Alexander: Fernandomania wasn’t just transformative on the field

  • Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela receives flowers from three of his fans during a baseball clinic on May 16, 1981 in Los Angeles. Valenzuela became a cultural icon almost immediately during his sensational rookie season and helped the Dodgers reconnect with legions of Latinos for years to come. (AP Photo/RR)

  • In this Aug. 8, 1981, file photo, Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela pitches in the MLB All-Star Game in Cleveland. The 1981 season were dominated by Valenzuela, as the Mexican rookie took the region by storm, winning his first eight starts and throwing shutouts in five of them. (AP Photo/File)

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  • Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela sits in the Shea Stadium clubhouse on May 12, 1981. Valenzuela dazzled all of baseball during his rookie season, winning the NL Cy Young Award, the NL Rookie of the Year award and leading the team to a World Series title. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela is mobbed by teammates after they defeated the Montreal Expos for the National League pennant on Oct. 19 , 1981 in Montreal. Valenzuela pitched into the ninth inning and earned the victory. (AP Photo/Kennedy)

  • Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela is interviewed by Manager Tommy Lasorda before a game against the Chicago Cubs on June 7, 1981 at Wrigley Field. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

  • Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela winds up before a pitch against the Chicago Cubs on June 6, 1981 at Wrigley Field. Valenzuela…

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