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Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela becomes a U.S. citizen

Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela becomes a U.S. citizen
Former Dodgers great Fernando Valenzuela on Wednesday became a U.S. citizen. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Fernando Valenzuela has accomplished plenty in his 54 years -- Rookie of the Year, Cy Young award, World Series champion, no-hitter.

But now he's accomplished something never done before -- become a United States citizen.

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Valenzuela raised his right hand and took the oath of allegiance to the U.S. at the immigration naturalization ceremony Wednesday morning in downtown Los Angeles. Although he could have opted for a private ceremony, the Dodgers said he elected to join approximately 8,000 others at the ceremony.

Valenzuela burst upon the baseball scene in 1981, a fresh-faced 20-year-old from the Mexican League who mystified hitters with his screwball and ignited Fernandomania across Los Angeles.

He retired after 17 years in the major leagues. Valenzuela pitched for six different teams, spending his first 11 years with the Dodgers. He is now the Dodgers' color broadcaster on their televised Spanish-language broadcasts.

The Dodgers said his wife, Linda, a former schoolteacher from Mexico, became a U.S. citizen a few months ago.

Follow Steve Dilbeck on Twitter @SteveDilbeck

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