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Concepción and Enzo Hernández take their first steps

Enjoy a new installment of "Tripleplay" by Humberto Acosta

With the professional baseball season approaching, Ramón Navarro wanted to dedicate the next edition of “Podium” to the 2007-2008 championship. I was bent on "Today". To write about Bob Abreu, Magglio Ordóñez or Miguel Cabrera. Not from "yesterday". Neither of Luis Aparicio or Víctor Davalillo. In the end, Ramón convinced us. After all, he wasn't just the head of the magazine. Also, and most importantly, he was and is our friend. I ended up writing a story about David Concepción and Enzo Hernández, which even fifteen years later reveals that it has not lost its importance and validity. I hope you like it.

“Four decades have passed and there are still those who tear their clothes for one or the other. David Concepción or Enzo Hernández, Enzo Hernández or David Concepción? It was not the first controversy in the history of Venezuelan professional baseball and it will not be the last, although it was surrounded by formidable coincidences. Perhaps there lies the fact that he has withstood the passage of time without today, having a definitive answer to a dispute that may rather be limited to an eternal question: who was the most notable shortstop of his generation, David Concepción or Enzo Hernández? .

The starting point of this colossal verbal contest is found in the golden heritage that made Venezuelan baseball the supplier of some of the highest shortstops that have ever passed through the major leagues. So much so, that Concepción and Hernández are part of the national brotherhood, but none of their predecessors and predecessors, were like them involved in a domestic debate to determine who was the number one of his time, neither Alfonso Carrasquel, nor Luis Aparicio, neither Oswaldo Guillén, nor Omar Vizquel.

The flame of the controversy was lit exactly four years ago in the middle of the 67-68 championship, the first of David and Enzo invested as professional players. Concepción with the Tigres de Aragua and Hernández with the Tiburones de La Guaira. However, one and the other already enjoyed a certain notoriety.

Hernández since 1966, when he was the shortstop for the Anzoátegui team in the AA National Championship mounted in Maracay. Concepción since 1967, when he was the shortstop for Aragua in the AA National Championship mounted in Caracas. Of those events, Enzo was signed by the Houston Astros and Concepción by the Cincinnati Reds. To fuel the future controversy a little more, then the two managed to infiltrate the regular lineups of their teams, despite the presence of obstacles that seemed insurmountable in them, and their status as beardless rookies.

Debut with the Tigres at the Maracay stadium

In the infield of the Tigres, Concepción, barely 19 years old, met Cuban Jacinto Hernández, a shortstop with three years of experience in the big leagues.

In the box of the Sharks, Hernández, with only eighteen springs, ran into Luis Aparicio himself, who still kept the emblem as the most superior of the position in the American League and probably in the entire big top.

Besides, Aparicio was also the manager of La Guaira, a situation that would later work in favor of the oriental. The circumstances that surrounded the premiere of each one do not escape the ordinary chore of the world of baseball, but that is where the charm of it is.


It premiered against Cardenales de Lara

Concepción debuted in the first game of the campaign for the Tigres, on October 13, 1967, at the "José Pérez Colmenárez" stadium in the city of Maracay. Aragua received a visit from the Cardenales de Lara, and Cuban Wilfredo Calviño placed him at second base and eighth in the offensive order.

He took advantage of the opportunity offered by Calviño

“Calviño surprised me,” recalls Concepción. “I don't know, but I think the import that Tigres hired hadn't arrived. So I made my debut in the first championship game in Maracay. I was a bit scared, but as the game progressed I calmed down. I took advantage of the opportunity they gave me.”

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