An Interview with Thomas E. Van Hyning

Ismael Nuñez
Puerto Rican Sun
July 20, 2009

Here's a little trivia. Besides holding the Major League Baseball record for lifetime steals, he also holds the record for lifetime stolen bases in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He's going into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 26. Who is he? Ricky Henderson! What do these other Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, Mike Schmidt, Cal Ripken, Tony Gywnn, have in common? They played in the Puerto Rican Winter League!

Two books of which this reporter recommends (two favorites of my baseball book collection) Puerto Rico's Winter League: A History of Major League Baseball's Launching Pad   And the other The Santurce Crabbers: Sixty Seasons of Puerto Rican Winter League Baseball. Two books which give a proud history of the island/nation's contribution to baseball. Here's more Monte Irvin (who was idolized by Roberto Clemente), Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, all major stars in the Negro Leagues played in PR. Hall of Fame Manager got his first gig managing there. The two books (published by McFarland, 1-800-253-2187; available from Amazon) don’t just focus on the players; there are chapters on umpires, beat reporters, fans.

Recently Puerto Rican Sun Puerto Rican Sun had the honor to interview this proud writer online. Van Hyning was getting ready to attend for a trip to Cooperstown.

A lot of people likely say: “How did you an Anglo or Gringo born/raised in the United States end up in Puerto Rico?
My family moved to Puerto Rico in September 1956, when I was 2. A cargo ship from Baltimore, Maryland, to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
So growing up there you had