MIAMI -- Hall of Famer Juan Marichal once said of Latin baseball players: "We have passion for this game." Now that passionate pride in him and so many legends like him is about to pour out in what promises to be one of the truly unforgettable All-Star pregame ceremonies.Major League
MIAMI -- Hall of Famer Juan Marichal once said of Latin baseball players: "We have passion for this game." Now that passionate pride in him and so many legends like him is about to pour out in what promises to be one of the truly unforgettable All-Star pregame ceremonies.
Major League Baseball will celebrate the best Latin American-born baseball players prior to the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday at Marlins Park in Miami, here in the gateway to Latin America. The honorees will include Hall of Famers from MLB and the Negro Leagues.
In addition, participating honorees will throw the ceremonial first pitch to a group of current All-Stars. The ceremony, which will be emceed by Joe Buck and feature a video narrated by Andy Garcia, will air on FOX and FOX Deportes as part of its pregame coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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Hall of Fame MLB players who will be recognized include Roberto Alomar, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez, Tony Perez and Ivan Rodriguez. The late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente will be represented by his wife and MLB Goodwill Ambassador Vera Clemente, and sons Roberto Jr., Luis and Roberto Enrique.
The late Martin Dihigo (El Maestro), Jose Mendez and Cristobal Torriente, Latino Hall of Famers who played in the Negro Leagues will be recognized as part of the ceremony.
"With the rich ethnic diversity that exists in Miami, this All-Star Game provides a great opportunity to celebrate the significant contribution that Latin Americans have made to Major League Baseball," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "This group of Hall of Famers served as outstanding role models for MLB's current crop of Latino players, who are some of the game's brightest stars."
Nearly three out of every 10 players on 2017 MLB Opening Day rosters were foreign-born, and of that 29.8 percent, more than 87 percent of the 227 players are Hispanics, and speak Spanish. Leading the way for the 23rd year in a row was the Dominican Republic (93 players, 10.7 percent of MLB rosters), Venezuela (77 or 8.9 percent, its highest ever), Cuba (23, matching its highest total, 2.6 percent), Puerto Rico (16, 1.8 percent) and Mexico (9, 1.0 percent).
All you had to do was watch this past spring's World Baseball Classic for another reminder about the passion and pride of Latin baseball fans. Remember the scene at Marlins Park when the Dominican Republic played the eventual champions from the U.S.? Or Puerto Rico's complete national support in the tournament? It might feel something like that on Tuesday.
Clemente's legacy is celebrated every September with Roberto Clemente Day, and the presentation of his namesake award for the highest MLB honor in community service. In the book "Beisbol -- the Latin Game," John Thorn, MLB's official historian, said of the Pirates legend from Puerto Rico: "He was unapologetically Hispanic. He was proud and conveyed it with every step he took on the field."
That kind of pride will be on full display on Tuesday night.
MLB All-Star Week includes the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Marlins Park on Tuesday; Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday; All-Star Sunday featuring the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game; and All-Star FanFest at the Miami Beach Convention Center starting Friday; plus a lineup of additional events taking place around the city.
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.