Mi Hermano Domincano
It is good to be back with Ralph Avila. I want to re-welcome Ralph to the Dodger organization, as he has dedicated his life to baseball, and spent so many wonderful years as a Dodger.
Many years ago, Peter O’Malley called upon Ralph to design and operate a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. This academy was the first of its kind, and has changed the face of baseball forever. Now, most teams have at the very least a presence in the Dominican, and try to sign and develop young talent year-round. Ralph was a pioneer, and is responsible for the development of many Dodgers.
Ralph opened the doors to Campo Las Palmas just over 20 years ago on March 21, 1987. It is located in the town of Guerra, just east of the Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo. At breakfast this morning, Ralph was recounting the trip he took with Peter O’Malley when they found the land on which it now sits.
It has since been replicated by numerous teams throughout baseball. Located on 75 acres of land, the academy is equipped with two full and two half baseball fields, a dining room, kitchen, recreation room and two two-story dormitories that accommodate up to 100 players.
In addition to their baseball instruction, Dodger prospects receive academic instruction, including English lessons. There are also lessons on American culture and assistance in dealing with situations that will confront the players when they arrive in the United States.
Here is a partial list of the 29 players that made the big leagues who developed at Campo Las Pamlas under Ralph’s leadership:
Pedro Martinez, Mariano Duncan, Jose Offerman, Raul Mondesi, Ramon Martinez, Omar Daal, Ismael Valdez, Pedro Astacio, Alfredo Gonzalez, Angel Pena, Jose Vizciano, Henry Rodriguez, Miguel Cairo, Roger Cedeno and Henry Blanco, Franquelis Osoria and Felix Rodriguez.