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Carlos Delgado

Carlos Juan Delgado Jr. was born on June 25, 1972 in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.  Carlos grew up with a variety of interests, thanks in large part to his parents, Carlos and Carmen. His father was a drug and alcohol counselor. His mother worked as a medical laboratory assistant. Both preached the importance of a good education, but neither was blind to their eldest son's obvious athletic ability. Though the Delgados lived comfortably, they realized a career as a professional athlete might take Carlos a long way.
Carlos inherited his athletic skills from his father's side of the family. His grandfather was a first baseman whose booming bat was legend in Aguadilla. Carlos's dad was a talented basketball player who stood 6-4 and tipped the scales at more than 300 pounds. To this day, the Blue Jay slugger is known back home as "Little Carlos."


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Carlos joined his first organized baseball league when he was six. Bigger than all his teammates (he weighed more than 100 pounds), Carlos was told to go behind the plate. He took to catching right away.
Despite his deep love for baseball, Carlos found time for other sports. At 14, as a sophomore at Jose de Diego High School, he considered concentrating solely on volleyball. His father convinced him that he was making a mistake. The elder Delgado sensed his son's destiny awaited him on the diamond.

In the summer of 1988, the Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Montreal Expos, Cincinnati Reds and Toronto Blue Jays all wanted to sign Carlos. He chose Toronto. At the time, the organization was far ahead of the learning curve in developing young Hispanic talent. The jewels of the franchise were George Bell, Nelson Liriano and Tony Fernandez. GM Pat Gillick believed Carlos had more potential than any of them.

Carlos inked a deal that included a $90,000 signing bonus. Toronto also agreed to foot the bill for his college education, if he decided to pursue one. That was all the Delgados needed to hear;they fully supported their son's desire to play professional baseball, but only if he had a backup plan in the event he failed.

In the summer of 1989, after completing his final year of high school, Carlos joined St. Catharine's, Toronto's Class-A affiliate in the New York-Penn League. Before he left, his father gave him two pieces of advice: Remember where you came from, and never let money or fame change you.