FERNANDO ARROYO WAS A MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL (MLB) PROFESSIONAL PITCHER FOR 18 YEARS, AND SPENT ANOTHER 15 SEASONS AS A PROFESSIONAL PITCHING COACH WORKING WITH SOME OF THE MLB’S TOP ALL STARS, WORLD SERIES WINNING PITCHERS, AND PLAYERS.
He was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, and Oakland Athletics. On March 13, 2010, he was inducted into the Mexican American Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at the Jose Rizal Community Center in Sacramento, California.
“As a pitching coach,” he says, “I worked to perfect some of baseball’s finest arms. I also worked with fielders and catchers to increase their accuracy and velocity.” Fernando has also dedicated thousands of hours working with young players to learn the proper way of throwing so they can withstand long seasons on the way to fulfilling their dreams.
Fernando’s two greatest memories as a pitcher have to do with Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves and Rico Petrocelli of the Boston Red Sox.
He had become a MLB player, up from the minors in 1975. It was Fernando’s rookie year with the Detroit Tigers.
That year he faced Hank Aaron, who was nicknamed “Hammer,” or Hammering Hank,” who from 1954 – 1976 lead the MLB in career home runs. Hank played 21 seasons for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League and two seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League.
This was the first time Fernando faced Hank Aaron. It was the 7th inning and he was warming up in the bull pen when Ralph Houk went out to the pitcher’s mound and called Fernando in to replace the starting pitcher. The Brewers were leading.
The other pitchers in the bull pen were joking that he better be careful because he was going to be facing the Hammer. They said “don’t throw changeups or breaking balls. All that was left was a fast ball and “you know what he does with that.” So there wasn’t any pitch to throw.
Fernando got psyched knowing he was going to face the Hammer. He thought to himself “it’s just going to be you and me and I’m going to give you all that I have.”
When the Hammer came up to bat Fernando threw a fast ball and the Hammer shot that ball so high and so long that he knew it was a home run. But left fielder Ben Ogilvie reached up and caught it inches away from the bleachers.
Then at his next time at bat Fernando struck Hank out. “Those are the only two times I got to face him.”
Then later that year Fernando was in Boston when he was facing the Red Sox, still with the Detroit Tigers, pitching the entire game.
It was the ninth inning and Detroit was up five to three. But Boston had a runner on second and Rico Petrocelli came up to bat. Rico had 210 home runs in his career, with 773 RBI’s and 653 runs in 1,553 games.
The Red Sox had two outs but if Rico hit a home run, with their runner on second, it would tie up the game.
As a defensive move, Ralph Houk took out Terry Humphrey and put in Bill Freehan as the catcher. Freehan spent 15 years with the Detroit Tigers, was a 11 time All Star, and one of the premier catchers in the American League from the 1970’s into the early 1980’s.
When Rico stepped into the batter’s box Freehan put down three fingers for a slider; a breaking ball. Fernando shook him off. Then Freehan again put down three fingers. Fernando again shook him off.
Freehan called for a time out and walked out to Fernando. “What are you doing?” he said, “Petrocelli is a dead fast ball hitter.”
Fernando said, “I’m going with my vibes; trust me.”
Though he didn’t say it to Freehan, Fernando grew up in California with peace, love and hippies, where there were vibes.
So he went with his vibes and threw a fast ball. Rico hit a line drive right to third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez to win the game!
After being interviewed Fernando went into the club house at Fenway Park, the smallest club house in major league baseball, the size of your den, where all of the players could hear you and Bill Freehan yelled out: “What the heck are vibes? I have a rookie out on the mound talking about vibes. Can anyone explain to me what the heck are vibes?”
Bill Freehan puts the tag on Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Then the next day a Boston paper wrote an article about how “The Baltimore Orioles have probably never heard of Fernando Arroyo but they sure have now.” That’s because the Red Sox were in a tie with Baltimore before the game for the American League pennant and because of Fernando’s win the Red Sox went a half-a-game back.
What the Boston newspaper reporter didn’t realize, however, was that when Fernando became a MLB player in 1975, his first game was against the Baltimore Orioles, where he faced Brooks Robinson.
Fernando Arroya has lived in Vero Beach for 10 years, where he met his wife Sue. Although he did, during this time, have a stint in South Korea working as a pitching coach for Jerry Royster, a life time friend and best man at his wedding. They grew up together in Sacramento, California (Vibes) and Jerry Royster was the first non-Korean to manage the Lotte Giants in Busan, South Korea, one of South Korea’s professional baseball teams.
Jerry Royster previously coached the Vero Beach Dodgers. Thus, perhaps, Fernando’s attraction to Vero Beach.
Fernando’s invention is Armtrak, the first portable and patented visual aid invented to teach athletes of all ages a proper and repeatable throwing motion. Armtrak helps develop muscle memory to increase speed and accuracy when throwing. Additionally, the techniques learned with this device provide reduction in stress to the body and thus allowing increased longevity to the throwing arm.
Armtrak is a training device used by players at EVERY level of baseball and softball.
Armtrak places the arm in the proper throwing position to help correct arm slot, follow through and delivery.
It allows repeatable arm motion giving throwing arm effortless freedom with less elbow and shoulder stress.
And it teaches unrestricted motion that helps you to throw with less fatigue, thus promoting a healthier arm.
Amtrak is simple to set up to practice your arm’s throwing motion within the natural arm track lanes. Armtrak will prevent or break bad throwing habits. Best of all, Armtrak may extend a player’s career by preventing unnecessary stress to a player’s joints.