Latinos in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame

When the great Roberto Clemente was inducted into the Hall of Fame following his tragic death in a plane crash in 1973, he became the first player born in Latin America with a plaque in Cooperstown.

The Puerto Rican idol opened doors, but it took years for many others to join him. During the next 37 election cycles, only five Latinos playing in the Major Leagues entered the Hall of Fame: Juan Marichal (Dominican Republic, 1983), Luis Aparicio (Venezuela, 1984), Rod Carew (Panama, 1991), Orlando ” Peruchín” Cepeda (Puerto Rico, 1999) and Atanasio “Tanny” Pérez (Cuba, 2000).

Also included were three other Cuban players who had seen action in the Negro Leagues before the color barrier was broken by Jackie Robinson in 1947: Martín Dihiego, José Méndez, and Cristóbal Torriente.

But since the beginning of the last decade, that small river of Latin players in the Hall has become increasingly abundant and everything indicates that will remain the case for the rest of this decade and beyond.

The number of immortals born in Latin America reached 19 with the election of Dominican Adrián Beltre on Tuesday. The famed third baseman achieved this with 95.1% of the votes from Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) members in his first year of eligibility.

During the 2010s, the number of Latinos in the Hall of Fame increased from six to twelve. And five of the new joiners came in the second half of 2010. Between 2017 and 2019, four of the 11 selected by the BBWAA were born in Latin America.

Roberto Alomar, Puerto Rico (2011, second year on the ballot): The second baseman, a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner, followed the legacy of his father Sandy Alomar, who played 15 seasons in MLB. His brother, Sandy Jr., played 20 seasons in the Major Leagues and now coaches in Cleveland.

Pedro Martínez, Dominican Republic (2015, first year on the ballot): Joined Pedro Marichal as the second Dominican and second Latino pitcher to reach the Hall. He honored that bond during an inspiring induction speech in two languages, during which he called Marichal to the stand.

Iván Rodríguez, Puerto Rico (2017, first year on the ballot): “Pudge” and his prodigious arm paved the way for Cooperstown with 13 Gold Gloves as a catcher, 14 calls to the All-Star Game, and the American League MVP award in 1999.

Vladimir Guerrero, Dominican Republic (2018, second year on the ballot): One of the most prolific and dynamic players of his time, Guerrero reached the Hall based on hits. During his induction speech, he was already thinking about all who would come after him, saying: “I know this can open doors for other players.”

Mariano Rivera, Panama (2019, first year on the ballot): The all-time saves leader became the first player to be unanimously elected to the HOF, having his name placed on each of the 425 BBWAA ballots.

Edgar Martínez, Puerto Rico (2019, 10th year on the ballot): Martínez, who was born in New York but grew up in Puerto Rico, finally received the call to the BBWAA ballot in his final year of eligibility, completing a surprise rise after receiving only 27% support in 2015.

David Ortiz, Dominican Republic (2022): Red Sox idols Rivera, Rodríguez, Martínez, Carew and Clemente (special election in 1973, three months after his death) were joined as the only Latin American players to be inducted in their first year of eligibility.

Adrián Beltré, Dominican Republic (2024): Beltre, who played for the Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox and Rangers, followed in the footsteps of Big Papi, Rivera, Rodriguez, Martínez, Carew and Clemente to reach the Temple of the Immortals in his first attempt.

**Coming to vote soon**

Over the next four years, the Hall of Fame’s fraternity of Latino members will continue to expand. Take a look at the upcoming BBWAA ballots here.

2025: Felix Hernandez (Venezuela) showed great dominance in his prime, but may lag in terms of longevity. He will be joined by former batting champion and 2006 National League Rookie of the Year Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic). Among returning players, Andrew Jones (Curaçao) increased his vote share to 61.6% in 2024. With three years left in the voting, he should have enough time to cross the 75% threshold to be included. The same applies for Carlos Beltrán (Puerto Rico), who has a strong case due to his stellar level in all aspects of the game (435 home runs, 312 steals, three Gold Glove awards). Although his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal may have affected his vote total, he is healthy with 57.1% as he enters his third year of eligibility.

Alex Rodriguez, the son of Dominican parents, scored 34.8% in his fourth year. He certainly has Hall of Fame worthy numbers, but he also has a ton of use of performance-enhancing substances and suspensions. Others back on the ballot, Manny Ramírez (Dominican Republic), Omar Vizquel (Venezuela) and Bobby Abreu (Venezuela), all received less than 35% of the vote and have a long way to go.

2026: There are no obvious first-round picks here, but Edwin Encarnación (Dominican Republic) has the best chance with 424 home runs.

2027: Two-time All-Star Asdrubal Cabrera (Venezuela) and three-time World Series champion Pablo Sandoval (Venezuela) cannot remain on the ballot beyond their freshman year.

2028:This is an important year. Will Albert Pujols (Dominican Republic) be the second player unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame? And will he enter the Hall with his longtime Cardinals teammate Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico)? Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic) has Cooperstown-worthy stats, but multiple suspensions for performance-enhancing substance use will certainly limit his endorsements.

Looking even further into the future, Miguel Cabrera (Venezuela) could be the unanimous selection once his name appears on the ballot in 2029. He will be joined among the new candidates by Nelson Cruz (Dominican Republic), who hit 464 homers during his career. , However, he was once suspended for the use of performance-enhancing substances.

Of course, the BBWAA ballot is not the only way to enter the Hall, whose era committees (formerly known as Veterans Committees) consider those who have previously been excluded from the ballot. Candidates are divided into eras and considered on a rotational basis; Since 2018, 10 players have been selected through this method, including Cuba’s Minnie Minoso and Tony Oliva in 2022.

they’re still putting in the numbers

Players must be retired for five years before being eligible for the Hall, so anyone still active in 2024 will have to wait until at least 2030 to earn a spot in Cooperstown. But there is one Latin player who may have solidified his place when the time comes: Venezuela’s Jose Altuve. We’ll see if the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal affects Altuve’s candidacy, but his record on the field so far, with two World Series championships, three batting titles, six Silver Sluggers and eight All-Star selections, speaks for itself. Speaks.

Other veterans such as Jose Ramirez (Dominican Republic), Francisco Lindor (Puerto Rico), Xander Bogaerts (Aruba) and Manny Machado, who has Dominican roots, could reach the Hall with some outstanding seasons already in their 30s.

There is also no dearth of young players, who have enough time to work. This includes 2023 National League MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. (Venezuela), Juan Soto (Dominican Republic), who already has four Silver Sluggers on the season at age 24, and young Julio Rodriguez (Dominican Republic). They represent the next wave of Latin stars headed to Cooperstown.

Cuba
Martin Dihigo
jose mendez
Orestes “Minnie” Minoso
Tony Oliva
tanny perez
Christopher Torriante

Puerto Rico
Roberto Alomar
Orlando “Peruchin” Cepeda
Roberto Clemente
edgar martinez
ivan rodriguez

Dominican Republic
adrian beltre
Vladimir Guerrero
juan marichal
pedro martinez
david ortiz

panama
rod carew
Mariano Rivera

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