Fernandomania was an original. All individual sports manias were borne from the knee of Fernando Valenzuela.
Valenzuela, of course, was not just a remarkable sensation for the Dodgers, but a huge favorite back in his native Mexico. He played in the Mexican winter leagues dating to the late ’70s.
And now he’s going to be honored there.
On Sunday, Valenzuela will be inducted into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Hermosillo, Mexico, at the Universidad Sonora.
Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin and Dodgers executive vice president of marketing Lon Rosen are scheduled to attend and represent the Dodgers.
Valenzuela, who made his major league debut with the Dodgers in 1980 as a 19-year-old knuckleballer and spent 17 years in the majors, is scheduled to throw out the first pitch Friday in the new 16,000-seat Estadio Sonora ballpark before the opening game of the 2013 Caribbean World Series.
Valenzuela, born in Sonora, is being honored for both his major-league career and his time the Liga Mexicana. Like those at Cooperstown, the Caribbean winter-league inductees are required to be named on 75% of the ballots. Valenzuela earned 175 of a possible 200 points.
Valenzuela is currently a Spanish-language broadcaster with the Dodgers.