Sokolovich is one of the many name variations on sokol, which means “falcon” in Serbian. (Sokolovic means “son of falcon.”) A decent-sized Serbian population settled in Venezuela, and there’s even a Serbian Orthodox Church in Maracay, where recently “on the third Sunday after Pentecost the Holy Liturgy was served…there was a solemn table of love with a traditional Serbian folklore. “
In baseball folklore, Miguel Socolovich has been an Oriole, a Cub, a Hiroshima Carp, and now, a St. Louis Cardinal. He’s also a Leon of Caracas in the winter, in the city in which he was born in 1986.
On Sunday in a rather painful 18-inning game, Socolovich came face-to-face with his former Las Vegas 51er teammate, Wilmer Flores of Valencia. It was the top of the 1oth, and the game was far from over. Miguel induced Wilmer into an inning-ending grounder, but that didn’t sully Wilmer’s 3-for-9 performance. He also scored the winning run.
Socolovich isn’t the only descendent of the Ottoman Empire to take the hill for St. Louis. Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky and Pete Vukovich, both noteworthy for their fu manchu mustaches and erratic and intimidating presence, brought a unique pitching vibe to the Cardinals in the mid-to-late 1970s. (Hrabosky is now a Cardinals announcer, sans mustache.)
So in a week where we see tennis great Novak Djokovic take another Wimbledon tennis crown, and the nomadic five-time World Cup soccer coach Bora Multinovic (always, to Americans, “the wily Serb”) lead Jamaica to the semifinal of the Gold Cup, we salute a lesser light, and perhaps yet another great pitching discovery by St. Louis–they always seem to find the best. Socolovich’s line since a May callup: 16 games, 16 strikeouts, a 3-1 records and 1.93 ERA. The son of the falcon has landed.