5/10 Dominican players honored

The Cubs, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Gisselle Castillo-Veremis, the consul general of the Dominican Republic, will honor players from the Caribbean island in a pre-game ceremony tonight. They will present Starlin Castro, Carlos Marmol, Marcos Mateo, Carlos Peña, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano as well as the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols and Miguel Batista with a special recognition award on behalf of the president of the Dominican Republic.

The first Dominican-born Cubs player was Roberto Pena, who was the team’s Opening Day shortstop in 1965. Pena played in 57 games for the Cubs (1965-66), 55 of thoee games at shortstop. The Cubs first Dominican-born pitcher was Jose Nunez in 1990.

Carlos Pena is the 46th Dominican player to appear in a Major League game with the Cubs.  Of those 46, Sammy Sosa played the longest at 13 years.  Aramis Ramirez (nine seasons), Carlos Marmol (six seasons) and Alfonso Soriano (five seasons) are next on the seniority list.

At least one Dominican-born player has played for the Cubs every season since 1989. Last year, there were seven with Soriano, Castro, Ramirez, Marmol, Mateo, Esmailin Caridad and Welington Castillo.  Seven Dominican-born players also played for the Cubs in 1997.

The Cubs have expanded their commitment to the Dominican. They are in the process of finalizing details for a new academy there. Chicago Cubs Charities donated more than $40,000 to the Dominican in the last year. The money was designated to fund a rural health care program and doctor visits to communities to identify patients at risk for diabetes, to expand a surgical center recovery room, and to construct a new facility at a local school.

– Carrie Muskat

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