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.
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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.