Dominican father, this right-handed hurler was signed by the New York Mets organization at the age of 17. An observant Jew who tries to keep the Sabbath, Bautista told reporters while he was with St. Louis, "My family and I go to synagogue when we can and we pray every Friday. We fast on Yom Kippur and not only do I not pitch, I don't even go to the ball game."
Because he was from the Dominican Republic, it took a while for reporters to realize he was Jewish. He explained, "The first time they found out was when I was with the Chicago Cubs in 1993. I had taken my shirt off and a reporter saw that I was wearing a Star of David and asked me, 'why are you wearing that?' Even after I told him that my mother gave it to me, it took a little while before he got the point." When asked about his heroes, he named, of course, Sandy Koufax, and said, "Most of the time, we Jews look for someone to look up to...He was one of the best pitchers in the world and he was a Jewish pitcher, and a left-hander to boot, so I really admired him."
Bautista is quoted in The Big Book of Jewish Baseball as saying, "Even though there aren't many Jews in the Dominican Republic, I would like to go back home and build a synagogue in my native land. That way, they will forever have a house of God."
Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 25, 1964
Born in the Dominican Republic, Bautista was Bar Mitzvahed, even as his family practiced Judaism in private in the mostly Catholic country. In 1981, Bautista was signed by the New York Mets when he was only 17 years old. After spending seven years in the Mets' minor league system, he finally made his big-league debut in 1988, with the Baltimore Orioles.
That year, he broke into the starting rotation as the Orioles lost the first 21 games of the season (an AL record). Baltimore finished the season 54-107 as Bautista had a promising rookie campaign, finishing 6-15 with a 4.30 ERA in 33 games (25 starts). Jose remained with the Orioles with fair results until 1991, then resurrected his career as an outstanding reliever for the Chicago Cubs in 1993. That season, he appeared in 58 games (second most in the NL) with a sterling won-lost mark of 10-3, and a glittering ERA of 2.82; his .769 winning percentage was fourth in the league.
Bautista remained in the majors for four more seasons, pitching for the Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers, and St. Louis Cardinals.
Bautista pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, 1988-1991, the Chicago Cubs, 1993-1994, the San Francisco Giants, 1995-1996, and the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals in 1997.
6'1", 177 pounds
Games Started: 49
Complete Games: 4
Innings Pitched: 685.2
Hits Allowed: 732
Strike Outs: 328
Home Runs: 0
Batting Average: .100
Double Plays: 6
Total Chances per Game: 0.5
Fielding avg: .966