MIAMI The former minor league Miami Marlins played in Bobby Maduro Stadium. The soon-to-be Miami Marlins will play next to a street named for Maduro, an early force behind baseball in South Florida as well as Cuba.
Hispanic baseball icons Maduro and Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Felo Ramirez are the namesakes for two of the four streets surrounding the new ballpark in Little Havana unveiled Wednesday morning by the Marlins and local officials.
Bobby Madura Drive is the portion of NW Fourth Street along the south side of the park, with Felo Ramirez Drive on the north side along NW Sixth Street. The address of the park will be 501 Marlins Way, bordering the west on NW 16th Avenue, while Orange Bowl Way is the portion of NW 14th Ave. on the east.
“We’re recognizing the great work of two individuals and not forgetting the history of the Orange Bowl. We are recognizing the past, present and the future,” Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo said, adding that when he attends games he listens to Ramirez’s Spanish radio broadcasts.
Ramirez, the Spanish voice of the Marlins since their inception, will continue to call games in the new park. Inducted into the Hall of Fame’s broadcast wing in 2001, Ramirez called Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, Roberto Clemente’s 3,000 hit and Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game. He has broadcast more than 30 World Series and All-Star Games.
Marlins President David Samson said team officials consulted with Javier Soto, president of the Miami Foundation, in selecting the street names. The objective was to honor Miami’s sports history and pivotal figures in baseball in the area.
He said Ramirez was quickly chosen, and there was also a desire to pay homage to the Orange Bowl, which occupied the site of the retractable-roof ballpark that will open in April.
“These are historic, hallowed grounds. That was a natural to have Orange Bowl Way on the east side of the building. The famous orange bowl view through the east end zone and the palm trees, that’s the iconic view,” Samson said.
That view toward downtown Miami will be preserved from the ballpark by giant glass sliding doors beyond the outfield.
Bobby Maduro Drive also pays homage to the ballpark that was home to the Class A and Triple-A Miami Marlins teams as well as to one of Latin America’s most prominent baseball figures. Maduro, who died in 1986, was represented by his son and other family members during Wednesday’s ceremony.
“We did some homework and realized he is critical in bringing Hispanics and baseball together in Miami,” Samson said.