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Baseball Hall of Fame opening doors wider to Latino greats?

Although the Baseball Hall of Fame has been in existence since 1939, the first Latino wasn't inducted into the Cooperstown, N.Y., shrine until 1973. That's when the hall posthumously elected Pittsburgh Pirate great Roberto Clemente, who was killed in a plane crash while assisting in the delivery of relief supplies after an earthquake in Nicaragua. Today there are only seven Latino Hall of Famers, but that number should increase greatly in the future because many current stars or recent retirees who are not yet eligible hail from Latin America. In fact, almost 30 percent of today's major leaguers are Latinos, among them such superstars as Albert Pujols and Johan Santana. Latinos who've been voted into the hall so far, with their positions, nationalities, and years of induction:

Roberto Clemente, outfielder Puerto Rico 1973
Martin Dihigo, pitcher* 1977
Juan Marichal, pitcher Dominican Republic 1983
Luis Aparicio, shortstop Venezuela 1984
Rod Carew, infielder Panama 1991
Orlando Cepeda, first baseman Puerto Rico 1999
Tony Perez, first baseman Cuba 2000

* - Elected by Negro Leagues Committee



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