Altuve memorabilia headed to Venezuelan Baseball HOF
The batting gloves worn by Jose Altuve when he passed Magglio Ordonez last week to set the record for most hits in a single season by a Venezuelan-born player are on their way to the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame.
Juan Pablo Galavis, a former professional soccer player who was recently featured on the reality show “The Bachelor,” is an ambassador for the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame and is traveling the country to collect donates to improve the facility, as well as gathering memorabilia from Venezuelan-born players.
Galavis, who born was in Ithaca, N.Y., but lived in Venezuela as a child, said Altuve is well-known in his native country.“With baseball being the first sport in Venezuela, every player that gets to the big leagues becomes a name,” he said. “Not only here and what he has done here, but also when he goes back home and he played last year and the year before, [reaching] the finals. They become super stars.”
The Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame, which opened in 2002, was the brainchild of the Cardenas family, which included a young son stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was such a huge baseball fan he wound up writing some books on the sports before passing away in 1994, and his family decided to open the Hall of Fame in his honor.
Galavis saw the Cardenas family story on a documentary and he started traveling to the United States to spread the word about the museum to Venezuelan-born players. He recently designation from the IRS as a charitable organizations, called the Cardenas Sports Foundation Baseball Hall of Fame Inc.
“I found out many of the players didn’t know the museum was there,” he said. “That’s what I stayed with them. It’s easier for me to travel to the United States, getting collectibles for the museum, just like Cooperstown does, than waiting for them to get to Venezuela, because maybe they won’t come, the teams won’t let them play. That’s pretty much what I like to do. It’s my passion.”
Galavis said being a TV celebrity has helped him make more inroads.
“I’ll say it’s helped a lot,” he said. “Obviously, I could so the same thing I did three years, two years ago, but now they see me a little differently.”