In 1997 Major League Baseball in conjunction with then the Classic Sports Network, today ESPN Classic, choose what was called the Major League Baseball All-Time Team.
The so-called all-time team was announced as part of the events around the 1997 All-Star Game at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio, the home of the Cleveland Indians of the American League.
Among names of the team selection were Johnny Bench, Lou Gehrig, Roger Hornsby, Mike Schmidt, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, and many more of the greats of the game.
However, not even one Latino.
Beyond belief in an all-star game that every run scored and RBI made in the game was by a Latino player. Home runs were hit by Edgar Martinez and Sandy Alomar Jr. and the only run of the National League was a homer by then-Atlanta Brave Javy Lopez. The game was won by then-Royal Jose Rosado and saved by Yankee Mariano Rivera.
Many columns have been written about the new Arizona immigration law and all the sparks of a 2011 All-Star boycott. Players such as Yovani Gallardo and Joakim Soria said in Anaheim they are firm in their beliefs. Even if they are fortunate enough to make the All-Star team again next summer, they will skip it.
I’m not into politics, but the truth is that Major League Baseball should do more to recognize the Latino influence in the majors.
Let the game be in Arizona. Here goes my penny-pinching idea to Major League Baseball and one of today’s TV networks.
In Phoenix, announce the first ever Latino Major League All-Star Team around the 2011 All-Star Game festivities.
It is just a simple celebration of the best Latinos in the history of All-Star games.
Probably a balmy idea; however, it is one way to be in unity and harmony with the Latino community and to not repeat blunders of the past.
Nobody should forget back in 1999 when many Latino fans were unhappy that no Latino players had been elected in the Major League All-Century Team.
In particular, Roberto Clemente, who had finished 10th among outfielders and missed the cut. Baseball tried to assuage fans’ complaints in 2005 by announcing the “Latino Legends Team.”
If Major League Baseball needs assistance this will be my Major League Baseball Latino All-Time Team:
C- Ivan Rodriguez ( 14 All-Star games)
1B-Rod Carew (18 All-Star games-Hall of Famer)
2B-Roberto Alomar (12 All-Star games-1998 All-Star Game MVP)
3B-Alex Rodriguez (13 All-Star games)
SS-David Concepcion (nine All-Star games-1982 All-Star Game MVP)
OF-Roberto Clemente (12 All-Star games-Hall of Famer)
OF-Vladimir Guerrero (nine All-Star games)
OF-Manny Ramirez (12 All-Star games)
DH-Edgar Martinez (seven All-Star games)
P-Juan Marichal (10 All-Star games-1965 All-Star Game MVP-Hall of Famer)
P-Pedro Martinez (eight All-Star games-1999 All-Star Game MVP)
RP-Mariano Rivera (11 time All-Star games)
Furthermore, another good chance in timing that Roberto Clemente’s No. 21 could be retired from Major League Baseball.
No one knows what will happen next; however, it will be a goodwill act from the host Diamondbacks to demonstrate that Arizona truly believes in multiculturalism and are against possible racial profiling in their own backyard.
The Phoenix Suns, back in May, wore their “Los Suns” jerseys to honor its Latino community. Diamondbacks should start with few given days this season wearing a “Los Cascabeles” shirt as a good start.
The 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona should be the showcase to stand up and voice what should be right.