Juan Estando Vargas
a.k.a. Estanto José Vargas, Juan Esteban Vargas Marcano
Positions: rf, lf, cf, ss, 2b
Teams: Cuban Stars (1927-1931), New York Cubans (1938-1939, 1941-1944), Mexican League (1952-1953)
Height: 5' 10'' Weight: 160
Born: April 11, 1906, Santo Domingo de Guzman, Dominican Republic
Died: 1971, Guayama, Puerto Rico
A good all-around player, this hustling New York Cubans' center fielder hit for average and with power, excelled defensively, had a good arm, and was a good base stealer who had a sprinter's stride and could "run like a deer," especially when going from first base to third base on a hit. He starred for the Cubans during the early 1940s, hitting in the heart of the batting order, and made back-to-back All Star appearances in 1942-1943.
He began his career in the Negro Leagues as a reserve shortstop with Alejandro Pompez's Cuban Stars in 1927 and had won the starting shortstop position and was batting leadoff for the team in 1931. In 1939 he had moved to the outfield and was the star of Pompez's New York Cubans. In 1941 he paired with Frank Coimbre to provide the offensive thrust to help the Cubans take the second-half title before losing to the Homestead Grays in the playoff for the Negro National League championship.
He also played in Puerto Rico, batting .410 in the winter of 1943-44, then stringing together consecutive seasons of .382 and .362 in 1946-1948 and finally batting .301 in 1949-1950. He also excelled in Mexico, batting .297 and .355 in 1952-1953 with the Estraeilas Orientals ballclub.
In 1923 he and two older brothers (Guagua and Juan) were ballplayers on the Escogido team in Santo Domingo, with Tetelo playing shortstop. Thirty years later, at age forty-six, while playing in the 1953 winter league in his home country, he batted over .350 to out-hit Ray Dandridge and win the batting title. Tetelo Vargas remains one of the best baseball players of all time from the Dominican Republic.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.