Suárez named top Venezuelan MLB player in '19

October 23rd, 2019

Reds third baseman is a proud Venezuelan, and it showed on Sept. 18 after a win vs. Cubs. That night at Wrigley Field, Suárez hit his 48th home run of the season and broke the single-season home run record by a Venezuelan-born player that previously belonged to Andrés Galarraga.

With a giant bottle of champagne in hand -- a gift from his teammates -- Suárez had tears in his eyes as and he and the players sang the Venezuelan national anthem, “Gloria al Bravo Pueblo.”

On Wednesday, Suárez was named the Luis Aparicio Award winner, an honor given each year for the best performance in a season by a Venezuelan-born Major League player. The 28-year-old beat out fellow finalists Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Braves and Gleyber Torres of the Yankees to become a first-time winner of the award.

Given since 2004, the Luis Aparicio Award is voted on by Venezuelan and international Spanish-speaking members of the media that cover baseball.

“For me, it’s an honor and a privilege to know that I’m the winner of the Luis Aparicio Award,” Suarez said via a press release. “It makes me proud and happy, because it’s the biggest award for us Venezuelans. Luis Aparicio is the only Hall of Famer that we Venezuelans have, and that means a lot to me.

“I know the competition wasn’t easy, knowing that my countryman, my brother, whom I love, respect and admire, Ronald, had one of his best seasons. He was close to being a 40-40 player, and for me to beat him this year for this award is an honor and a privilege. I’ll enjoy this one with great humility, always thanking God.”

Over his 159 games in 2019, Suárez batted .271 with a .930 OPS, 49 home runs and 103 RBIs. He finished second in the Major Leagues in homers while ranking sixth in the National League for total bases, eighth with a .572 slugging percentage and 10th in RBIs. His 29 homers after the All-Star break led the Majors.

Galarraga’s old record of 47 homers for the Rockies had stood since 1996. Known as the “Big Cat” during his playing days, he sent Suárez congratulatory text messages when he tied and broke the record.

The homer total by Suárez was good for second in Reds history behind the 52 hit by George Foster in 1977. It was also the second-highest total ever for a Major League third baseman as Alex Rodriguez hit 52 of his 54 homers for the Yankees at that position in 2007.