The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will unveil a new permanent exhibit entitled ¡Viva Baseball! this spring in Cooperstown, honoring the Latin-American impact on baseball through a celebration of Caribbean Basin countries and players. Hall of Famers Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal and Tony Perez are scheduled to participate in the one-day exhibit-opening on Saturday, May 23.The players from the Caribbean have had a huge impact on the game, in line with the impact of black players finally being allowed in. And lets not forget, a lot of Latin players were on the wrong side of the color line. There were a few Cubans before Jackie Robinson, but they were few and far between. And they had to 'look' a certain way. This is a good way to commemorate that:
¡Viva Baseball! features nearly 150 artifacts and a state-of-the-art multimedia presentation celebrating the Latin love affair with baseball, spanning nearly 150 years of history. The exhibit focuses on the rich baseball traditions of the major baseball-playing countries of the region: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. In video interviews located throughout the exhibit, Latin-American Hall of Famers and Major League All-Stars provide firsthand accounts of playing in their homeland, their journey to the Major Leagues and insight into what makes Caribbean baseball special.The exhibit will celebrate the Latin Hall of Famers:
Puerto Rico's Roberto Clemente became the first Latino elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973 and has since been joined by Martin Dihigo, Jose Mendez, Perez and Cristobal Torriente (Cuba); Marichal (Dominican Republic); Rod Carew (Panama); Cepeda (Puerto Rico); and Luis Aparicio (Venezuela).There will be historical items on display:
Some of the historic artifacts to be included in ¡Viva Baseball! are: a ball from the first organized pro season in the United States that was used in an 1871 game that featured Cuban Esteban Bellan, the first Latin American big leaguer; a jersey from Puerto Rico's Clemente; a glove and cap from the Dominican's Marichal; a jersey worn by Hector Espino, the "Mexican Babe Ruth;" and jerseys and equipment from current Latin-American superstars Albert Pujols, David Ortiz and Johan Santana.Obviously, I can't make it there, but it's just another good reason to visit the Hall.