08/23/2005 2:19 PM ET
Major League Baseball and Chevrolet unveil program celebrating the greatest Latino players in the history of the game
Fans to determine which players are selected for the Official Major League Baseball All-Time Latino Team
Major League Baseball (MLB) and Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, today announced a program honoring the rich history of Latin American players in Major League Baseball entitled "Chevrolet presents the Major League Baseball Latino Legends Team." This comprehensive program will give fans the opportunity to vote for the players that will comprise the first-ever official Major League Baseball all-time Latino team.
The "Chevrolet presents the Major League Baseball Latino Legends Team" program was created to commemorate the storied history and immense contribution that players of Latin American heritage have made to Major League Baseball. As part of the program, a special ballot has been created featuring 60 Latino players representing seven different countries and territories. Representatives of Major League Baseball and the editorial staff at MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, selected the current and former Latino MLB players who appear on the ballot. In addition, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum provided research services for the program.
From August 29 through October 10, fans will be able to vote via English and Spanish ballots in participating Chevy dealerships nationwide, or online at MLB.com. Chevy will support the program with special ballot boxes and program themed point-of-sale materials in all of their participating Chevy dealerships.
Fans will select eight position players, one at each infield position and three outfielders, three starting pitchers and one relief pitcher that will makeup the final "Chevrolet presents the Major League Baseball Latino Legends Team." Major League Baseball and Chevy will announce the 12 players selected by fans as members of the "Chevrolet presents the Major League Baseball Latino Legends Team" prior to Game Four of the 2005 World Series.
"Over the years, Major League Baseball has been blessed with a wealth of players of Latin American heritage who have contributed to some of the most memorable moments and accomplished some of the most storied feats in the history of the game," said Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Through this program, and thanks to our valued partner Chevrolet, we have a tremendous opportunity to reflect on the immense contribution that Latino players have made to the game of baseball."
As the presenting sponsor of the "Major League Baseball Latino Legends Team," Chevy will launch an exciting sweepstakes which will give one lucky fan a trip for four to Game Four of the 2005 World Series and behind the scenes access to the official unveiling of the team. Fans can enter the sweepstakes through the paper ballot available at participating dealerships and online at MLB.com.
"The Hispanic community is extremely important to Chevrolet and we are proud to support this program as it recognizes the most significant Latino players of all time," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "This program strengthens our partnership with Major League Baseball and provides another premiere platform for Chevrolet to reach out to the Hispanic community."
Today, Latinos make up a significant portion of both the Major League Baseball player and fan bases. As of Opening Day 2005, 204 players born in Latin American countries were on Major League Baseball Club rosters accounting for nearly 25 percent of the overall MLB player base. The Dominican Republic led all countries with 91 players, followed by Venezuela with 46 and Puerto Rico with 34. According to ESPN Sports Poll, more U.S. Hispanics are fans of MLB than any other professional sport and the concentration of the MLB fan base in the U.S. that is Hispanic has grown over the past decade. Since 1996, the percentage of MLB fans that are Hispanic has increased by 31% from 9.5% to 12.4% (ESPN Sports Poll), and today nearly 6.4 million Hispanics consider themselves Major League Baseball fans (Simmons Research).
In March, Major League Baseball and General Motors Corporation announced a three-year sponsorship agreement which made Chevrolet the "Official Vehicle of Major League Baseball." The agreement continues through the 2007 Major League Baseball season and gives Chevrolet, which was previously an official sponsor of Major League Baseball from 1985 through 1996, exclusive category rights. In addition, General Motors has long-time corporate sponsorships with a number of MLB Clubs, and through its vehicle divisions currently has relationships with the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Oakland A's, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals.
About Major League Baseball Properties
The Major League Baseball Clubs formed Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) in 1966 as the Club's agent for marketing and trademark licensing and protection. Major League Baseball Properties is responsible for managing consumer licensing activities, developing national advertising campaigns, cultivating sponsorship opportunities with major consumer brands and corporations, growing the game and the business of baseball outside the United States and creating national marketing programs in conjunction with Clubs, broadcast rightsholders and national sponsors. MLBP also operates a full-service video and audio production unit (Major League Baseball Productions), a publishing division and stock photo licensing agency, and manages logistics for the All-Star Game and World Series as well as all other special events. For more information on Major League Baseball, log on to www.MLB.com.
Chevrolet is a division of General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer. GM employs about 324,000 people globally in its core automotive business and subsidiaries. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in more than 190 countries. In 2004, GM sold nearly 9 million cars and trucks, up 4 percent and the second highest total in the company's history. GM's global headquarters is at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's website at www.gm.com.