Tucson-area pro athletes

Sahuaro grad Verdugo 46th player from Southern Arizona to make big leagues

With Sahuaro High School graduate Alex Verdugo’s promotion today to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the list of Southern Arizonans who have made the major leagues increased to 46.

The list of 46 players comes from research performed by AllSportsTucson.com’s Anthony Gimino and Baseball-Reference.com.

Verdugo, who turned 21 in May, is slated to join the Dodgers tomorrow in San Diego for their series against the Padres.

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He is the second Southern Arizona product to make a major-league roster this season. Former Salpointe pitcher Dan Slania made his major-league debut with the San Francisco Giants on June 30.

Slania and Verdugo are the first players from Tucson-area high schools to advance to the big leagues since 2014, when former Sunnyside outfielder Stefen Romero was promoted to the Seattle Mariners and Sahuaro pitcher Pat McCoy joined the Detroit Tigers.

Romero is now starring in Japan with 22 home runs and 52 RBIs for Orix. McCoy has tried to make four different major-league teams since the Tigers waived him after the 2014 season. He was released by Cleveland during spring training this year.

Verdugo joins Slania, Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy (Sabino), Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler (CDO) and Arizona pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen (Tucson) as active major-league players from Southern Arizona high schools.

He is the sixth former Sahuaro player to make the big leagues, joining McCoy, outfielder Tom Wiedenbauer, pitcher John Butcher, shortstop Sammy Khalifa and outfielder Jim Olander.


Name Pos. Years High school
Tavo Alvarez P 1995-96 Tucson
Brian Anderson OF 2005-09 CDO
George Arias 3B 1996-99 Pueblo
Dave Baldwin P 1966-73 Tucson
John Butcher P 1980-86 Sahuaro
Mark Carreon OF-1B 1987-96 Salpointe
Jim Crawford P 1973-78 Rincon
Pat Darcy P 1974-76 Rincon
Lum Davenport P 1921-24 Tucson
Chris Duncan OF 2005-09 CDO
Shelley Duncan OF 2007-13 CDO

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Name Pos. Years High school
Erubiel Durazo 1B 1999-2005 Amphi
Scott Hairston OF 2004-14 CDO
J.J. Hardy SS 2005-17 Sabino
Ron Hassey C 1978-91 Tucson
Andy Hassler P 1971-85 Palo Verde
Gil Heredia P 1991-01 Nogales
Rich Hinton P 1971-79 Marana
Jack Howell 3B 1985-99 Palo Verde
Jason Jacome P 1994-98 Rincon
Elliot Johnson SS 2008-14 Thatcher
Alex Kellner P 1948-59 Amphi
Walt Kellner P 1952-53 Amphi

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Name Pos. Years High school
Sammy Khalifa SS 1985-87 Sahuaro
Ian Kinsler 2B 2006-17 CDO
Bob Lacey P 1977-84 Palo Verde
Eddie Leon SS-2B 1968-75 Tucson
Pat McCoy P 2014 Sahuaro
Willie Morales C 2000 Tucson
Paul Moskau P 1977-83 Rincon
Jim Olander OF 1991 Sahuaro
Tom Pagnozzi C 1987-98 Rincon
Colin Porter OF 2003-04 CDO
Stefen Romero OF 2014-16 Sunnyside

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Name Pos. Years High school
Anthony Sanders OF 1999-2001 Santa Rita
Chris Saenz P 2004 Tucson
Dan Schneider P 1963-69 Rincon
Dan Slania P 2017 Salpointe
Jason Stanford P 2003-07 CDO
Mel Stocker OF 2007 Cholla
Alex Verdugo OF 2017 Sahuaro
Jamie Vermilyea P 2007 Sabino
Ed Vosberg P 1986-2002 Salpointe
Tom Wiedenbauer OF 1979 Sahuaro
Tom Wilhelmsen P 2011-17 Tucson
Tim Wood P 2009-11 Sabino


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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