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Juan Alicea Was Always There For Us

Image: Latino Sports

New York – Juan Alicea had a quiet tone but it was a good one calling a New York Mets game in the booth as their longtime Spanish broadcaster. Monday we learned he passed away in his sleep at home in Florida.

Alicea, 85 years old, began his career with the Mets in 1969 their first World Series championship year, then employed in their scouting and community relations department. His immense knowledge of the game later got him to the Spanish radio booth in 1982.

In total, Alicea called more than 4,000 Mets games on Mets Spanish radio affiliates that included the 1986 Mets second World Series title and in 2015 when the Mets came up short against the Kansas City Royals.

Last year, Alicea was honored at Citi Field. The Mets Spanish radio booth was named in his honor, joining Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy who had their names etched in stone as longtime Television and radio voices of the franchise.

During that 1986 postseason, Alicea was the main broadcaster on the International Spanish Network.

Said Mets President Sandy Alderson about the passing of Alicia. “He was instrumental in the creation of Hispanic Marketing, Promotions, and Community Events. His 50 years of service made him a highly regarded member of the Mets family.”

Alicia scouted Lee Mazzilli and Nino Espinosa, both who signed with the Mets.

Over the years, Alicia was a supporter of LatinoSports and this website. On numerous occasions, Alicia would highlight the various recipients of the annual Latino Sports MVP awards that are bestowed on players as voted by members of the Latino Sports writers and broadcast association.

“Very sad to hear about his passing,” said Julio Pabon, the President and founder of Latino Sports and parent company of Latinosports.com. “We offer our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and the New York Mets organization. Juan was always good to us and was there when called upon to assist with our efforts.”

From my perspective, Alicea and I met during the 1970’s. I was in my senior year at DeWitt Clinton High School, at the time the sports powerhouse in the Bronx, NY. Then in 1975, Clinton would surpass all schools and win a PSAL Baseball championship.

Alicea would situate himself behind home plate with the old radar gun and monitor pitchers and speed of players rounding the bases. I observed on the bench with the scorebook and recording stats that would be sent to local media for recaps.

Then, Alicea was already scouting ballplayers in the New York City area and his son was a part of that Clinton championship team, though he was not partial and observed with the honor of a good baseball scout.

He said to me at the time, I knew the game well. Alicia also provided a few points of interest that I have always carried on to my writing and discussion with various MLB scouts over the years.

But there was the human side. I saw Juan Alic give an assist to a young player in need, whether it be some monetary support, equipment, or those precious and few tickets to a Yankees or Mets game in New York.

Not known like Gary, Keith, or Ron on the Mets television calls or longtime Mets radio voice Howie Rose, however there was a following. Fans of Mets Spanish radio got accustomed to the Alicea insights and working alongside Max Perez Jimenez.

Condolences from the entire Latinosports family.

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer at Latinosports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Follow us on Instagram@Latinosportsoffcial for updates and exclusive content

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