El Duque Retires in Miami

Former New York Yankee and World Series champion officially retires from baseball

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Orlando Hernandez hung up his baseball glove Thursday in Miami.

    "El Duque" has hung up his spikes.

    "Time to make room for younger players," said Orlando Hernandez, the Cuban born pitcher who played on four World Championship Major League baseball teams.

    Hernandez officially retired Thursday at a ceremony in Miami.

    He is best known for his post season heroics pitching for the New York Yankees and his amazing journey from Cuba to the Major Leagues.

    "El Duque" and his brother, Livan, are huge Miami fan favorites.

    Livan Hernandez pitched for the Florida Marlins and helped when the 1997 World Series.

    His "I love you Miami!" sound bite after the clinching win set his place in Miami sports lore.

    "El Duque" is also beloved in Miami for his dramatic boat escape from Cuba and detention in the Bahamas, before he was eventually allowed to enter the U.S. from Costa Rica.

    Hernandez's story is legend in Miami where he has maintained a home since arriving from Cuba. He is known around town for being a humble, down to earth person not affected by his wealth or fame.

    "He is approachable for everyone. He loves to talk," said Anler Morejon of Bacardi USA, Inc., which hosted "El Duque's" retirement announcement Thursday.

    In retirement, Hernandez has plenty to look back on.

    He had a lengthy and productive career, especially considering many believe he was well into his 30s when he got to the Yankees. Hernandez officially ends his career with a 95-65 record and won championship rings with the Yankees and the Chicago White Sox.

    When asked about his age, Hernandez said he was 41, but even that is a moving target.

    "Today it is 41. Tomorrow it is 42 and in three years? I don't know," he said.

    Some reports put his age at nearly 50.

    Hernadez last pitched in the Majors for the New York Mets in 2007, but injuries set him back.

    Over teh past few years, El Duque has bounced around the minors, first with the Texas Rangers and then most recently in the Washington Nationals farm system in 2010.

    When he was not called up to the major league team in September, Hernandez left the organization.

    What's next?

    Hernadez has a baseball academy, looks like he will have some endorsements with one of Bacardi's beer products and then there is golf. He recently won a very competitive tournament, has a four handicap and says he just might turn pro.