Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Story of Little Tito and His Famous Headband

It’s a kid’s story.  Seriously, I’ve got a publisher all lined up, and an illustrator … Caldecott Medal – here we come!

Tito, before he discovered the magic power of the headband.

1966. Tito Fuentes comes in third in Rookie of the Year voting. Never much of a slugger, he also set a career record for homers … with nine big ones.

If indeed looking like an uncoordinated dork constitutes action.

1971. Tito is a steady regular with the Giants, actually getting 630 at bats for them this year. Amazingly, he gets only 18 walks. His OBP is under .300!

I’ve got to assume he’s wearing the hatband under the batting helmet – though it’s a little hard to tell at this distance.  Heck, I’m not even sure what team he plays on, or which guy he might actually be.

1972. Another steady season, but with a drop in at bats, to 572.

No, no, Tito. It goes under the hat.

1973. Tito gets 656 at bats! And that’s good enough for third in the NL that year.

I guess Tito’s just not sure enough of himself to commit to the brand just yet. But, is that a little star over the “i”? Hold that thought, ‘kay?

1974. Tito’s last year with the Giants. He gets a mere 390 at bats.

Wow, personalized too. Though, if I didn’t know better, I’d think it said “TITS.”

1975. Tito’s back to being a regular, getting 565 at bats for the Pads.

That’s right, under the cap.  Though you do realize that you don’t really need one of these in baseball, right?

1976. His last year with the Pads, though the steady regular does get 520 at bats.

The dude just never gives up, does he?

1977. Though he’s just a fill-in for the young Tony Phillips, Fuentes finishes his last year with 615 at bats and a .309 average (the only time he would break .300).

After Detroit, Tito would get 43 at bats with the Expos. He would then become the Giants’ Spanish-language broadcaster, a role he’s filled on and off for 30-some years. He remains a huge fan favorite.

And in case you haven’t figured out by now, Tito Fuentes was, indeed, quite the hot dog. In addition to the headband and the little star on his signature, he also:

  • Sported a gold tooth
  • Did a nifty bat flip when he came up to the plate
  • Wore rings on all eight fingers
  • Favored red suits with wide lapels
  • Wore up to a dozen gold chains under his jersey while on the field


  1. I think you meant Lou Whitaker, not Tony Phillips. :-)

  2. Dang! Right you are. Thanks for the fact check.