Bobby Ávila is born in Veracruz, Mexico.
Ávila was a regular in the Mexican League at the age of 19 and jumped to Major League Baseball in 1948 when he signed with the Cleveland Indians after Cy Slapnicka pursued him. Ávila reached the Majors with the Indians in 1949, playing in 31 games at the age of 25 after spending a tough minor league season with the team’s Baltimore Orioles affiliate. He played a half season with the club in 1950 before becoming the Indians’ regular second baseman, replacing Joe Gordon. He was an All-Star in 1952 and again in 1954 and 1955. During his 1954 season, he led the league with a .341 batting average and 19 sacrifice bunts on a Cleveland team that claimed the American League pennant.
Ávila remained with the Indians through the 1958 season and was traded to the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles in December for Russ Heman and cash. He spent the 1959 season with the Orioles, as well as the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Braves, in his final MLB season. He returned to the Mexican League in 1960, playing a season with the Mexico City Tigres. He would later become an owner and a president in that league.