Retired pitcher and current Los Angeles Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela was among those honored at the 15th annual Los Angeles Impact Awards Luncheon, hosted by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC).
Valenzuela became the first recipient of the NHMC’s first ever Sports Legend Award. “It is an honor to receive this recognition,” he said. “I am grateful to be able to share with the Latino community through baseball. I would like to congratulate all the nominees and thank NHMC for this award.”
Also honored were CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Elsa Ramon, Telemundo 52 news anchor Julio Vaqueiro, NBC 4 reporter and anchor Michelle Valles, and Univision 34 reporter Antonio Valverde.
Valenzuela captivated the Los Angeles community and spawned ‘Fernandomania’ in 1981. Beginning with a complete-game shutout on Opening Day of that season, Valenzuela went 8-0 with a 0.50 ERA and in his first eight starts, throwing a complete game each time.
The Mexican native went on to win the 1981 National League Rookie of the Year Award, Cy Young and Silver Slugger.
Since his 17-year career came to an end, Valenzuela has maintained close ties to the Dodgers organization. This season is his 15th as a Dodgers broadcaster and third calling games on SportsNet LA in Spanish.
In February, Valenzuela led a group of investors in the purchase of Cancun’s Quintana Roo Tigres to keep the team in the Mexican Baseball League.