If the No. 29 wasn't Lou Melendez's favorite number before, it probably is now.
On June 29, New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat will deliver a proclamation at The Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy's second annual "Making A Difference In The Dominican Republic" event, declaring the day "Lou Melendez Day" for the Major League Baseball executive.
Melendez is retiring at the end of the year after 29 years in the game.
"It is an honor," Melendez said. "Whenever Latinos take the time to think about you and put together something that recognizes your contributions to the industry, it is very humbling."
The event that is honoring Melendez will be co-hosted by the Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation, the New York Dominican Officers Organization and Dominicans on Wall Street.
Espaillat, the chair of the New York State Senate Latino Caucus, is the honorary fundraising co-chair for the event.
Currently the senior advisor to the international baseball operations department in the Commissioner's Office, Melendez has quite an accomplished career. He established MLB's office in the Dominican Republic in December 2000 during his time as vice president of international operations and also directed the Winter League agreement.
He assisted in putting together teams of MLB players who participated in international events and has been involved with player education and community outreach programs for almost three decades. He also served as an attorney in MLB's labor department for 17 years.
"I dedicated my life in baseball, and especially the last 12 years to helping fellow Hispanics on and off the field and in the front office," Melendez said. "Twenty-nine years is a long time, and I am very proud of those years. I still have more of a career in front of me, maybe not as an employee of the Commissioner's Office, but there are still a lot of things that can be done for Latinos in the industry."
Panelists for the event's discussion on Dominican baseball include Melendez, DRSEA co-founder Charles S. Farrell and Julio Pabon, founder of Latino Sports Writers & Broadcasters Association.
According to the DRSEA, the group's mission is "to educate young and gifted student athletes in the Dominican Republic, help develop their baseball skills and give them the tools to success in life on and off the field." The DRSEA aims to prepare boys to have the opportunity for college scholarships through its educational programs.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Melendez said. "It's going to be a special night."