Hailing baseball’s latino past

Former San Diego Padre catcher Benito Santiago

From Progressive Review

Hall of Fame In January, Iván Rodríguez became the first Puerto Rican catcher to be elected to the Hall of Fame and only the second backstop to earn election in his first year eligible.

Within hours of his election, Rodríguez gave a heartfelt hat-tip to first-ballot Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, naming the former Reds’ All-Star as a source of inspiration.

But Rodríguez was also inspired by a fellow Puerto Rican who starred behind the plate in the big leagues.

“It all started with Benito (Santiago),” said Clemson Smith Muñiz, an expert on Latin American baseball. “Benito inspired Pudge, who inspired Geovany Soto, who inspired Christian Vasquez. I told Pudge he wasn’t giving Benito enough love. Just like San Pedro de Macoris was a cradle of shortstops, Puerto Rico was a cradle of catchers.”

Executive Editor Muñiz, along with Editor in Chief Adrian Burgos Jr., Digital/Social Editor Henry Pacheco and Tab Bamford of TeamWorks Media, have recently teamed up with the Baseball Hall of Fame to tell the stories of Latino baseball’s past, present and future through La Vida Baseball, a new digital media platform – www.lavidabaseball.com – which will serve as a community for fans all over the Americas.



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