02/09/2011 2:51 PM ET
Fernando Valenzuela to take first trip to the Dominican Republic this Friday
Legendary lefty to be inducted into the Salón de la Fama del Béisbol Latino (Latino Baseball Hall of Fame)
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that pitching legend and current Spanish-language broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela will be traveling to the Dominican Republic for the first time ever to be inducted into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame at Casa de Campo in La Romana. The induction ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, February 12 at 8 p.m. at the Altos de Chavon Amphitheater in La Romana. Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna, the President of the Dominican Republic, will present the awards.
Valenzuela will be inducted as a member of the 2011 class of the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame, the second in the organization's history. He will be honored alongside Cuban pitcher Luís Tiant, Nicaraguan pitcher Dennis Martínez, Panamanian catcher Manny Sanguillén, Puerto Rican designated hitter Edgar Martínez, Dominican outfielder Rico Carty and Venezuelan first baseman Andrés Galarraga. Last year, Hall of Fame Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrín was inducted in the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame's inaugural class.
"I'm happy to make my first trip to the Dominican Republic, a country that has a long history with the Dodgers and where the club has placed a lot of importance in baseball development through Campo Las Palmas," said Valenzuela. "I'm even more pleased that I'm here for such a grand occasion. It's an honor to represent the Dodgers in the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame."
Inductees in the Veteran's category are Adolfo Luque, Chile Gómez, Héctor López, Horacio Martínez and Vidal López. Other special honors will be awarded to Yankee third baseman Alex Rodríguez in acknowledgement of his 600th career home run mark and the Steinbrenner family are recipients of the Tommy Lasorda Award, an honor given by the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame to non-Latinos that advance Latin-American interests in the game.
Additionally, on Thursday, February 10, Dodger prospects from the Dodgers' training facility Campo Las Palmas will play against the New York Yankees prospects in the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame Cup at the Francisco A. Micheli Stadium in La Romana. A statue of Valenzuela will be unveiled in La Romana as part of the "Paseo de los Inmortales del Salón de la Fama del Béisbol Latino," on Friday, February 11.
Dodgers Senior Advisor, Latin America Scouting and Campo Las Palmas pioneer Ralph Avila was instrumental in planning the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame.
Valenzuela enters his ninth season as a Spanish-language broadcaster for the Dodgers. He was recently awarded the Foreign Language Broadcaster of the Year award for the second time by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association. The 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of Valenzuela's emergency start on Opening Day and the subsequent Dodgers' World Championship in 1981. To commemorate "Fernandomania" the Dodgers will have a Fernando Valenzuela fleece blanket night on April 19 (vs. ATL) and a Bobblehead giveaway of the legendary lefty on July 26 (vs. COL).
More information on the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame can be found by visiting www.salondelafamadelbeisbollatino.com