PRESS RELEASE: HHBM Announces the Appointment of Luis R. Cancel as Chief Executive Officer

PRESS RELEASE: HHBM Announces the Appointment of Luis R. Cancel as Chief Executive Officer

                          Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum
                                                  Hall of Fame
                      20th Anniversary Celebration 2018-19


                                                       PRESS RELEASE

Embargoed Until – Friday, September 15, 2017
Contact: ​Luis R. Cancel, CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum – 917-818-9098
                       SF Giants’ Gorkys Hernandez receives
                      2017 José Uribe Sportsmanship Award

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom Congratulates the Giants’ Outfielder and Heralds the 20th Anniversary Year of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball       Museum – Hall of Fame 

                The Museum Announces the Appointment of Luis R. Cancel
                                    as Chief Executive Officer

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – (Sept./15/2017) – California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom today sent his congratulations to Gorkys Gustavo Hernandez (#66), “As a life-long baseball fan, it is a great pleasure for me to salute San Francisco Giants’ outfielder Gorkys Hernandez as the recipient of the José Uribe Sportsmanship Award (2017).” he said.

The Lt. Governor was joined by the Founder and President of HHBM-HoF Gabriel “Tito” Avila, Jr. who added, “The award was created in 2009 to be given annually in honor of the memory and sportsmanship of the late San Francisco Giants shortstop José Uribe, who passed away too early in life. The recipient of this award sets an example through outstanding contributions to the game and their on-going commitment to the Giants’ Hispanic community, as well as serving as a role model for Hispanic youth, by exemplifying the character and the spirit of José Uribe.”

Gorkys joins past recipients including Benji Molina (2009), Pablo Sandoval (2010 and 2014), Andrés Torres (2011), Javier López (2012), Angel Pagán (2013), Gregor Blanco (2015), and Johnny Cueto (2016). The award will be presented during the pre-game show at AT&T Park on Saturday, September 16th during the Giants’ celebration of Fiestas Gigantes, an annual event by the team with the Bay Area Hispanic community.

Lt. Governor Newsom went on to say, “I also want to congratulate the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum – Hall of Fame on their upcoming 20th anniversary. We all love America’s favorite pastime and having an organization that highlights the many contributions of Hispanic ballplayers is an asset for the game, for our city and state, and I look forward to the organization’s 2018 anniversary year.”

Mr. Avila joined Dr. William Fishkin, the Chairman of the Board of HHBM-HoF in announcing the appointment Luis R. Cancel, a Harvard trained cultural leader, as the first CEO of the organization.

Dr. Fishkin said, “The Board recognized that in anticipation of our 20th Anniversary year, we needed to bring in someone with extensive experience with museums, with fundraising and someone who had a demonstrated track-record of building up an organization. The individual we have selected, Luis Cancel, has a distinguished national and international career as a Director and Curator of museums and has served as the Cultural Affairs head for both New York City and San Francisco.”

Mr. Avila added, “During his tenure as Executive Director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts (1978-1991), he raised millions of dollars for the museum and established their 45,000 sq. ft. facility. He also understands how to integrate New Media and technology into an organization’s operations – these are all skills we need in order to establish a 21st century museum and Hall of Fame – our talented ballplayers deserve nothing less.”

During Mr. Cancel’s tenure as Director of the San Francisco Arts Commission (2008-2011), he helped to connect the Commission with the citizens of San Francisco, reaching over 2% of residents through e-mail and electronic media. He established the cable TV and streaming program CultureWire and was instrumental in salvaging the The Mexican Museum’s relationship with the City of San Francisco, which recently broke ground for its new home in the Yerba Buena Arts District.

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appointed Mr. Cancel to the National Museum of the American Latino Commission (2009-2011) and produced a Report to Congress and President Obama to establish the Museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution. Mr. Cancel continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino ( ) in Washington, DC.

Mr. Cancel said, “I am honored to have been selected to lead the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum during its next stage of growth. I love baseball, I’m a passionate fan (Yankees) and I sincerely believe that during the divisive and challenging times that the nation is experiencing, we must seek out and celebrate every opportunity that demonstrates how our diverse population can work together as a team and achieve goals, compete fiercely and have fun together. Baseball, once it integrated in the 1950s, has reminded us every year of what is possible when you combine individual excellence with team spirit. I plan on finding the hundreds of stories of how Latino ballplayers have contributed to the great legacy of baseball and share that history with the millions of fans who love the sport.”

Mr. Cancel added, “I am so pleased to join all HHBM-HoF supporters and fans in recognizing the contributions of Gorkys Hernandez.”

Background on HHBM-HoF

The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame (HHBM) was founded in the Mission District in San Francisco on October 24, 1998, and Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization on June 23, 1999 in Sacramento, California. This makes the 20th Anniversary a two-year period commencing on January 2018 and concluding at the end of 2019. Over the years the HHBM has distinguished itself by inducting 65 stellar baseball players and other baseball professionals into the Hall of Fame. The Museum has also drawn attention to the sport and to its Hispanic ball players with a wide range of programs that include:

• Baseball clinics for youth.
• Exhibitions highlighting Hispanic players that spans the entire history of baseball.
• Numerous award ceremonies that have recognized ball players and other professionals associated with the sport.
• Public events and celebrations that have included 21 of the 30 teams in MLB as partners.

The Museum and Hall of Fame has benefitted from an enthusiastic cadre of fans who love the sport, follow their teams avidly and are willing to discuss their views with a wide circle of baseball fans. Their voices are empowered via the HHBM website where we have attracted several active bloggers from various parts of the nation. Some of the contributors also upload Podcasts and audio interviews with active or retired Latino ball players.

The Hall of Fame, the backbone of a future Museum facility, has inducted 65 outstanding individuals, many of whom have eagerly set aside important memorabilia from their distinguished athletic careers for donation to the HHBM collection. Some have already made some gifts and these have served as part of temporary traveling exhibitions the Museum has organized over the years. One of the goals during the Anniversary year is to dramatically expand the scale and reach of the exhibition program.

Background on Gorkys Hernandez — José Uribe Sportsmanship Award

Recipient for 2017:​​Gorkys Gustavo Hernandez (Outfielder) #66
Native of:​​​Guiria, Venezuela (b. Sept. 7, 1987)
Nickname:​​​Cazador (Hunter in English)

Married (Ariadna)…has two children (a son named Evans and a daughter named Eva).

Has appeared in 112 games (so far) with 273 at bats, 71 hits and a batting average of .260.

Appeared in 26 games (13 starts) with San Francisco and hit .259 after having his contract purchased Aug. 23 from triple-A Sacramento. Hit .302 with 22 doubles, eight homers and 51 RBI in 116 games for triple-A Sacramento…was named a mid-season PCL All-Star for his efforts at the break. Was named the River Cats’ Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year as the 2016 PCL All-Star provided a valuable bat as well as exceptional defense in center field.

Spent most of the season with triple-A Indianapolis (AAA) but also appeared in eight games with the Pirates, going 0-for-5. Was on the big league DL from July 19-30 with left shoulder discomfort. Hit .288 with six home runs and 42 RBI in 104 games with Indianapolis.

Background on Luis R. Cancel

Luis R. Cancel – artist, arts administrator, and distinguished public servant – is the only person in the country to serve as the head of Cultural Affairs for two major cities: New York (1991-1994) and San Francisco (2008-2011). He is an international Curator of Latino and Latin American art and has served as a consultant to foundations, private corporations and non-profit groups in the areas of strategic planning, institutional development and cultural facilities planning.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Mr. Cancel to the federal National Museum of the American Latino Commission (2009-2011), established by Congress and the President to study the potential creation of such a museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution. He continues to champion the creation of the museum.

From 2005 until December 2007 he was Executive Director of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center in New York City, where he raised $14.04 million in capital renovation grants. He has served as an independent curator and consultant in the areas of institutional development and strategic planning for various foundations and government agencies. In 2009, he became a founding member of Rio Cidade Criativa (Rio Creative City, a decade-long initiative based in Rio de Janeiro to foment the arts and community development in the city that is being impacted by hosting the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016).

Formerly, Mr. Cancel was Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs ( Appointed by Mayor David N. Dinkins in December 1991, Mr. Cancel became the first Latino ever to hold that position as the fifth Commissioner in the agency’s history. During his tenure (19911994), he worked closely with Mayor Dinkins to raise the level of city support for the arts and sciences, increasing the agency’s operating support budget from $69 million to $89 million, making it the nation’s third largest public agency supporting arts and culture. In addition, Mr. Cancel oversaw the Capital Improvements budget of over $100 million. As Commissioner, Mr. Cancel worked with leaders from all of the arts disciplines to document the economic contributions of the arts to New York City’s economy.

He has advanced degrees from Harvard University (MPA), New York University (MA) and Pratt Institute (BFA) and is a native son of the South Bronx.

He is married to the Brazilian contemporary dance choreographer Regina Miranda.

Additional background info on LinkedIn or Website:


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Posted on: September 15, 2017HispanicHeritageBasebalMuseum

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