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La Liga de Las Americas

Un Poquito De Beisbol Con Sabor Bilingüe

Raquel Julich


Major League Baseball: 100-plus years of Legends

            During the first game of the 1999 World Series, Major League Baseball in association with MasterCard presented “The All-Century Team.” “Major League Baseball offers the fans an opportunity to play an integral role in celebrating the accomplishments of the game’s greatest players of the past 100 years.  The Program brings the fans closer to the game and its legendary players,” said Kathleen Francis, Major League Baseball Vice President of Marketing.


            Sparky Anderson, the only pitcher to ever win a World Series game in both the American League and National League (Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers) was the official spokesperson.  The selection of 100 players was made by a panel of media members, baseball executives, and baseball historians.  The ballots were distributed and the fans voted.

            Ooops!  Something went wrong.

            Amigos y Amigas, believe it or not, there was not one Latino Player on the ballot for “The All-Century Team.”

            For many months, controversy followed the selection process and newsprint, TV and Radio had something to talk about and the Spanish language media and Latino fans were angry.

            But, as always happens, eventually, with media and fan controversy complete, into the archives of Major League Baseball history went all the information regarding “The All-Century Team Program.”

            Can any of our readers remember the 30 players the fans voted to “The All-Century Team” and introduced by Bob Costas, during the 1st game of the 1999 World Series?

            In August, 2005, once again, Major League Baseball, this time in partnership with Chevrolet, unveiled another “Legends” program, “The Latino Legends Team.”  The program would celebrate the greatest Latino Players “Los Lejendas Latinos” in the history of the game.

            The “Latino Legends Team” program was created to commemorate the history and contribution the players of Latin American “heritage” have made to Major League Baseball.

            Representatives from Major League Baseball selected the current and former Latino players who appeared on the ballot.  The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown provided the research services for the program.  Thus, for the very first time, Major League Baseball gave the Latino fans an opportunity to vote through an official ballot.

            The special ballot was created featuring 60 Latino players representing seven different countries and territories. The fans would select 8 position players (one at each infield position and three outfielders), three starting pitchers, and one relief pitcher would make up the final “Latino Legends Team.”

            Amigos y Amigas, one-hundred and three years of Major League Baseball have evolved since 1902, when Luis Castro, native of Colombia, became the first Latino Player (Philadelphia Athletics). Today, Latino players make up 29 percent of the Major League Baseball club rosters.  As of 2005 Opening Day, 204 players were born in Latin American countries.  According to an ESPN Sports Poll, 6.4 million Latinos in the United States consider themselves Major League Baseball fans.

            “The Hispanic community is extremely important to Chevrolet and we are proud to support this program, as it recognizes the most significant Latino players of all time,” said Ed Peper, general manager, Chevrolet Renaissance Center in Detroit.  “This program strengthens our partnership with Major League Baseball and provides another premiere platform for Chevrolet to reach out to the Hispanic community.”

            The “Latino Legends Team” was presented during a special pre-game ceremony prior to Game Four of the 2005 World Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.  Academy Award nominee, Edward James Olmos emceed the pre-game ceremony which introduced the 12 players selected by the fans, “The Latino Legends”.  The ceremony was broadcast around the globe to 246 countries and heard in 12 languages.

            “Players of Latin American Heritage have a deep passion for the game of baseball and have made an immense contribution to the National Pastime,” said Commissioner Bud Selig.  “This program was created to reflect those contributions and to honor the indelible mark they have left on the game.  It is my distinct pleasure to congratulate each of the 12 players that comprise the final “Chevrolet Presents the Major League Baseball Latino Legends Team.”

            “My dad would be proud of this,” said Luis Clemente, the son of the late Roberto Clemente.

            With more than 1.6 million votes cast, the results of the voting of the players on the ballot and the fan selection of the “Latino Legends Team” are as follows: 


1st Base – 1ra Base                                          Votes

#1  ALBERT PUJOLS - Dominican Republic         64,952  Latino Legend

Orlando Cepeda – Puerto Rico                            28,672  Hall of Fame 1999

Tony Pérez – Cuba                                            17,986  Hall of Fame 2000

Andres Galarraga – Venezuela                            15,654

Rafael Palmiero – Cuba                                      13,247


2nd Base – 2da Base

#2  ROD CAREW – Panama                              69,868  Legend – Hall of Fame 1991

Roberto Alomar – Puerto Rico                            37,545

Alfonso Soriano – Dominican Republic                25,753

Jose Vidro – Puerto Rico                                   3,761

Juan Samuel – Dominican Republic                    2,998


3rd Base – 3ra Base

#3  EDGAR MARTINEZ – Puerto Rico                 57,550 Latino Legend

Bobby Bonilla – Puerto Rico                               24,068

Vinny Castilla – México                                      23,577

Adrian Beltre – Dominican Republic                     20,468

Edgardo Alfonso – Venezuela                             13,011


Shortstop – Campo Corto                      

#4  ALEX RODRIGUEZ – Dominican Republic      70,890 Latino Legend

Luis Aparicio – Venezuela                                  24,951  Hall of Fame 1984

Miguel Tejeda – Dominican Republic                    23,369

Dave Concepción – Venezuela                            16,470

Omar Vizquel – Venezuela                                  6,308


Catcher – Receptor

#5  IVAN ‘PUDGE’ RODRIGUEZ – Puerto Rico    80,167  Latino Legend

Tony Pena – Dominican Republic                        25,164

Javier “Javy” López – Puerto Rico                        12,435

Benito Santiago – Puerto Rico                            11,432

Manny Sanguillen – Panama                               10,885


Outfielder – Guardabosque

#6  ROBERTO CLEMENTE – Puerto Rico          100,955   Legend – Hall of Fame 1973

#7  MANNY RAMIREZ – Dominican Republic       66,830  Latino Legend

#8  VLADIMIR GUERRERO–Dominican Republic 62,895   Latino Legend

Sammy Sosa – Dominican Republic                    39,344

Bernie Williams – Puerto Rico                             23,842

Tony Oliva – Cuba                                              20,722

Carlos Beltran – Puerto Rico                               20,646

Felipe Alou – Dominican Republic                        17,207

Moises Alou – Dominican Republic                      14,774

Minnie Minoso – Cuba                                        13,863

Jose Cruz, Sr. – Puerto Rico                                9,048

Juan “Igor” González      - Puerto Rico                   8,184

Rico Carty – Dominican Republic                           5,452

Luis Gonzalez – Cuba                                           5,175

George “Jorge” Bell – Dominican Republic              4,786


Starting Pitcher – Lansador Abridor

 #9   PEDRO MARTINEZ – Dominican Republic    93,118  Latino Legend

#10  JUAN MARICHAL – Dominican Republic       68,199  Legend - Hall of Fame 1983

#11  FERNANDO VALENZUELA – Mexico           49,616 Latino Legend

Luis Tiant – Cuba                                                36,610

Johann Santana – Venezuela                               32,952

Bartolo Colón – Dominican Republic                    22,226

Lefty “Vernon” Gómez – Mexico                          22,016  Hall of Fame 1972

Dennis Martínez – Nicaragua                              18,168

Livan Hernández – Cuba                                     11,264

Joaquin Andujar – Dominican Republic                 9,127

Mike Cuellar – Cuba                                          7,845

Jose Rijo – Dominican Republic                          6,347

Camilo Pasqual – Cuba                                      5,757

Martin Dihigo – Cuba                                          4,393   Hall of Fame 1977

Dolf Luque – Cuba                                              2,066


Relief Pitcher – Lansador Relevista

#12  MARIANO RIVERA – Panama                     107,710   Latino Legend

Jose Mesa – Dominican Republic                        9,389

Roberto Hernández – Puerto Rico                         8,230

Guillermo “Willie” Hernández – Puerto Rico          8,127

Armando Benitez – Dominican Republic               7,431


            Quiz:  Can you name the player that was not voted into the 1999 “All Century Team” or 2005 “The Latino Legends Team?”  Mr. October was inducted in 1993 into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

            At this time, I would like to play tribute to one of my favorite “Legends” who was not voted into the 1999 “All Century Team” or 2005 “The Latino Legends Team”—Alfonso Ramón (Al) López.

López, who passed away on October 30 of this year, was born in Tampa, Florida.  He was a catcher from 1928 to 1947 and the last living player who played a Major League Baseball game in the 1920s.  He managed the Cleveland Indians from 1951 to 1956 and took the team to the 1954 World Series vs. San Francisco Giants.  He was the manager of the Chicago White Sox during the 1959 World Series.  López was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1977. 

            Amigos y Amigas de La Prensa, disfruten de la vida and enjoy the Game. 





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