Sunday, November 27, 2011

#52 Onix Concepcion

Card:  This is the first of four Onix Concepcion Topps cards.

Pic: A .239 career hitter, I'm sure Onix is not happy about having to hit uphill.

Player:  Onix Concepcion was signed by the Royals as a free agent from Puerto Rico in 1976.  With nearly five seasons of minor league ball under his belt, the shortstop got the attention of the Royals with his speed and back-to-back 300+ seasons and was called up to the Royals on August 30, 1980.  Concepcion played 12 games down the stretch for the division winning Royals, mainly as a pinch runner.  Beating the postseason roster deadline by one day, Concepcion rode the pine in the ALCS but pinch ran three times in the World Series as Kansas City fell to Philadelphia.

Concepcion spent most of '81 at AAA Omaha and appeared in two games in September with KC but did not bat.  Concepcion spent the entire '82 season with the Royals, played shortstop and second base and batted .234 in 205 at bats.  With George Brett limited to 123 gamesin '83, Concepcion filled in at thirdbase as well as up the middle for the Royals.  The 5'6" infielder batted .242 in 219 at bats with 10 stolen bases.

Concepcion was the Royals primary shortstop in '84 but missed six weeks with a sore shoulder and broken hand.  In 287 at bats, he batted .282 and hit the first home run of his career.  Concepcion went hitless in seven at bats as Kansas City lost to Detroit in the ALCS.  The strong-armed Concepcion returned as the Royals starting shortstop in '85 but batted only .204 in 314 at bats.  By September he had lost his job to Buddy Biancalana, an even weaker hitter who was regarded as the better glove man.  The 27 year-old Puerto Rican sat the bench in the '85 post-season, appearing in seven games as a sub, and going hitless in his only at bat as the Royals captured the World Series over the Cardinals.
Concepcion spent 1986 at AAA Omaha but was relegated to part time duty and was released at the end of the year.  Concepcion caught on with the Pirates in '87 and had a pinch hit on opening day.  Batting 1.000, he was sent down to AAA and not heard from in the majors again.    


Flipside:  Concepcion had his best month in May of '82 batting .329 in 82 at bats with 13 RBI.
Oddball:  Is Onix Concepcion his name or is he really Jorge L. Rodriguez?  Was he born in Puerto Rico or Brooklyn, NY?    According to this website he is really Rodriguez and was born in Brooklyn.  Not sure why the reason for the deception.  There are advantages for a foreign player assuming a new identity such as making themselves younger to impress scouts.  I haven't seen this information anywhere else so I don't know what to make of it.

History:  Concepcion's (or is it Rodriguez..?) biggest claim to fame is as a member of the '85 champion Royals.  He also saw time in the '80 Series and '84 ALCS.  Not too bad for a player appearing in less than 400 major league games. 


  1. Always loved that name - Onix Concepcion. So don't take that away from me after all these years ;-)

  2. I remember getting this card and being totally amazed that there would be another person in the majors with the last name of Concepcion.

    Maybe there was a reason for my amazement ...