- Search The Registry
- Teacher’s Forum
- Street Team Youth Programs
- About Us
- Creating Support
- My Account
*Ozzie Virgil was born on this date in 1932. He is an Afro Dominican retired professional baseball player and coach.
Osvaldo José Virgil Pichardo was born in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. His family emigrated to the United States when he was 13 and settled in The Bronx, where Virgil graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School. He served in the United States Marines from 1950–52 and began his 17-season professional playing career in 1953. On September 23, 1956, he became the first person from his native country to play in the Majors when he started for the Giants at third base against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Twenty-one months later, on June 6, 1958, Virgil became the first player of African descent to take the field for the Detroit Tigers, again starting at third base, this time against the Washington Senators. In a nine-season big-league career, Virgil posted a .231 batting average with 174 hits, 14 home runs and 73 RBI in 324 games. After his playing career ended, Virgil spent 19 seasons as a coach for the Giants (1969–72; 1974–75); Montréal Expos (1976–81); San Diego Padres (1982–85); and Seattle Mariners (1986–88). From 1977–88, he served as the third-base coach on the staff of Baseball Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams.
Basically, a third baseman, Virgil played all positions except pitcher and center field. He batted and threw right-handed, was 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall, and weighed 174 pounds (79 kg). His son, catcher Ozzie Jr., played in all or parts of 11 MLB seasons and was a two-time National League All-Star. Osvaldo Virgil National Airport serves the Monte Cristi Province, north of the Dominican Republic. This airport was opened in 2006 for tourism with flights from other Dominican airports.