Rafael “Felo” Ramirez passed away yesterday at the age of 94. He was the Spanish-language radio announcer for the Miami Marlins. But he was much more than that.
Ramirez was born in Bayamo, Cuba, on June 22, 1923. Growing up in Cuba he played second base for a local team. As the story goes, one day he began calling plays with a friend’s microphone. And the rest was history.
According to the Miami Herald, Ramirez began his professional radio career at Radio Salas in Havana in 1945, where he worked for 9 years. Later he became a broadcaster in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. In fact, Ramirez was involved in more than 40 Caribbean World Series. He also was a boxing expert and called many professional boxing matches.
In 2001, the Baseball Hall of Fame honored Ramirez with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting and in 2003 he was inducted in to the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame. Venezuela’s Magallanes Navigators honored him in 2012 for his more than 60 years as a sports announcer.
Earlier this year, I posted a link to an oral history with Ramirez. I only wish I’d had more time to listen to him call ball games.
Thanks for sharing baseball with us, Felo!
First no-hitter of the season, and he dedicated it to Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura!
Yesterday I stumbled upon a great resource for baseball fans and researchers: the Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project digital collection at the University of Miami. The collection includes several videos of oral history interviews that were conducted with “members of the first generations of Cubans to leave the island after the Cuban Revolution.”
The online collection contains two baseball-related interviews. The first is an oral history interview with Andres Fleitas, former player for the Almendares Blues of the Cuban baseball leagues. The University of Miami libraries blog includes a summary of the interview, and the online collection has a video of the interview. The other interview is with Rafael “Felo” Ramírez, the Spanish-language broadcaster for the Miami Marlins. The online collection contains a video of his interview, as well.
I’m sensing a future blog post on these two!
Yesterday, I posted a link to Adam Jones talking about Jackie Robinson and blacks in baseball in 2015. Here’s Marlins’ players Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton said last year:
Yesterday, MLB.com shared this letter from Don Mattingly to the Miami Marlins. I was hoping it would be a little more loving and inspirational, but, you know, not bad for a baseball guy…
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I am so sad, I have no words…
“The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”
Its a beautiful 68 degrees in Viera here at Space Coast Stadium. Sadly, this is our last Spring Training game before heading back home to the real world (although I did just get tickets to the pre-season Yankees at Nats game next weekend because I just don’t want this to end!)
Spring Training is one of the greatest events of the year. Nothing beats escaping reality for a few days and immersing yourself in baseball. Many have written of the cathartic, healing powers of Spring Training. I must concur.
Even if the Nats are currently losing to the Marlins 5-3 after 2 1/2 innings, despite beautiful home runs by Michael Taylor and Bryce Harper.
Oh well. After all, it’s only Spring …
PS Ramos just hit a homer bringing it to 5-4. Go Nats!