Epy Guerrero dies at 71

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   May 24, 2013 at 3:58 PM
| License Photo

The man largely credited for opening up the path from the Dominican Republic to Major League Baseball died Thursday at the age of 71.

Epy Guerrero, a baseball scout for the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, opened the first baseball academy in the Dominican Republic and helped a number of future greats navigate the path between the Caribbean and their sport's biggest stage.

In Toronto, where Guerrero is particularly revered for signing Carlos Delgado, Tony Fernandez, Alfredo Griffin and George Bell, the Blue Jays held a moment of silence before Thursday night's game in his honor.

In 2012, Guerrero recounted a story of the time he spotted a talented young pitcher and wanted to sign him, but the Blue Jays' pitching expert Mel Queen wasn't impressed.

"Because of Queen, Toronto doesn’t get a hall of famer: Pedro Martinez,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero was first hired in 1965 by Pat Gillick, then in charge of the Astros' farm system, and followed him to the Yankees and then the Jays, where Gillick was the general manager from 1978 to 1994.

“He had a keen eye for talent,” Gillick said. “A very loyal employee, a hard worker. He had a love and a passion for the game.”

The Dominican Republic is a major provider of talent to the sport -- more professional players come from there than any other country, save the U.S.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Top Stories
Why the fake braces trend may be dangerous for users
Jared Leto 'stopped eating' for his 'Dallas Buyer's Club' role
Kelly LeBrock arrested for DUI
Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady drop $14M on Manhattan home
Brandi Brandt faces drug charges in Australia