Niño Escalera Breaks The Color Barrier With The Cincinnati Reds (April 17, 1954)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS:
Escalera, Victor Pellot and Orlando Cepeda are considered among the best first basemen in Puerto Rican history.
Puerto Rican-native Saturnino “Niño” Escalera Cuadrado became the first Afro-Latino to play for the Cincinnati Redlegs, now known as the Cincinnati Reds, on April 17, 1954. He and former Negro Leaguer Chuck Harmon broke the team’s color barrier that same historic day. As a consistent .300-plus hitter in the minor leagues, the 20-year-old attracted the attention of the New York Yankees in 1950.
The Cincinnati Redlegs purchased his contract in 1952. During his only season in Major League Baseball, Escalera played in 73 games. From 1955-1962, he played with several teams in the International League and ended his 14-year pro baseball career in 1962.
From 1966 to 1981, he scouted for the New York Mets and for the San Francisco Giants the following year. As a scout, he signed several future All Stars and World Series champs to major-league contracts.
Escalera is a member of the Puerto Rico Baseball Hall of Fame, Río Piedras Sport Hall of Fame, Puerto Rico Sports Hall of Fame and the Santurce Sport Hall of Fame.