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03/02/2007 Archived Entry: "MAESTROS OF MEXICO #9: Nelson Barrera"
NELSON BARRERA ROMELLON
Height: 6’0”. Weight: 180.
Born: October 17, 1957.
Birthplace: Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, Mexico
Died: July 14, 2002 in Campeche, Campeche, Mexico.
Batted Right. Threw Right.
One of the most beloved and admired figures in Mexican baseball history, Nelson “The Admiral” Barrera Romellon was a mainstay at third base in the LMB for 26 seasons. Barrera was born October 17, 1957 in Cuidad del Carmen, Campeche and grew up to be a 6’0” 180-pounder. Surprisingly, given his career power totals, Barrera was not considered a home run hitter for the first few years of his Liga career. In fact, he hit just 48 roundtrippers over his first seven campaigns between 1977 and 1983. However, Barrera broke through as a 26-year-old in 1984 with Mexico City, cracking 23 homers while hitting .354 and driving in 101 runs. That led to an invitation to spring training by the Chicago White Sox in 1985. After batting just .176 with two homers for Class AAA Buffalo, Barrera was sent back to the Diablos Rojos and never played outside Mexico again.
He went on a three-year tear between 1986 and 1988 for Mexico City, belting 110 homers and driving in 383 runs while posting batting averages of .350, .349 and .372. While he never approached those kinds of numbers for the rest of his career, The Admiral remained one of the most respected and feared batters in Mexico through the rest of the 20th century. Barrera retired with 455 career homers, two more than all-time great Hector Espino’s 453. His 1,928 career RBIs is also the Liga’s all-time best, as are his 972 extra-base hits and six 100-plus RBI seasons. He finished with 2,938 career hits (second behind Jesus Sommers) and a lifetime batting average of .298. Along with Sommers, he had 19 seasons of 100 or more hits. Barrera hit three homers in a seven-inning game, and once had a streak of seven bombs over a five-game stretch.
Barrera was a fairly marginal batter in the winter Pacific League, hitting .254 over 15 seasons with Culiacan and Mexicali (although he was the LMP’s MVP for the Tomateros in 1984-85 with 15 homers and 68 RBIs). Barrera made his hits count in the winter, and stands sixth in career homers with 131 and 9th in RBIs with 479. His eight career grand slam homers are a MexPac record. He played in five Caribbean Series between 1983 and 1988, winning a title with Mexicali in 1986 in Venezeula.
Barrera was respected as a manager, too, leading the Oaxaca Guerreros to the LMB crown in 1998 while turning in 15/110/.321 numbers as a player. More recently, he was managing the Campeche Piratas in his home state when he died tragically in 2002 after he was electrocuted by a live hanging wire while doing repairs on the roof of his home following a severe windstorm. The ballpark in Campeche has been named in his honor.
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