Results tagged ‘ Puerto Rico ’

82-yr-old World Series Champ Mantilla Takes 10-yr-old Little Leaguers to Puerto Rico

On Thursday, fourteen Milwaukee-based Little Leaguers (ages 9-10) traveled to Puerto Rico to play tournament ball and, more importantly, to engage in educational and cultural experiences (including visits to the rain forest, the ocean, caves, Old San Juan and more.)  They will spend four days on the island, and in 2017, players and chaperones will travel from Puerto Rico to Milwaukee for a similar baseball and educational experiences.

Group at MKE airport

This first-of-its-kind program was conceived by family and friends of Felix Mantilla, one of the MLB’s first Latino players who arrived in the US at age 19 (without speaking English). Mantilla’s 24-year career began with a Puerto Rican police league at age 12 and went on to include a 1957 Milwaukee Braves World Series championship (while roommates with Hank Aaron!) and a selection to the 1965 All-Star Game as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

Now 82, Mantilla resides in Milwaukee where he founded his Little League in 1972 with a vision of helping youth reach their greatest potential not only in athletics, but also in academia, family and community responsibility. It is supported by the Milwaukee Brewers Community Foundation and has served more than 10,000 urban children on the city’s dominantly Latino near south side.  The league is operated by Journey House, a respected community development center serving the underprivileged neighborhood. Mantilla is believed to be today’s only person who has a Little League bearing an MLB player’s name.

Some of these children have not yet traveled just a few miles to Lake Michigan, yet alone flown over an ocean.

What a joy it will be for Mantilla to experience the children play ball in his hometown and learn from people and experiences in his native country.  Who can imagine the lifelong impact this experience might have on these children?

Fundraising for this program started just a few months ago, with more than $60,000 already raised toward the $80,000 goal.

It is catching attention far and wide including a notice by New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez who recently heard about the program and sent a check.

Known as a skilled utility man, Mantilla played for Milwaukee Braves, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.

 

Internationally Known

Lost in the Opening Day craziness of yesterday was a press release MLB sent out about foreign-born players on Opening Day rosters.  I thought it was really interesting because the Brewers have the most foreign-born players (14) of any MLB team representing the most countries (seven).  Not to mention we have a Canadian GM in Doug Melvin!  Certainly makes for a fun and diverse clubhouse!

Can you name all 14 internationally born Brewers?  Can you name the seven countries besides the USA?  Answers below the release that I have pasted here…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 1, 2013

 

OPENING DAY ROSTERS FEATURE 241 PLAYERS BORN OUTSIDE THE U.S.

28.2 Percent of Players Born Outside the U.S., Spanning 15 Countries and Territories

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

         Two-hundred forty-one players on 2013 Opening Day 25-man rosters and inactive lists were born outside the 50 United States, Major League Baseball announced today.  This year’s percentage of 28.2 marks the fourth highest of all-time.

The 241 players born outside the U.S. come from the pool of 856 players (750 active 25-man roster players and 106 disabled or restricted Major League players) on March 31st rosters and represent 15 countries and territories outside the U.S.  This year’s 241 foreign-born players rank as the fourth-most in history.  The 28.2 percent trails only 2005, when 29.2 percent (242/829) of Opening Day players were born outside the U.S.; 2007, when 29.0 percent (246 players) were foreign-born; and last season, when 28.4 percent were born outside the U.S.  On 2012 Opening Day, 243 out of 856 players were born outside the U.S.

As it has each year since MLB began releasing this annual data in 1995, the Dominican Republic again leads the Major Leagues with 89 players born outside the U.S, the fourth-most the nation has ever produced on Opening Day rosters (highs: 99 in 2007, 91 in 2005 and 95 in 2012).  Venezuela ranks second with 63 players, its second-highest total ever on Opening Day rosters (high: 66 in 2012).  Canada ranks third with 17 players, its second-highest Opening Day figure ever (behind only its 19 in 2007).  Cuba is fourth overall with 15 players, surpassing its 11 in 2002 and 2011-2012 for its highest total since at least 1995.  Rounding out the totals are Mexico (14); Puerto Rico (13); Japan (11); Colombia and Panama (4 each); Curaçao (3); Australia, Nicaragua and South Korea (2 each); and the Netherlands and Taiwan (1 each).  Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius, who is currently on the disabled list, is just the third Opening Day player since 1995 to have been born in the Netherlands, joining infielder Robert Eenhoorn (1996 and 1998) and pitcher Rick VandenHurk (2008-2009).

The Milwaukee Brewers have the most foreign-born players with a total of 14 on a roster that spans a Major League-high seven different countries and territories – Canada, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.  The Texas Rangers have the next highest total at 13.  Three Clubs – the Colorado Rockies, the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants – each have 12 foreign-born players.  The Toronto Blue Jays have the most players from one nation outside the U.S. with seven Dominican players.  The Chicago Cubs and the Rangers have six Dominican players apiece, while the Colorado Rockies, the Detroit Tigers and the Giants each have six Venezuelan players.

BREWERS FOREIGN BORN PLAYERS

CANADA

John Axford

Taylor Green

Jim Henderson

CUBA

Yuniesky Betancourt

the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Alfredo Figaro

Carlos Gomez

Wily Peralta

Aramis Ramirez

Jean Segura

JAPAN

Norichika Aoki

MEXICO

Marco Estrada

Yovani Gallardo

PUERTO RICO

Martin Maldonado

VENEZUELA

Alex Gonzalez

 

There are quite the collection of Passports in the Brewers clubhouse!  Which country would you most like to visit among those that are home to current Brewers players? I think Japan would be a pretty cool place to visit. Share your answers with me in the comments section below.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 546 other followers

%d bloggers like this: