Urban Shocker’s Weblog
Dominican Beisbol & Baltimore Orioles Baseball News

Hit King LUIS POLONIA – The Aguilas’ Atomic Ant Breaks Dominican Hit Record

Luis Polonia shows off his record-breaking form

Luis Polonia shows off his record-breaking form

Luis Polonia smiles after breaking the record

Luis Polonia smiles after breaking the record

 

Luis Polonia passed Miguel Dilone as the Dominican League’s all-time leader in hits last night.   Considering the league’s official website calls Polonia “la Hormiga Atomica” (roughly the Atomic Ant), I was tempted to say he crawled to the top of the leaderboard, but anybody who’s seen Little Looie race around the basepaths knows that wouldn’t really be accurate. 

Besides, he wasted little time piling up three hits yesterday in classic Polonia fashion:  a broken bat single in the first, then a roller through the right side, and finally a line drive up the middle for the record breaker.  Polonia’s historic hit came off left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher, who’s spent parts of the last two seasons with the San Diego Padres.

As for Polonia, he hasn’t been spotted in the majors since 2000, when he notched a single in two at bats to help the New York Yankees win their third straight World Series.  He also earned a ring with the 1995 Braves, and batted .293 overall in 12 big league seasons from 1987-2000.  He was a pesky singles hitter who finished in the American League’s top five in stolen bases for three consecutive years in the early nineties.  He often wore uniform number 22, which one former teammate joked represented the title of the book about hitting 100 fly balls in Polonia’s direction.  Catch 22.  Unfortunately, he’s probably better remembered in the USA for an incident with an underage girl on a road trip to Milwaukee early in his career, but at home in the Dominican he’s baseball royalty.

Consider he’s been a .308 hitter for the last 25 years (!) for the Aguilas Cibaenas, one of the baseball mad nation’s two most popular teams.  No one in league history has hit more triples, and Polonia is likely to shatter another of Dilone’s career marks in a few days by becoming the circuit’s all-time leader in runs scored.  Since Polonia first suited up for the Aguilas, they’ve won 12 of their league record 20 Dominican League championships and were runners up for five more.  Polonia and the Aguilas show no signs of slowing down.  His three hits last night raised his batting average over .360 and helped his teammates move into a first place tie with their ninth win in 10 tries!

Dethroned hit king Miguel Dilone is worth a mention as well.  Like Polonia, he made his mark in the black and yellow colors of the Aguilas as a weak-armed oufielder with speed to burn and an affinity for stroking singles.  Dilone also spent a dozen years in the majors where, despite an alleged attitude problem, he batted .265 and stole 267 bases.  His best season came with the Cleveland Indians in 1980 when he hit .340 and stole 61 bags.  One Dominican League record of Dilone’s that seems safe is his stolen base mark.  Polonia is in second place in that category, but a whopping 215 steals behind!

by MALCOLM ALLEN

malallen@live.com

DOMINICAN LEAGUE ALL-TIME HIT LEADERS (through 11/15/08)

878 – Luis Polonia

877 – Miguel Dilone

865 – Jesus Alou

822 – Rafael Batista

800 – Manny Mota

768 – Winston Llenas

689 – Matty Alou

684 – Pedro Gonzalez

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3 Responses to “Hit King LUIS POLONIA – The Aguilas’ Atomic Ant Breaks Dominican Hit Record”

  1. Hi Urban!

    As a matter of fact, previous yesterday game, we as a fansite, made a humble tribute to Luis Polonia. We set some kids to give him a plate with our admiration for his career and devotion to Águilas Cibaeñas. We really love our Hormiga Atómica, and he is really nice to see us everyday. And he’s FUN… and I really mean FUN! This guy will joke almost in any circunstance… :)

    Regarding Diloné… I’m a 40 years old guy. I was born in Santo Domingo city, and I’m sure you know Águilas Cibaeñas is located in Santiago, 2 hours Northwest Santo Domingo. We are really regionalist when it comes to following a team, so my family was expecting me to become a tigers or Lions fan. But when I begun watching games, I saw Miguel Diloné flying over the bases, stealing second base, then thrid base, THEN HOMEPLATE on squeeze plays! Oh, boy! I became Aguilucho just because of Diloné. I still attend the games at Cibao Stadium, and anytime I meet him I salute him as “Daddy Diloné”. He might be passed by Polonia and that’s OK, but I’m still pretty sure that Diloné was more important for Águilas than Polonia has been.

    See, When Diloné played (1972-1994) he was THE owner of the game. People from many cities away from Santiago traveled just to see Diloné at bat. The Cibao stadium had sellouts almost any Sunday just because people wanted to see the “Saeta”. I was lucky to witness many of the crazy plays he did, like reaching second base on a bunt, scoring a run with just a single, reaching SECOND base with “touch-and-run” flyballs to Left or Right field… he was terrific, and probably he holds the record of pitchers throwing bad to the bases trying to catch him away. :)

    The Aguiluchos enjoyed every steal and hit, but also the rivals enjoyed when for some reason he was out running the bases… that was their biggest achievement! One day on the ’80s, we won a very tight game against the Lions but some fellow lion fan was sooooo happy. When I asked why he smiled even bigger and told me “at least we caught Diloné stealing second base!”

    Diloné IS still leyend and for older fans like me, Polonia might surpass every record Diloné made, but we’re still sure nobody has been more important for a team as Diloné was for the Äguilas back in his glorious years.

    The best thing of Diloné and Polonia? They are BOTH Águilas players their whole careers! Oh, how much we enjoy being Aguiluchos! :D

  2. Thank you very much for your comment Dario! I really enjoyed it.

    I knew Polonia a little bit when he came up with A’s and gave him his first major league baseball card. He is a funny guy. I’m very happy for his success and the respect he’s earned at home in the DR.

    As for Dilone, I remember seeing him play for Cleveland, and I’ve learned a lot about him in researching old newspaper articles.

    I’ll definitely come visit the good people over at http://www.aguiluchos.com

  3. Malcolm I think you did a great Job on this inteview!!


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