Posted on / by avilramon / in Uncategorized


By Amaury Pi-González

The face of baseball today is Japanese mega-star Shohei Ohtani, a two-way player with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the most famous two-way player in the history of baseball since Babe Ruth (1914-1935). Still, the first Japanese player to play in the United States in Major League Baseball was Masanori Murakami, who pitched for the San Francisco Giants 1964-1965. Murakami was the first Asian-born baseball player to come to America and play in the Major Leagues.

The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame’s President Founder and CEO Gabriel “Tito” Avila, Jr. met in Japan with Masanori Murakami and Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame representatives. The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame first opened in 1959 adjacent to Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo. Later, in 1988, the hall of and museum moved to a new site within the Tokyo Dome.

Gabriel “Tito” Avila, Jr. represented The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in this goodwill trip to the land of the rising sun. This 2024 MLB season began on March 20 in South Korea when the Los Angeles Dodgers played a 2-game series against the San Diego Padres. Shohei Ohtani was the “main attraction,” and thousands of fans arrived early to look at the world’s #1 baseball player.

The Hispanic Baseball Museum was founded in San Francisco in 1998. Since its foundation, this museum hall of fame has traveled and exhibited in multiple cities across the United States, at baseball parks, libraries, expositions and community baseball events, from New York to San Francisco and in between. Mr. Avila Jr envisions the HHBMHOF traveling to Japan, with an exhibit of the great history and richness of Hispanic / Latino baseball.  “This was a goodwill trip and I am thrilled specially and meeting such icons as Murakami and other Japanese players and executives representatives in the world of baseball”. The Founder President and CEO of the HHBMHOF also were very impressed as Japanese baseball officials gave him a personal tour of The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

Many Hispanic / Latinos are playing today in the Japanese Baseball Leagues however, the first Hispanic / Latino player to have ever played in Japan was Roberto “Chico” Barbon a Native from Matansas Cuba was an Infielder from the 1954 -1965 for the Hankyu Braves and Kintetsu Buffaloes of the Pacific League, Nippon Professional Baseball.  Barbon played 11 seasons. Latin America and Japan are united by their love of the game of baseball. The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum hopes to work with Japan for the love of the game that continues to grow in popularity in Asia and all around the world.

The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame, has been around for 25 1/2 years and is looking forward to their first permanent location in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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