Esteban Loaiza

Esteban Antonio Loaiza Veyna [lo-EYE-sa] (born December 31, 1971) is a Mexican retired professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics, and Los Angeles Dodgers. Loaiza was the American League's (AL) starting pitcher in the 2003 All-Star Game. That year, he led the AL in strikeouts.

Esteban Loaiza
Born: (1971-12-31) December 31, 1971
Tijuana, Mexico
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 29, 1995, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
June 11, 2008, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record126–114
Earned run average4.65
Career highlights and awards

Early career

A graduate of Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach, California, Loaiza was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an undrafted free agent on March 21, 1991. He made his professional debut that year with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast Pirates 1991, finishing with a 51 record and a 2.26 earned run average (ERA) in 11 starts.[1] He moved through the Pirates farm system with stops at Augusta (class A – 1992), Salem (class A – 1993) and Carolina (class AA – 1993-1994).[1] He also played for the Mexico City Red Devils of the Mexican Summer League during the 1993 season. He has played with the Mexicali Aguilas of the Liga Mexicana Del Pacifico.

Major Leagues

Pittsburgh Pirates

Loaiza moved to the big league club in 1995, making his major league debut on April 29, 1995 for the Pirates against the Philadelphia Phillies. He worked five innings in the game, giving up five hits and one unearned run to achieve the first major league win of his career.[2] He finished his rookie season with an 89 record and a 5.16 ERA in 31 starts.[3]

He began the 1996 season back in the minors with the Triple-A Calgary Cannons,[4] but was recalled to the majors on June 7.

Texas Rangers

The Pirates traded Loaiza to the Texas Rangers on July 17, 1998, in exchange for Todd Van Poppel and Warren Morris.[5] He spent the next two seasons with Texas, pitching both as a starter and a reliever for the Rangers.[3]

Toronto Blue Jays

The Rangers traded Loaiza to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 19, 2000 for Michael Young and Darwin Cubillán.[6] He pitched with the Blue Jays through 2002.[3]

Chicago White Sox (20032004)

On January 24, 2003, Loaiza signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox.[7] He enjoyed a career season in 2003, receiving his first career All-Star selection.[3] He led American League pitchers in strikeouts (207) and finished second in wins (21) and strikeouts per nine innings (8.23); third in ERA (2.90), and sixth in innings pitched (226+13).[8] Considered for the Cy Young Award, Loaiza finished second behind Roy Halladay, ahead of Pedro Martínez and Tim Hudson.[9] Loaiza's 21 wins in 2003 are tied for the most ever in a season for a Mexican pitcher; Fernando Valenzuela won 21 games in 1986. In 2004, Loaiza was selected to his second All-Star Game as a member of the White Sox.[3]

New York Yankees

Loaiza pitching for the Washington Nationals on April 27, 2005.

Soon after his appearance in the All-Star Game, Loaiza was traded to the New York Yankees on July 31 for José Contreras.[10][11] He did not perform well in New York, recording a 8.46 ERA in six August starts, and was moved to the bullpen during the final month of the regular season.[12] During the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, he pitched well in two relief outings despite recording the loss in Game 5.[13]

Washington Nationals

On January 18, 2005, Loaiza signed a one-year, $2.9 million deal with the Washington Nationals as a free agent.[14] He went 1210 with a 3.77 ERA in 34 starts for the Nationals.[3]

Oakland Athletics

On November 28, 2005, Loaiza signed a three-year, $21.4 million contract with the Oakland Athletics.[15] He had a disastrous start to his Oakland career, which led many fans to question his acquisition. Loaiza went 03 in April with an 8.35 ERA and opponents batted .385 against him.[16] His early season troubles reached a nadir on April 29 when he gave up six runs in one plus innings to the Kansas City Royals, who had the worst record in baseball at the time; the game was not official since it was later rained out.[17] Loaiza's poor performance was at least partly due to injury, as he seemed to have very little velocity on his fastball early in the season (throwing it at as little as 82–83 mph)[18] and was placed on the disabled list with back and shoulder problems on May 2.[19] When he returned on June 8, he was inconsistent, but appeared to be much healthier, due to his ability to demonstrate a much harder 95 mph fastball.[20] On June 25, 2006, Loaiza pitched his first complete game in over two years in a 10–4 victory over the San Francisco Giants.[21] Loaiza finished the 2006 regular season with a 4.89 ERA and a record of 119 in 26 starts.[3]

Loaiza began the 2007 season on the disabled list due to a strained right trapezius.[22] The A's activated him and moved him back to the 25-man roster on August 22, 2007.[23]

Los Angeles Dodgers

Loaiza (far left) with fellow Dodgers pitchers Scott Proctor, Jonathan Broxton, Joe Beimel and Takashi Saito in 2008

On August 29, 2007, the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed Loaiza off waivers from the Athletics. Instead of trading for Loaiza, the Dodgers purchased the remainder of his contract.[24]

He made an impressive debut for the Dodgers on September 3, working seven innings and getting the win in an 11–3 victory over the Chicago Cubs, but struggled during the rest of the season, losing his last four decisions.[25][26]

Going into the 2008 season, he had fully recovered from his injuries and regained his spot as the fifth starter in the Dodgers rotation. Loaiza struggled at the beginning of the season, and as a result lost his starting position to lefty Hong-Chih Kuo. After a stint on the DL, Loaiza was designated for assignment on May 24 and subsequently released.[27]

Chicago White Sox (2008)

On June 4, 2008, Loaiza signed a one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.[28] After three relief appearances and six weeks on the disabled list, he was released on July 25.[29]

Personal life


In 2010, Loaiza married Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. He made several appearances on her family's reality television show, I Love Jenni. Divorce papers were filed on October 1, 2012. A statement, released by Rivera's representatives, stated that the divorce was due to "irreconcilable differences on behalf of both parties derived from private circumstances that occurred during the lapse of their two-year marriage." Rivera died on December 9, 2012, when her private plane crashed, before the divorce was finalized.[30]

On June 14, 2006, Loaiza was arrested after being pulled over by police who clocked his Ferrari at 120 mph (190 km/h) on a California freeway near San Lorenzo. He subsequently failed a sobriety test. He appeared in court on July 14, 2006. After the incident, Athletics general manager Billy Beane banned alcohol in both the home and visitor clubhouse, citing liability issues.[31]

Loaiza was arrested on February 9, 2018, in San Diego, California, with over 20 kilograms (44 lb) of cocaine, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. He was charged with felony counts of possession or purchase of narcotics and transportation or sale of narcotics.[32][33] Loaiza pleaded guilty to the charges in August, and was sentenced on March 8, 2019, to serve a three-year prison sentence.[34][35] He was released from prison on August 6, 2021 and deported to Mexico.[36]


  1. "Esteban Loaiza Minor, Mexican & Winter Leagues Statistics & History". Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  2. "Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies Box Score, April 29, 1995". April 29, 1995. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  3. "Esteban Loaiza Stats". Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  4. "1996 Calgary Cannons Statistics". Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  5. "Rangers Obtain Esteban Loaiza". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. July 18, 1998. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  6. Lebreton, Gil (July 29, 2016). "Michael Young formally takes his place in Rangers' Hall of Fame". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  7. "White Sox Sign 7 to Minor League Deals". Midland Daily News. January 26, 2003. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  8. "2003 American League Pitching Leaders". Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  9. "2003 Awards Voting". Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  10. "Yankees also send cash to Chicago". ESPN. Associated Press. July 31, 2004. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  11. Foltman, Bob (August 1, 2004). "Sox send Loaiza to Yankees". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  12. "Esteban Loaiza Game by Game Stats and Performance". ESPN. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  13. "2004 American League Championship Series (ALCS) Game 5, New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, October 18, 2004". October 18, 2004. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  14. "Loaiza agrees to deal with Nationals". NBC News. Associated Press. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  15. "Loaiza back in AL; signs three-year deal with A's". ESPN. Associated Press. November 28, 2005. Retrieved November 29, 2005.
  16. "Esteban Loaiza 2006 Pitching Splits". Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  17. "OAKLAND AT KANSAS CITY, POSTPONED (RAIN)". ESPN. Associated Press. April 29, 2006. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  18. Kuttner, Tony (April 23, 2006). "Twin killing: A's lose, Loaiza hurt". Oakland Athletics. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved March 11, 2007.
  19. Slusser, Susan (May 2, 2006). "A'S REPORT / Loaiza placed on DL; starter says he's fine". SFGate. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  20. "Sizzling A's finish sweep of Rays". The Sacramento Bee. Associated Press. August 14, 2006. Archived from the original on March 12, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2007.
  21. Quinn, Ryan (June 25, 2006). "Payton pushes A's past Giants in finale". Oakland Athletics. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  22. "Loaiza put on disabled list; Gaudin is the No. 4 starter". East Bay Times. April 2, 2007. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  23. Stiglich, Joe (August 23, 2007). "A's notes: Murphy placed on disabled list". The Mercury News. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  24. Rosenthal, Ken (August 29, 2007). "Dodgers claim Loaiza off waivers from A's". Fox Sports. Archived from the original on September 1, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  25. "Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs Box Score, September 3, 2007". September 3, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  26. "Esteban Loaiza 2007 Pitching Game Logs". Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  27. Gurnick, Ken (May 24, 2008). "Dodgers call up Kershaw for Sunday". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  28. "White Sox sign pitcher Esteban Loaiza to one-year contract and option Ehren Wassermann to Triple-A Charlotte". MLB Advanced Media. June 4, 2008. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved June 4, 2008.
  29. "White Sox make three roster moves". Chicago White Sox. July 25, 2008. Archived from the original on July 29, 2008. Retrieved July 25, 2008.
  30. Tamara, E. J.; Cohen, Sandy (December 21, 2012). "Music, roses at singer Jenni Ribera's memorial". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Associated Press. p. 12D. Retrieved August 7, 2018 via
  31. "Loaiza faces drunken driving, speeding charges". ESPN. Associated Press. June 15, 2006. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  32. Schad, Tom (February 12, 2018). "Police: Ex-MLB pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with 44 pounds of narcotics". USA Today. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  33. Healy, John; Fisher, Jason (January 19, 2018). "Ex-Yankee Loaiza arrested with 44 pounds of cocaine worth $500G". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  34. "Former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza pleads guilty to drug charges". ESPN. Associated Press. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  35. Miller, Scott (May 28, 2020). "Esteban Loaiza's Wrong Turn". Bleacher Report. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  36. "De regreso a México: Esteban Loaiza dejará la prisión en Estados Unidos". KVEA (in Spanish). August 5, 2021. Retrieved August 6, 2021.

Further reading

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