The Mask of Zoilo

Howdy doody kiddos! I’m back! Bet you didn’t miss me and my esoteric baseball trivia. I’ve been crazy busy traveling the country catching baseball games, working like a madman, and thinking of cool ways to make fun of my sister’s boyfriend. (He’s a dream, but I just love making fun of the poor guy) All this great stuff has impeded me from imparting my incredible wisdom on you, my dear readers.

Anyway, on to names. Some of you real baseball fans (that means you, Sackler) may have seen a guy named Zoilo Almonte, who debuted for the Yankees this season and is holding his own in the tough AL East.
Surprisingly, Almonte has a long ways to go if he wants to be the best Zoilo to ever don a Major League uniform. You see, the subject of today’s post is a former American League MVP. His name – Zoilo Versalles.

Versalles, a shortstop and native of Vedado, Cuba, won the MVP Award in 1965, leading the league in runs, doubles and triples, to go along with a league-leading strikeout total. He also won a Gold Glove Award that year – the second and last of his career. He was the first Latin American player to win the MVP.

Zoilo rules!

Zoilo rules!

Versalles was actually statistically one of the worst players to ever win an MVP Award, but he won it. Tony Gwynn, one of the game’s all-time greats, never won one. Nor did Mike Piazza. Nor did Johnny Mize. So many of baseball’s legends can’t say they won one. Yet Zoilo did.

He may be one of baseball’s least known MVPs, but he has one of baseball’s most valuable names.

And for that, I must say, you go, Zoilo!

About Rob

Huge San Diego Padres fan, working as an economic consultant in Pasadena, CA. Contributor to the Funny Names Blog.
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14 Responses to The Mask of Zoilo

  1. kerbey says:

    My great-grandmother Zoila was from Cuba, so it must be a Cuban thing. “Almonte” makes me want to eat Del Monte green beans. I don’t have to tell you what Mike Piazza makes me want to eat.

    • Dave says:

      Haha, there was a great segment on the Jim Rome show years ago (hard to believe, but I think it was like 14 years ago) where this prank caller called in and said a bunch of really knowledgeable things, and nobody knew he was a prank caller until he started saying “Mike Pizza”. Rome promptly cut him off. I was the longest I’ve ever seen a prank caller successfully go on that show.

      • Rob says:

        I still like calling him Mike Pizza. Didn’t Rome call his show the “jungle” or something?

        • Dave says:

          Yeah, he kicked the guy out of “the jungle” as soon as he said “Pizza.” Not as bad as when he kicked out a 92-year-old listener for reading off of prepared notes rather than speaking spontaneously. Not the most altruistic fella, that Jim Rome…

  2. Dave says:

    Very interesting. I’ve always known the name, but didn’t know the story. Very cool! I wonder if he’s the only MVP never to hit above .280 in his career…

    • Rob says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised! Assuming we’re talking about only position players, of course. There may have been a pitcher or 12 that didn’t meet that mark. But among position players, I’d be shocked if there’s another MVP that didn’t.

  3. amb says:

    Rob! You? Making fun of people?! Why, I cannot imagine the circumstances in which that could ever happen at all. *

    * I totally can. You crack me up.

    • Rob says:

      I never make fun of people. Ever! Unless they’re worthy of being made fun of.

      And you crack me up! Actually, pretty much all Canadians do. Canadians are funny, eh? They’re like camping out in America’s hat all the time.

    • Dave says:

      Rob gets really creative when making fun of Vanessa’s boyfriend. It’s actually kind of fun to watch 🙂

  4. Dave says:

    P.S. Tallbert, the fact that my younger brother – who is also the youngest BoFN blogger – just started a post with “Howdy doody kiddos!” makes me feel really good about my life.

  5. Vanessa says:

    We’re famous! I thought you talked about me cause you think my name is funny. Oh well, you lose out sometimes! Nice learning about ya, Zoilo! Good on ya! Is it pronounced like “soil or swallow?

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