The Latino Hall of Fame, which has the support of Major League Baseball, also enshrined a promoter, Venezuela's Oscar Negro Prieto, and handed out a couple of awards. Late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner won the Tommy Lasorda Award, given to a non-Latin figure who helps enhance Latin America's presence in the Majors, and Alex Rodriguez, who hit his 600th home run this season, took the LBHF Excellence Award.
"We have so many Latin players [in the Majors] that this makes sense," Yankees executive vice president and chief international officer Felix Lopez said. "Anything we can do to actually make our players feel at home, it's something that just makes sense. And we need to do as much as we can to actually make all our players feel that this is a family environment, that we actually are embracing them."
Making up the "Cooperstown Historic" group were Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico), Juan Marichal (Dominican Republic), Luis Aparicio (Venezuela), Rod Carew (Panama), Orlando Cepeda (Puerto Rico), Tony Perez (Cuba), Martin Dihigo (Cuba), Jose de la Caridad Mendez (Cuba), Cristobal Torriente (Cuba), executive Alejandro Pompez (Cuba), journalist Eloy "Buck" Canel (Argentina), broadcaster Jaime Jarrin (Ecuador) and broadcaster Felo Ramirez (Cuba).
From the "Veterans Committee" (for those active before 1959) came Pancho Coimbre (Puerto Rico), Beto Avila (Mexico), Alfonso Carrasquel (Venezuela), Tetelo Vargas (Dominican) and Orestes Minoso (Cuba).
Based on numbers, the idea to honor Latin American ballplayers was easy, and so was housing the Hall of Fame in the Dominican Republic.
As for the Dominican Republic, the island nation, which boasts more players in the Majors than other Latin American country, holds 30 Major League training camps and has won a record 18 Caribbean Series trophies.