MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Latin-American players honored before ASG

Latin-American players honored before ASG

MIAMI -- A celebration of Latin America's tremendous influence on Major League Baseball was on full display Tuesday, with the focus of the pregame ceremony prior to the start of the 88th MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard centered squarely on some of the best to ever play the game.

Multiple Hall of Famers from both Major League Baseball and the Negro Leagues were recognized and honored on the field. The group included Juan Marichal (Dominican Republic), Luis Aparicio (Venezuela), Rod Carew (Panama), Orlando Cepeda (Puerto Rico), Tony Perez (Cuba), Roberto Alomar (Puerto Rico), Pedro Martinez (Dominican Republic) and Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez (Puerto Rico).

The late Roberto Clemente was represented by his wife, Vera, and sons Roberto Jr., Luis and Roberto Enrique.

Also recognized during the ceremony were the late Martín Dihigo, José Mendéz and Cristóbal Torriente, Latino Hall of Famers who played in the Negro Leagues.

Each player received a hearty ovation from the sold-out crowd that enthusiastically packed Marlins Park well ahead of first pitch. The loudest cheer went to Rodriguez, who, as a former Marlin, a soon-to-be Hall of Fame inductee, current resident of Miami and star of the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship team, is clearly still beloved in South Florida.

Latin-born HOFers' first pitch

When the Clemente family was introduced, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton brought a bouquet of flowers to Mrs. Clemente.

After the Hall of Fame players were introduced, they threw ceremonial pitches to current Latin-American All-Stars who hail from the same countries: Salvador Perez (Venezuela), Yonder Alonso (Cuba), Francisco Lindor (Puerto Rico), Nelson Cruz (Dominican Republic), Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico), Marcell Ozuna (Dominican Republic), Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic) and Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico).

The moving pregame ceremony began with the traditional introductions of both All-Star teams, including the managers, coaches, reserves and starters. Each manager and starting position player was accompanied to their place along the baselines by MLB All-Star Youth Ambassadors, representing different Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The group included: Djavan Pandielle, Alexa Munguia, Gabriel Orta, Jose Gonzalez, Jason Gunter, Tiffany Betancourt, Amaya Marrero, Justin McMullen, Joshua McMullen, Paul Gordon, Destiny Theodore, Alejandro Peralta, Andrew King, Chassidy Chaviano, Jonathan Rodriguez, Lanarria Jean, Melvin Dorest Jr. and Phaedra Toney.

Jocelyn Wood, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Youth of the Year for 2016-17, delivered the game ball to the pitcher's mound for NL starter Max Scherzer.

All-Star Youth Ambassadors

The colors were presented by the Joint Services Color Guard from the United States Southern command in Doral, Fla. Members of the Southern Command and their families, along with representatives of the Folds of Honor program held the flag in the outfield during the national anthem.

The U.S. national anthem was performed by singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha, who recently wrapped up her first U.S. and European headline tour and released "All Your Fault: Pt. 1" earlier this year.

The Canadian anthem was performed by Disruptor Records platinum recording artist and singer/songwriter Jocelyn Alice. A Calgary, AB, native, Alice rose to fame with her 2015 breakout summer hit "Jackpot." The hot single topped radio and sales charts, eventually being certified platinum in Canada.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.