RIP to Julio Alonso, a Cuban native who became an ace pitcher in Texas’ Lamar University and a minor-league pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. He died on October 20 at the age of 64, according to his former college coach.
Alonso was born in Cuba on April 12, 1954. He came to the United States and attended high school in New York City. He was drafted by the White Sox in the 9th round of the 1973 Amateur Draft but elected to attend Lamar University. While pitching for the Lamar Cardinals, Alonso was named 1974 Southland Conference pitcher of the year. He went 11-1 that year and threw a no-hitter against UT Arlington. He was named to the All-Southland Conference teams in 1974 and 1975.
Alonso was drafted by the Tigers in the 1975 Draft. In five seasons in the minors, he was mostly used as a reliever. He appeared on 156 games, only 9 of which were starts. However, he threw 5 complete games in those 9 starts. He had some very effective seasons as a reliever, including a 6-4 record and 2.48 ERA in 1977, splitting time between the Tigers AA and AAA affiliates. He had a total of 29 career saves as well. Alonso’s last season in professional baseball was 1979.
“Greatest pitcher we ever had,” said Jim Gilligan, Alonso, head coach at Lamar. “Never seen anything like him. Unbelievable control. He comes back to our events every year.”