For the first time in Major League Baseball history, a U.S. team will pay homage to “Venezuelan Heritage.” On Tuesday, June 22, at 7:00 p.m, the New York Mets will host a Venezuelan Heritage Night at Citi Field in Queens, where they will play the Detroit Tigers. The Mets, who for the fourth consecutive year have the largest foreign contingent of any MLB team – 18 players from seven different countries – also have the ninth largest roster of Venezuelans in the Major Leagues, with five Venezuelan players.
On this special night dedicated to Venezuela, a total of eight players from the Latin American country will come together to play in the game. Johan Santana, Francisco Rodríguez, Fernando Nieve y Henry Blanco will play for the Mets while the Detroit Tigers will feature Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Guillen, Maglio Ordoñez y Armando Galárraga.
The Venezuelan community will be the focal point of the evening. The embassy raffled off 50 tickets at four Venezuelan restaurants located in Queens and Manhattan in New York City.
A Season of Records
A record-breaking fifty-eight Venezuelans currently play on Major League teams, placing Venezuela second only to the Dominican Republic in terms of foreign-born players on MLB teams.
Venezuelan baseball players have stood out this season. Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga will always be remembered for his perfect game on June 2 against the Cleveland Indians, even though a botched call by an umpire cost him a hit and the historic recognition.
Additionally, in May 2010, Venezuela gained its first Major League umpire in history, when Manuel Gonzalez worked third base in a game between the Florida Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
According to historical records, the first Venezuelan to play on a MLB team was Alex Carrasquel, who debuted with the Washington Senators on April 23, 1939. To date, more than 250 other Venezuelans have played on MLB teams, including such notables as Hall of Fame inductee Luis Aparicio.
The heritage night is being organized by the Mets and is co-sponsored by the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the U.S. Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez will be in attendance and available for interviews during the day.
WHAT: Venezuelan Heritage Night, New York Mets vs. Detroit Tigers
WHEN: Tuesday, June 22, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Citi Field, 126th St. and Roosevelt Ave., Flushing, NY 11368.
Contact: Marielba Álvarez
Press and Communications Office of the Bolivarian Repulic of Venezuela to the U.S./ June 18, 2010