Orlando Cepeda Viva Baseball Exhibit

Cooperstown N.Y. — Orlando Cepeda's roots stretch through the history of Latin American baseball. And on Memorial Day weekend in Cooperstown, those roots -- and the legacy of all other Latino baseball players will be celebrated with the opening of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's historic new exhibit ¡Viva Baseball!

Cepeda, one of nine Latin American-born players to be elected to the Hall of Fame, will appear at the opening of ¡Viva Baseball! on May 23 during a full day of exciting events at the Museum. Cepeda, who was born in Puerto Rico, will join Dominican Republic native Juan Marichal at the May 23 festivities, which included the 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony that will open ¡Viva Baseball! to the public.

 Cepeda was given the nickname "Baby Bull" because he was the son of legendary Puerto Rican baseball star Pedro "Perucho" Cepeda, who was called "The Bull." Cepeda played 17 seasons in the big leagues for the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals. He was an 11-time All-Star, hit .300 or better in nine seasons and crushed 25 or more homers in eight seasons.

Cepeda broke into the big leagues with the Giants at age 20 and was unanimously named the 1958 Rookie of the Year after hitting .312 with 25 homers and 96 RBIs. He had his best season in 1967, hitting .325 with 111 RBIs, 25 homers and 91 runs scored, and was unanimously named the National League's Most Valuable Player.

Despite battling knee injuries at the end of his career, Cepeda finished with 379 homers, 1,365 RBIs and a .297 average. His leadership helped his teams to three World Series appearances, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Following the 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 23 , Cepeda and Marichal will share some of their baseball memories in a Voices of the Game event at 1 p.m. Tickets for the Voices of the Game event are available for participants in the Museum's Membership program by calling 607-547-0397. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

Members are invited to celebrate the opening of ¡Viva Baseball! with an exclusive reception from 6-8 p.m., May 23 at the Hall of Fame, featuring appearances from Cepeda and Marichal. Attendees will have complete after-hours access to the Museum, where Hall of Fame staff will present special artifact spotlights and demonstrate the Museum's award-winning educational modules. Curators will be available to chat about the new exhibit. Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served in the Plaque Gallery. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12 and are still available. Members may reserve tickets by calling the Membership Department at 607-547-0397.

Members interested in attending both the Voices of the Game roundtable discussion and the ¡Viva Baseball! Member Reception can also purchase a ticket package for the discounted price of $25 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Members may reserve tickets by calling the Membership Department at 607-547-0397.

Other activities planned to celebrate the opening on May 23 include screenings of The Republic of Baseball at 9:30 a.m. and Dreaming in Blue at noon, both in the Bullpen Theater; and an Author's Series event featuring Adrian Burgos (Playing America's Game: Baseball, Latinos and the Color Line), Milton Jamail (Venezuelan Bust, Baseball Boom: Andres Reiner and Scouting on the New Frontier) and co-authors Tim Wendel and Jose Luis Villegas (Far From Home: Latino Baseball Players in America).

Puerto Rico's Roberto Clemente became the first Latino elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973 and has since been joined by Martin Dihigo, Jose Mendez, Tony Perez and Cristobal Torriente (Cuba); Marichal (Dominican Republic); Rod Carew (Panama); Cepeda (Puerto Rico); and Luis Aparicio (Venezuela).

Some of the historic artifacts to be included in ¡Viva Baseball! are: a ball from the first organized pro season in the United States that was used in an 1871 game that featured Cuban Esteban Bellan, the first Latin American big leaguer; a jersey from Puerto Rico's Clemente; a glove and cap from the Dominican's Marichal; a jersey worn by Hector Espino, the "Mexican Babe Ruth;" and jerseys and equipment from current Latin American superstars Albert Pujols, David Ortiz and Johan Santana.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week. The Museum observes offseason hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from the day after Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend. Ticket prices are $16.50 for adults (13 and over), $11 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $6 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.