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MISSION – A venue change this year will occur for the 48th Annual Leo Najo Oldtimers Baseball Reunion th on Saturday, Nov. 9 ’ relocating to the new Mission Event Center. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. with opening ceremonies scheduled around 11 a.m. followed by lunch and the official program at 1 p.m. Established in 1971 by the late Camilo Rodriguez of McAllen, the annual Leo Najo Day celebration brings together old-time players from various South Texas and Northern Mexico communities, according to organization president Vicente Estevis. The selection committee includes members from throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Each year, old timers are selected and inducted into the Leo Najo Hall of Fame. The event honors the memory of one of the greatest players in the history of baseball in the Valley. Najo was born in Mexico and at age eight he moved to Mission, where he worked odd jobs to afford tuition at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School. Najo went on to have a distinguished career as a baseball player, before becoming one of the first Mexico-born players to have played professionally in the United States. Najo was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1924, and was later named the best player of the first hall of fame of the 20th century in Mexico. “Each year we have old timers at our celebration from various parts of the United States and Mexico,” said Estevis. “It’s a memorable day for the former players and special guests.” Being inducted this year are: Elias Alvarez, Hebbronville; Julian “Jay” Avila, Weslaco; Pat Escamilla, Mission; Charles LaGrange, Rio Grande City; Amadeo “Lew” Lozano, Benavides (posthumously); Jeronimo Nuñez, Alamo (posthumously); Herbert “Herb” Richmond, McAllen; Ricardo Sandate, Corpus Christi; and Humberto”Bert” Taddei, Harlingen (posthumously). Special recognition inductees include: Winston Ayala, McAllen; Jaime Garcia, Reynosa; Rick Lozano, Mission; Carlos Pimentel, Mercedes; Cruz Rangel, McAllen; and Jerry Saenz, Mission. Members of the 1956 Edinburg High Bobcats and the 1974 Mercedes Tigers state tournament teams will also be in attendance. Top sirloin butt plates with all the trimmings and refreshments can be purchased and will be served right after opening ceremonies. ...

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