Valenzuela takes oath, officially a US citizen

Former Dodgers star first came to country in 1979 before 17-season career

Valenzuela takes oath, officially a US citizen

Fernando Valenzuela officially became a U.S. citizen on Wednesday, 36 years after first entering the country.

Valenzuela, 54, took the Oath of Allegiance at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalization ceremony Wednesday morning in Los Angeles along with nearly 8,000 Angelenos hailing from more than 130 countries.

Valenzuela was joined by his family and his wife, Linda, who became a U.S. citizen a few months ago.

Valenzuela moved to the U.S. in 1979 shortly after signing with the Dodgers on July 6, and he burst onto the scene in 1981, going 13-7 with a 2.48 ERA and 180 strikeouts while winning the National League Cy Young Award and the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

A six-time All-Star, Valenzuela was 173-153 in 17 seasons, 11 of which came in Los Angeles.

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.