The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled a permanent exhibit entitled ¡Viva Baseball! on Saturday, May 23 in Cooperstown , NY honoring Latin America ’s impact on baseball. The new permanent exhibit includes several Dodger artifacts while Hall of Fame Broadcaster Jaime Jarrín, now in his 51st year with the Dodgers, narrates in both English and Spanish the Hall of Fame Museum’s state-of-the-art multimedia presentation “Passion, Joy and Flair” that reflects on nearly 150 years of Latin American baseball history.How cool is that. The famous Ralph Avila with radar gun in tow will forever be enshrined at the Hall. Not only that, did you know he was knighted? I guess we should be calling him Sir Ralph Avila.
¡Viva Baseball! features nearly 150 artifacts and the Jarrín-narrated multi-media presentation celebrates the passion of Latin American baseball. The exhibit focuses on the rich baseball traditions of the major baseball-playing Latin American countries: 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 first-hand accounts of playing in their homeland, their journey to the Major Leagues, and insight into what makes Caribbean baseball special.
The Dodgers have several historic artifacts showcased in ¡Viva Baseball!:
- Photo of Ralph Avila with radar gun (1970) - The Cuban-born Dodger Advisor of Latin American Scouting and Player Development is known as the leader in creating the modern academy system in the Dominican Republic
- Booklet about Campo Las Palmas (1988) donated by Milton Jamail - In 1987, the opened Campo Las Palmas, the first Dominican baseball academy in MLB
- Photo of Avila knighted in the Dominican Republic – Today, 29 Major League teams have a presence in the Dominican, making baseball second only to tourism as the country’s biggest industry. The Dominican President knighted Avila for his role in advancing Dominican baseball
- Scouting report for Pedro Martínez donated by Avila – The scouting report is filled out by Avila , whose other Major League signees included Pedro’s brother Ramón Martínez, , and
- Quote from Andrés Reiner – “The academy is where a player goes from zero to almost being a prospect. Most scouts only want to see what they can get today. I’m the opposite. I want to see today what I can get tomorrow”
- “Ole Fernando!” donated by Jeff Gersbacher – Record sold at in the 1980s, a musical tribute to
- Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead donated by Garner Simmons – Bobblehead giveaway from Dodger Stadium in 2001, where Valenzuela is still an icon and currently serves as a broadcaster on the team’s Spanish-language radio broadcasts on KHJ/La Ranchera 930
Here is a link to a story about the Hall's new exhibit.