Ramon Hernandez was born on August 31, 1940 in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the same town as Roberto Clemente. His path to becoming one of the best relief pitchers in was a winding road.
Before the 1959 season, he was actually signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent. But after two sub-par years in the organization, the California Angels purchased his contract. Then in the 1966-1967 off-season, he was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the Rule 5 Draft. He finally made it to the Bigs, pitching 51.2 innings of 4.18 ERA.He was eventually removed from the Braves 40-man roster again, and selected by the Chicago Cubs in the next Rule 5 Draft. He only pitched nine innings with Chicago in 1968 before his contract was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals. However, after not reaching the MLB level, the Cardinals released him at the end of March 1970.
He then went to the Mexican League for the 1970 season and pitched well enough for the Pittsburgh Pirates to pick him back up for 1971.He spent most of the 1971 season at Triple-A, pitching to overall sub-par numbers. He had a 4.02 ERA through 47 innings. However, the Bucs gave him a short stint in the majors, and he was extremely impressive in 12.1 innings. He gave up just one earned run, five hits, twp walks, and he struck out seven.
In 1972, he would go on to establish himself as a dominant force out of the bullpen, saving 14 games. In 70 innings the relief pitcher posted a 1.67 ERA.
For the next three seasons he became a top relief pitcher in the MLB. From 1973-1975, posting a 2.67 ERA. After 1975, he pitched 43 more innings, but was not nearly as good as he was in 1972-1975. His contract was purchased by another familiar team, the Cubs, in September 1976. His time in Chicago did not last long, as he was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 1977 and played his last MLB game on July 27th.
Ramon Hernandez died on February 4, 2009, at age 68, in Carolina, Puerto Rico.