Luis Rodríguez Mayoral: Baseball Ambassador

Luis Rodríguez Mayoral and Buck Canel

A well-known title line from a poem written by 19th century Puerto Rican writer and activist Lola Rodríguez de Tió says that Cuba y Puerto Rico son de un pájaro las dos alas (Cuba and Puerto Rico are two wings from the same bird.) It could be said that Luis Rodríguez-Mayoral genealogically epitomizes this cultural bond between the two nations. “I was conceived in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, while my father, who was a U.S. army officer, was stationed at a Cuban militia airbase there,” reveals Rodríguez-Mayoral.  “I was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, December 16, 1945, shortly after my father was transferred to Puerto Rico. My mother was a native of Ponce; she came from a very well-known family. My father came from Vega Alta, about 25 miles west of San Juan. ” 1  

And so began an incredible baseball journey for Rodríguez-Mayoral that would lead him through not only the sports Halls of Fame of several countries but also through the highest halls of global power and circles of widest cultural importance in the world, not to mention the lofty achievement of broadcasting over 2,000 major league games and authoring several books.

Born to José Rodríguez Vega and Marvi Mayoral Goyena, Luis was the middle of three children. Older brother José preceded him by two years, and younger sister Lourdes arrived ten winters afterward. It was at a young age in his birth country that Luis first experienced the transformational moment that would lead him on, as he puts it, “a mission from God in baseball.” He pinpoints the life-changing event, at age six, this way: “A few days before my father left to serve in the Korean conflict (1951), he took my brother and me to a ball game at [estadio] Paquito Montaner in Ponce. As soon as we scaled the incline leading to the seats, I saw the players practicing on the field, and I felt like my spirit got away from my physical being, and it was a joy that I cannot describe. My love for baseball was born that day in Ponce.” 2  

The young Luis spent his first ten years happily in Puerto Rico, before his father’s profession resulted in some uprooting of the family, first to Panama and then Seattle, Washington. In August of 1956, two years after returning from Korea, José Rodríguez Vega was re-stationed to Fort Gulick in the former Panama Canal Zone. Rodríguez Vega assumed an instructor’s post with the camp’s military police.                                                                          

Like countless others of his time and age, Luis tuned into ballgames and collected trading cards. “I started listening to major league baseball in Panama on the Armed Forces Radio,” wrote Luis, in his autobiography, as he continued to nurture his special affinity for the game. “At night, I would listen to ‘La Voz de los Estados Unidos de América’ (Voice of America Radio) for long stretches. I also liked to read, and I spent a lot of time in the library. I read newspapers from the States. They were dated, maybe a week old, but they provided information on the major leagues and their ballplayers. I expanded to reading biographies on the great players—Ted Williams, Babe Ruth—whenever I could. I was always searching for baseball knowledge, particularly on the big league level.” 3                                                                                           

Like many teen fans, he followed some players more closely than others. “My idols were [Luis] Aparicio and Beto Ávila,” Rodríguez recollects fondly. “There was Clemente, Vic Power, Miñoso, oh, Miñoso—he had his uniform number retired by the White Sox 37 years ago today. So it was mostly Latin players, but I was well aware of the greatness of Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, and Warren Spahn was a favorite player of mine, too.” 4.                                                                                   

As a teenager, Luis possessed an innate ability to recognize the sometimes-harsh realities of life that burdened some people more than others. “Playing in the Pony League in Panama, we would use Mount Hope Park,” recalled Rodríguez-Mayoral. “We would play at certain times and then the black kids would play, having a different schedule apart from us. There did not exist segregation within the military but there was latent segregation between the civilian population of Americans and Canal Zone workers.” 5                 

It was from these types of civic observations that Rodríguez-Mayoral developed personal doctrines of humanitarianism that guided his life forward. “Interestingly, while I was in Panama, you could cross a bridge and it would take you from the Canal Zone, where we lived, into the Republic of Panama,” he states. “I saw a big area of commerce with people from all over the world. Stores and businesses from as far away as Japan and China. It made me realize that we were not the center of the universe. I realized then that the world belongs to everyone. And that’s how I first developed my pro-Latin sentiments.” 6.                                                                                                     

After finishing middle school, Luis started high school but was forced to move after his first year when his father received a transfer notice to Seattle in November of 1959. “I was sad to leave Panama,” reflected Rodríguez-Mayoral, “where, among other things, my “Latin Americanism” was born and where I was exposed to different cultures.” 7                                                                         

 In Seattle, Luis continued his upper-grade education at Queen Anne High School and followed his favorite sport through the Game of the Week broadcasts, headlined by Dizzy Dean. Though some of his adolescent years were spent abroad, Luis was able to return to Puerto Rico while still in his teens, and graduate from high school and then attend the University of Puerto Rico. That’s because, in September of 1960, his father decided to retire from the military and reestablish his home on his birth island. The family rented a car to take them from Seattle to Charleston, South Carolina, to catch a flight to their native land. During the trip, Luis remembers catching several games of the 1960 World Series on the car radio, with Roberto Clemente getting hits in every game.                                                                                                                                              

The family settled in the Santa Rosa ward of the city of Bayamón, not far from San Juan, in 1962. The same year, a nearly 17-year-old Luis unexpectedly ran into Orlando Cepeda at the Mall de Santa Rosa.  One of Luis’s idols, the future Hall of Famer considered the encounter as the start of a decades-long friendship that has spanned two centuries. Cepeda affirmed as much in his back-cover blurb for Rodríguez-Mayoral’s 2002 book, Mi Vida…Más Allá de un Sueño: “I’ve known Luis-Rodríguez-Mayoral for some 40 years. His love of baseball has allowed him to succeed and at the same time provide value to all Latin Americans inside and outside of this great game.” 8                

Coincidentally, another native major leaguer and fellow resident of Santa Rosa further nudged Luis along his baseball-drawn path. “Julio Navarro lived three streets away from where we did,” Rodríguez-Mayoral attests.  “He drove a white Chevy Impala. Julio was the first professional player that understood my love for the game and my desire to broaden its reach. Julio and his wife Haydée became like a second set of parents to me. It was through Julio that I met other big leaguers, such as José Pagan, Hector Valle, Dagoberto [Bert] Campaneris, and Nino Escalera, to name a few.” 9                                                                                                                                                               

While it was his “out-of-body experience” as a six-year-old boy that kindled his love affair with baseball, a closer person-to-person contact, years later, actually set in motion Luis Rodríguez-Mayoral’s extraordinary multi-purposed, life-long relationship with the game. As a nineteen-year-old on leave from the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, Rodríguez-Mayoral found himself flying home to Puerto Rico. “On the flight from Miami to San Juan,” relates Luis, “a heavy-set man with white hair and deep voice is sitting in the seat next to me. It turns out he was Howie Haak, one of the first big league scouts to go into Latin America. And I asked him about the ring he was wearing, and he said it was the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates world championship ring. And we talked. Pancho Coimbre came up. Haak knew him. Coimbre was a scout for the Pirates. My grandparents, through their connections, knew him and his family.    

“Howie and I became friends first. You have to remember at that time, within the baseball culture of Puerto Rico there were not many people that spoke English. Whenever Howie came to Puerto Rico, I hung out with him for four or five days. I was his cultural bridge.” 10  (Rodríguez-Mayoral began learning English as part of the curriculum in Catholic grammar school in Ponce, and broadened its use while in Panama and Seattle.)                                           

Mayoral with his beloved friend Roberto Clemente, before getting his 3000 hits.

Thanks to the Haak-Coimbre connection, Rodríguez-Mayoral received an invitation for a dream encounter with Puerto Rico’s most recognized athlete. In the winter of 1965, the 20-year- old accompanied the Pirates’ scouts to Roberto Clemente’s home in Rio Piedras. “I was a college student,” says Luis. “I’ll never forget. We were on his balcony in the San Agustín development and you could see from Carolina to old San Juan. A beautiful view. We were there for about half an hour. I was in awe. From the time I shook his hand, I sensed a great affinity existed between us.” 11.                      

It took several years after the initial chance meeting with Haak, however, for Rodríguez-Mayoral to latch on to his first major league job. Naturally, it was with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1972, the Pirates hired him as a scout for all players, native and foreign, in the Puerto Rican Winter League.                                                                                     

The early seventies was a pivotal period for the baseball enthusiast. Two years earlier, through the Pirates, Rodríguez-Mayoral established the first Día del Pelotero Latinoamericano. It was the beginning of an annual, on-field recognition of Latin American major leaguers, all of them emceed by Rodríguez-Mayoral. Prior to this, a few big-league franchises had honored their outstanding Hispanic ballplayers individually, on occasion, but “Latin American Baseball Player’s Day” became the first cultural recognition of Hispanic players as a group throughout the major leagues. “My original thinking behind the concept was to highlight contributions to the game by Latin ballplayers, which even then started to become richer and richer, and always being aware of the tough time transitioning they had,” specifies Rodríguez-Mayoral. “From a young age, 16, 17, I was aware of the hardships and prejudices Hispanics in the game encountered in the 1950s and 60s.” 12               

Inspired by his admiration of Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Clemente, the idea was born during a summer day in 1970, at the Atlanta home of a Rodríguez-Mayoral friend, Dr. Angel Guardiola. At a party, which hosted Atlanta Braves’ Hispanic teammates Cepeda, Tony González, Felix Millán, and Gil Garrido, the twenty-something Luis formalized his plans to pay tribute to what, he felt, was an underappreciated segment of major league baseball. Rodríguez-Mayoral eternally extends his gratitude to then-Braves vice president, Dick Cecil, for supporting and designating September 6, 1970, as the inaugural event date.                                                                           

The Ponce-native also attributes the eventual success and longevity of the initiative to the backing he received, from the start, which came from the top. “It would not have been possible without the blessings of [commissioners] Bowie Kuhn, [Peter] Ueberroth, [Bart] Giamatti [Fay]Vincent, and marginally Selig, Bud Selig,”  admits Rodríguez-Mayoral. “My dear friend Bobby Maduro introduced me to Bowie Kuhn at the 1971 Caribbean Series. Maduro practically took me by the hand to meet Kuhn. I always had ideas to make the game more internationally appealing. Bowie Kuhn understood me. He gave his approval for the Latin American Baseball Player’s Day to continue.

“Kuhn then introduced me to Ueberroth. Giamatti, I had already met because he was National League president, so that transition was smooth. And Fay Vincent I met through Giamatti, even though his tenure in office was short. Peter O’Malley [Dodgers owner] was another person who was always in my corner. Those guys deserve much of the credit for allowing me to contribute to the game the way I contributed to it.” 13

As Luis was launching the forerunner to today’s Hispanic Heritage celebrations that virtually all MLB teams promote, he took a step toward greater personal growth in the sport he loved. Rodríguez-Mayoral began radio broadcasts of big-league games to his home country. “From 1971 to 1982, I did about 800-850 games from the states to Puerto Rico by way of four stations,” says Luis. “They were all through independent producers based in Puerto Rico. We did mostly Northeast coast games. Yankees, Mets, Orioles, Boston.” 14

The fourth annual LABP Day, held at Fenway Park, July 21, 1973, was a significant and special one for the young Hispanic ambassador. Rodríguez-Mayoral had received consent from Bowie Kuhn to honor an individual Hispanic player during the event with a named Roberto Clemente Memorial Award. (Not to be confused with MLB’s renamed Commissioner’s Award to the Roberto Clemente Award in the same year.) On a drizzly afternoon, Rodríguez-Mayoral honored his boyhood idol, Luis Aparicio. “The Minnesota Twins were in town,” remembered Rodríguez-Mayoral. “Three hours before the field ceremony, I met Tom Yawkey, Red Sox owner. He received me in his office, wearing a white shirt and his ubiquitous suspenders. He told me, ‘I want you, during your ceremony, to give Aparicio his [commemorative] 500th stolen base.’  (A few days earlier, Aparicio had become the first Hispanic player to steal as many bases in the major leagues.)                                                                                                       

“Seconds before I handed Aparicio the base, my mind flashed with images of myself as a 14-year-old traveling through Chicago in my parents’ car. We had stopped for gas and I asked someone what that big building was in the distance. He answered that it was Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox…team of Luis Aparicio. And I recalled myself as a ballplaying youngster in Panama, listening to White Sox games, over the Armed Forces Radio, with Luis Aparicio at short. And then in 1983, I visited Aparicio at his home in Maracaibo. Luis married a Puerto Rican woman, Sonia Llorente. Standing up for Aparicio at his wedding was best man Buck Canel.” 15                                

Aparicio was elected to the U.S. Hall of Fame in 1984, the first Venezuelan to be enshrined there. Canel was awarded his own Cooperstown corner in 1985, as the first Hispanic Ford C. Frick recipient. It came five years after his death. The Argentine-born Canel’s placement, at the time, would not have been possible without Luis Rodríguez-Mayoral. Luis conveys the unique story in this manner: “In 1936, Buck Canel was the first Hispanic media rep to cover the Cooperstown Hall of Fame inaugural. The only Latino who covered the event. Canel was friends with one of my mother’s relatives, Radamés Mayoral, who was the longtime play-by-play man of the Ponce Leones of the Puerto Rican Winter League. Canel had broadcast in Puerto Rico for a few years.

 “But I first ran into Buck Canel during my initial MLB broadcasting years to Puerto Rico. It was in 1972, a couple of days before the All-Star game in Atlanta. I was in the press box and looked to my left and there he was. I introduced myself and we hit it off. And until the day of his death, he was my closest connection to major league baseball. He was like my grandfather, in a way, and I was his grandson. We had a great, great relationship. I was happy to honor Canel at the tenth Latin American Baseball Player’s Day at Yankee Stadium (July 3, 1979).

“When the first Ford C. Frick Award was presented in 1978, I said to myself, Canel needs to be considered. From 1978 until 1983, ’84, I campaigned for Buck Canel. By myself, from Puerto Rico, I wrote letters, I made phone calls. I called Bowie Kuhn. And in 1985, Canel was named the award’s recipient. In fact, the official photo the Hall of Fame shows of Canel was supplied by me. Canel is cropped out but it was a photo taken along with Al Rosen, then president of the Yankees, and myself. No one else had a good photo of Buck Canel. incredible but true. The PR guy from the Hall of Fame asked me if I had a good photo of Canel. I said yes and I sent it to him.” 16 

As if that were not enough, when the Hall of Fame could not locate Canel’s widow, they turned to Rodríguez-Mayoral. Apparently, following Canel’s death in 1980, his widow Colleen had sold their home in Croton-on-Hudson and relocated to rural North Carolina. The intrepid Luis tracked her down, and she and her grandchildren were able to attend the induction ceremony.                                                                                                                              

 The scouting job with the Pirates lasted until 1978. Luis then followed up in a similar capacity for two years with the Chicago White Sox. And after his independent MLB broadcasting role ended in 1981, Luis took on front office jobs in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He had one-year stints as general manager with the Arecibo and San Juan teams in the mid-eighties. He stayed on as a club administrator with San Juan into the new decade.

The 46-year-old Rodríguez-Mayoral then received a call from a new major league ownership group that would lead to cementing his historic place as a Hispanic broadcast journalist and baseball history-maker. He clarifies: “When George Bush bought the Texas Rangers, the team did not have the personnel to deal with the number of Hispanic players. Bush’s office, probably John Blake, the Rangers’ PR man, called me in Puerto Rico in February of 1992. I was with the Puerto Rican representative in the Caribbean World Series in Hermosillo, Mexico. I returned his call when I got home. I ended up traveling to Ft. Meyers during spring training and was offered the job. I was hired to be Assistant Public Relations Director of the Texas Rangers. I was the first liaison, now every team has a Latin liaison to the players.” 17                 

As a result of his new job, Rodríguez-Mayoral was forced to leave his position with El Vocero, a daily newspaper in Puerto Rico for which he had covered major league baseball since 1974. The newspaper also reached 16 U.S. cities with large Hispanic populations. As he was settling into his new post, Luis was invited to speak at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, on April 24, 1992. The following month, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev spoke from the same podium as Luis. 18                                                             

The first Puerto Rican executive in the major leagues soon expanded his duties, which delivered an increased but welcomed workload, according to him: “In 1993 something came to pass with the announcer doing the Spanish radio broadcasts, and he could not fulfill his duties. The Rangers knew I had experience doing broadcasts, and so Blake asked me to take it on, with the title of Director of Spanish Broadcasting. I said, of course, I’m here to work. So I continued to do the transitioning work with the players, and the PR work with the Hispanic community. With the broadcasting of games, my day began at eight in the morning and ended at two in the morning. I was the play-by-play man. I did close to 1200 games for the Rangers from 1992 to 1999, plus three postseasons.” 19

It’s worth remembering that the Rangers of the 1990s boasted a Murderer’s Row of Hispanic superstar talent. Pudge Rodríguez, Juan “Igor” González, José Canseco and Rafael Palmeiro were all teammates with the Texas club. “I knew all of the great Hispanic players on the Rangers like they were my little brothers,” adds Rodríguez-Mayoral. “By the way, I’m the one that started the “Papi” thing in MLB. I know it stuck with David Ortiz, but you verify it with Juan González, I used it first, and then others began using it.” 20                                                                     

Rodríguez-Mayoral was not only an older brother-figure to some of the Rangers’ players, but he was also a cultural educator. In 1993, while traveling on Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit, near Tiger Stadium, he had to explain to González and Pudge Rodríguez who the civil rights igniter was and why she merited such a significant street in her name. He promised one day that they would meet her. Five years later, Rodríguez-Mayoral met the Reverend Jessie Jackson at a luncheon in Dallas. Through Jackson’s verbal guidance, Rodríguez-Mayoral was able to attend a ceremony honoring the 85-year-old Park the same year. Luis took the two Rangers’ ballplayers with him. “She was in a wheelchair,” he later transcribed. “‘What are you, men of baseball, doing visiting me?’ she asked, in a low voice. ‘I’ve known about you since I was a boy in Panama.’” 21

 His tenure behind the microphone, and all other duties with the Rangers, ended in 1999, as Rodríguez-Mayoral decided to transition to an alternative posting as Latin American Liaison with the Detroit Tigers. Rodríguez-Mayoral held the job for two years, during which his only child, a daughter named Eukaris, graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2000.         

In 2001, Rodríguez-Mayoral visited his former boss, who had himself transitioned to an elevated posting in the nation’s capital. “When I was with the Rangers,” illuminates Luis, “George Bush would go to my office, put his feet up on my desk, lean back on the chair, and talk. He usually wore cowboy boots, jeans, and a regular shirt. We would talk three times a week for about an hour. The Rangers had their offices in a building right next to the stadium. I walked from the office to the ballpark.                                                                                                                        

Luis Rodríguez Mayoral with the President of the United States, George W. Bush

“I was invited to the White House in 2001, April 16. Accompanying me was [Indians outfielder] Juan González and Puerto Rican congressman from New York, José Serrano, who served as our guide. There is a little curved passageway into the Oval Office. President Bush greeted us there; he kissed my bald pate. The get-together at the White House was supposed to last ten minutes. It lasted an hour and 15. Unexpectedly, Vice President Dick Cheney also joined us. I remember González asking the president to halt the U.S. bombing exercises on Vieques. “I was invited a second time [to the White House] in 2007, and the same thing occurred as far as duration. A scheduled short meeting stretched out over an hour. George Bush is buena gente, a good guy.” 22

Multiple invitations to the White House are a rarity for most citizens. For the spiritually-minded son of the Island of Enchantment, he views such occurrences as part of the “divine design” of his life that was laid out for him.  “Doors miraculously opened for me,” he humbly says. “I did not open any doors. That is why I say God has paved all the major league roads and baseball boulevards I have traveled. How else could a person like me, with my background, have been able to accomplish so much?” 23  

 Rodríguez-Mayoral’s front office position with the Tigers was his last with major league baseball. In 2005, he was touted as co-Grand Marshall to the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. One of the largest parades in the country, Luis shared the marshaling honors with reggaetón artist Daddy Yankee.                                                   

 In 2013, the Puerto Rican Sports Hall of Fame recognized their native son’s overall contribution to the sport; Rodríguez-Mayoral shared the induction honors with former Yankees outfielder turned-musician Bernie Williams. Rodríguez-Mayoral’s Halls of Fame accreditations began in 1991 with the Ponce Sports Hall of Fame and the Monterrey-based Mexican Hall of Fame. They augmented in 1999, through the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame in Laredo, Texas, and the City of Bayamón in 2014.                                                                                    

His current personal biography states that he continues to write articles, grant interviews, and conduct conferences on MLB. Rodríguez-Mayoral settled permanently in northeast Texas, after relocating to the U.S. for his employment with the Rangers three decades ago.                       

However, his perspective on residency has evolved with age to coincide with his deep sense of purpose. “Almost half of my experience has elapsed away from the island where I was born,” analyzes the septuagenarian. “Therefore, I cannot define home as a place. Home, to me, is a state of mind from where I have given the best every day while attempting to help humanity on a mission assigned by God, particularly by way of baseball and journalism.” 24

Lou Hernández is the author of multiple baseball histories and biographies, and two young adult novels. He was born in Cuba and resides in South Florida.

Notes

1. Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020.                                                                                                                                       

2. Ibid.                                                                                                                                                                                    

3. Luis Rodríguez-Mayoral. Mi Vida…Más Allá de un Sueño. Sprint Press Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, 2002, page 16.  LRM also developed a diverse love of music during these formative years, inspired in large part by his father’s record collection. Among Luis’ favorite singers were Latin preeminents Lucho Gatica, Toña la Negra, Celia Cruz, Ruth Fernández, Bobby Capó and Benny Moré. He also developed an appreciation for the U.S. musical genres of the period, headed by the likes of Elvis Presley, Paul Anka, The Platters, Roy Orbison, Brenda Lee, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, among others. Holly’s widow, Maria Helena Santiago, is a native of Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico, and resides about ten miles from Arlington, Texas, LRM’s current residence. In the past, he has had spoken with her at length and says she has never lost her love for her native island.                                   

4. Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020. The Chicago White Sox retired Minnie Miñoso’s uniform number on May 8, 1983. The Mother’s Day ceremony was attended by Hall of Famer Monte Irvin and Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, among others. U.S. President Ronald Regan sent Miñoso an engraved silver plaque. Rodríguez-Mayoral attended, less than two days after presiding over the annual Latin American Baseball Player’s Day at Dodger Stadium.                                                                                                                             

5. Luis Rodríguez-Mayoral. Mi Vida…Más Allá de un Sueño. Sprint Press Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, 2002, p.17.                                                

6. Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020.                                                                                                                      

7. Luis Rodríguez-Mayoral. Mi Vida…Más Allá de un Sueño. Sprint Press Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, 2002, p.18.                                                

8. Ibid, back cover.                                                                                                                                                                      

9.  Follow-up phone interview with LRM, May 21, 2020.                                                                                                                                                            

10. Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020. Ponce-native Francisco “Pancho” Coimbre was considered Puerto Rico’s best baseball player of the first half of the 20th century. An outstanding contact-hitter, he played throughout the Caribbean basin and in the U.S. Negro Leagues.   

11. Follow-up phone interview with LRM, May 21, 2020. A year prior, LRM was working as guide and counselor for the Puerto Rican branch of the American Camp Association. One day, the leader of the camp asked his young counselor to accompany him to the airport to pick up someone, the son of his mother’s best friend, he said. It turned out to be Cassius Clay. The pair spent five hours with the boxing titan as Clay visited with the kids in the camp.                                                                                                                                       

12. Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020.                            

13. Ibid. LRM has photos with all of the mentioned commissioners, and O’Malley. Included in the shot with the Dodgers owner is Tommy Lasorda and player Pedro Guerrero.                                                                                                                                                                                           

14. Ibid. The stations were WAPA-Radio, WIAC-Radio, Radio Aeropuerto and Radio San Juan. His partners during those years were Terry García, Josué González, José Santiago and Eugenio “Gino” Guerra. LRM’s most memorable broadcasts include: Roberto Clemente’s 3000th hit (9/30/72); uniform retirement days of Clemente, Minnie Miñoso and Nolan Ryan (4/6/73, 5/8/83, and 9/15/95 respectively); inaugural game of the Ballpark in Arlington (4/11/94); first interleague game (6/12/97).                                                                         

15. Luis Rodríguez-Mayoral. Luis Aparicio: orgullo de Venezuela e Inmortal del Béisbol, Beisbol101.com, April 16, 2020. https://beisbol101.com/2020/04/luis-aparicio-orgullo-de-venezuela-e-inmortal-del-beisbol/ Eventually, more than 200 players were recognized in ceremonies over 24 years. Following Roberto Clemente’s death, the celebrations were topped off with the individual naming of a Hispanic player to receive the Roberto Clemente Memorial Award. The first RCMA recipient was Luis Aparicio in 1973, with Benito Santiago bestowed the last in 1993. Rodríguez-Mayoral could not continue the celebrations after that year, due to his broadcasting commitment with the Texas Rangers, and the festivities, as established, were discontinued.                                                           

16. Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020. LRM’s collection of photos with HOF-honored broadcasters include Canel,  Felo Ramírez, Vin Scully, Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrín, Bob Prince, Tom Cheek, Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek.                                                                       

17. Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020.                                                                                                                                                                                

18. Gorbachev’s speech occurred May 15, 1992. In 1998, LRM was asked to be part of the White House’s Affirmative Action Committee under President Clinton.                                                     

19. Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020. LRM’s broadcast partners were Mario Montez, Mario Díaz Orozco and J.J. Pérez.                                

20.  Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020.

21.  Luis Rodríguez-Mayoral. Mi Vida…Más Allá de un Sueño. Sprint Press Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, 2002, p. 88.               

22. Phone interview with LRM, May 8, 2020.

23. Ibid.

24. Luis Rodríguez-Mayoral. Mi Vida…Más Allá de un Sueño. Promotional press booklet, 2019, back cover.

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