Thirty-five years after making his major-league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fernando Valenzuela has achieved another major milestone.
The Dodgers pitching great raised his right hand and took an oath of allegiance to the U.S. alongside approximately 8,000 others at a ceremony on Wednesday, officially becoming a U.S. citizen 36 years after he first entered the country.
Valenzuela's wife, Linda, was also granted her U.S. citizenship a few months ago.
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The 54-year-old pitcher who became an instant hit in Los Angeles in his first full season in the majors in 1981 could have chosen to have a private ceremony, but instead opted to join the multitudes of fellow Angelenos in the mass ceremony on Wednesday.
Valenzuela, who was born in Navojoa, Sonora, Mexico on Nov. 1, 1960, played a total of 17 seasons in MLB, 11 of which he spent with the Dodgers.
As a member of the Blue Crew, Valenzuela went 141-116 with a 3.31 ERA and 1,759 strikeouts in 2,348 2/3 innings, tossing 107 complete games and 29 shutouts in 320 starts.
(h/t Dodgers Insider)