Carmona, the 3rd place finisher in the Cy Young Award voting in 2007 and an All-Star in 2010, was arrested in the Dominican Republic in January. Reports surfaced that he had been arrested for using a false identity, and it was initially believed that he was actually 31-year old Roberto Heredia Hernandez, not the 28-year old Carmona that he had been playing as for years.
However, a new twist in the case emerged Tuesday when the Indians were notified that Carmona is actually Walter Pembrook, a 39 year old accountant from Topeka. The mother of the real Fausto Carmona outed Pembrook on a Dominican radio show last week.
Pembrook simply wanted an opportunity to pitch for the Indians, but because of his age, size, and lack of talent, he was unlikely to get a contract offer from a major league team. Such details can often mean the difference in a big league team’s willingness to sign a player. So, he falsified his identity.
“I thought it would be easier to make the major leagues if I was 6 foot 4, Dominican, and able to throw a baseball 97 miles per hour. So I faked my identity in order to get that opportunity for success. I did what I thought was best in order to have a comfortable life for my family. I just want to say I’m sorry to all my fans and supporters.”
Many sports writers have shown sympathy for his decision. As Jeff Sullivan from SBNation put it, “they adopt fake identities so as to improve their stock within scouting circles. Maybe that is sinister – it kind of depends on your definition of sinister – but these aren’t murderers or drug dealers or generally bad people. They’re just people looking to get a shot at a comfortable life. Which isn’t to excuse the practice of adopting a fake identity, but it’s certainly understandable.”
The Indians were originally counting on Carmona/Hernandez/Pembrook to be the number 3 starter in their rotation this season, but his future status is now up in the air with a possibly lengthy legal process and a potential suspension from the league.
“I feel bad for him and for the Indians. It’s hard to blame someone for making a decision like that under the circumstances. Still, laws are laws, and we have to let the legal process run its course. After the legal issues are settled, we’ll worry about a league suspension, but not until then,” said Major League Baseball spokesman Curt Williams.
It is debated what legal issues he may have, since his falsified immigration papers were completely unnecessary. He didn’t actually need authentic (or any) immigration papers, because he is an American citizen.
-Matt Gwin ’14