BRONX, NY — Yesterday the New York Mets celebrated a very special baseball day for all their fans, especially many of their Latino fans who attended yesterday’s game. September 15 is officially the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month which runs to October 15. September 15 also the day that MLB commemorates Roberto Clemente day throughout all of baseball. So, what better day to present Edwin Díaz with his 2022 N.L. LatinoMVP Reliever/Closer Award than yesterday.
The LatinoMVP award is the most prestigious and oldest award given to Latino baseball players. Many regard it as the “Latin Grammy of Baseball”. The award started in 1990 when many in the baseball community and particularly many sports professionals in Puerto Rico believed that Rubén Sierra of the Texas Rangers was overlooked for his stellar 1989 season, and many believed he should have been selected as the 1989 American League MVP. The BBWAA, the governing body of professional baseball writers that selects many of the baseball awards, selected Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Brewers. That created a major controversy in the Latino community, both in Puerto Rico and throughout many Latino and non-Latino communities in the mainland, U.S.
That year I was vacationing with my family in Puerto Rico and learned of the controversy. Living three blocks from Yankee Stadium and being raised in the South Bronx I knew nothing of Rubén Sierra. That was a time with no internet, ESPN, smart phones, so all I knew was the NY Yankees. Upon hearing of Sierra’s performance and having been a South Bronx Junior High School Social Studies teacher I had seen how there was a void between many Latino students and positive Latino role models. Upon learning of the oversight of Rubén Sierra, I decided to organize a recognition when his team would visit the Bronx to play the Yankees in the 1990 season.
The rest of the story is for a future book, but for now, that’s how the LatinoMVP award was born. Therefore, presenting the 2022 LatinoMVP award to Edwin Díaz in a pregame ceremony with artist Maz Adams who along with James Fiorentino do all the awards, beautiful artistic renditions and paintings of the winners makes our awards special.
To be presenting the award yesterday, on our 33rd anniversary at Citi-Field while almost at the very same time, our Editor, Robert Rizzo was in Cleveland presenting the 2022 A.L LatinoMVP Reliever/Closer to Guardians pitcher, Emmanuel Clase on the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month and on Roberto Clemente Day was indeed a very special day for all of us in Latino Sports and for the Latino and non-Latino baseball community.
The remaining awards will be presented throughout the month.
Seattle Mariners, T-Mobile Park: Julio Rodríguez A.L LatinoMVP Rookie
Miami Marlins, LoanDepot Park: Sandy Alcántara, N.L. LatinoMVP Pitcher
N.Y. Yankees, Yankee Stadium: Nestor Cortes, A.L. LatinoMVP Pitcher
Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park: Yordan Álvarez, A.L. LatinoMVP
San Diego Padres, Petco Park: Manny Machado, N.L. LatinoMVP
Waiting for Date (Player on disabled list)
Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park: Oneil Cruz, N.L. LatinoMVP Rookie
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