In The 23 year history of the prestigious LatinoMVP Awards Robinson Cano became the first Yankee to receive his award in front of his home crowd in Yankee stadium. It’s ironic since the first LatinoMVP award for the 1989 season was presented in Yankee stadium in 1990 to Texas Rangers outfielder, Ruben Sierra. That event was born out of a reaction to what many in the Latino community felt was an oversight by the Baseball Writers Association of America in selecting Robin Yount over the Boricua who was tearing up the league and who finished the season leading in five of the seven offensive categories.
Mr. Julio Pabón though an avid Yankee fan was also a community activist and felt that Ruben Sierra should have been recognized and organized the award ceremony inviting over 100 youths from the community to witness the event. The event was organized on the Rangers first visit to New York to play the Yankees in April of 1990. After purchasing over 100 tickets Mr. Pabón asked the Yankee ‘s if they would provide any space in the stadium for the award to be presented to Mr. Sierra. At first the Yankees were not open to allowing an award in the stadium for a non-Yankee player. However, they relented and went all out after the then Mayor David Dinkins committed to being outside the stadium with Mr. Pabón in giving Mr. Sierra his award.
Since that first LatinoMVP award in 1989 the award has been given every year to the top Latino baseball players throughout both leagues. It has also grown from just one player, to several including pitchers, closers and rookies. The award has been presented in numerous stadiums as many teams have invited Latino Sports to give the award in their home turf. The Yankee’s Mariano Rivera was the first Yankee player to win a LatinoMVP award. He has been winning the American League LatinoMVP Closer of the year awards since 2005 and Robinson had won both the Rookie of the year in 2005 and his first American League LatinoMVP in 2010 but all have been given in ceremonies, a few in the stadium sponsored by the Yankees and the majority outside the stadium in a local restaurant.
Thus Tuesday’s award to Robinson Cano’s in front of his home fans was historic and judging from the reaction of the home crowd it was well received as was witnessed by the thunderous applause that was heard throughout the stadium.
In addition Cano and the Yankees invited all of the children and youths who were at the original luncheon to accompany Mr. Pabón and Mr. James Fiorentino, artist of the exclusive award to be part of the on field ceremony. In addition the Yankees gave tickets to every child and their parents to remain and watch the game. Almost all of the children and parents the attended had never been to the stadium, thus the reason for the awards why Latino Sports brings the players to the community.
The reaction of the children on the field was as motivating as the award to Robinson Cano who was quite impressed and acknowledged his appreciation to both Mr. Pabón and Mr. Fiorentino. He was especially proud to have his mother present at the stadium and witness this historic occasion.