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Yordan Alvarez

22 blessings this Thanksgiving

Family, titles and awards highlight the year's Thanksgiving blessings

Latinos have shone throughout the sports world this year, from the basketball court to the baseball diamond, the boxing ring and the NASCAR and Formula 1 race tracks. On this Thanksgiving, we are highlighting 22 of the sports blessings for which we are most thankful in 2022.

Astros Family Thanksgiving early

Familia is paramount in Latino culture, and the baseball season provided some of the most heartwarming storylines of the year. The postseason for the Astros was full of Thanksgiving as parents saw their sons play in person for the first time in the majors.

Cuban slugger Yordan Alvarez’s parents were finally able to watch him play in person in the major leagues. Until August, the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year’s parents could watch him only on television in the Dominican Republic as they waited for their visas to join him in the United States.

Astros lefthander Framber Valdez’s father fought his fear of flying to travel from the Dominican Republic to watch his son pitch in person in the majors for the first time in Game 2 of the World Series.

Three days later, Cristian Javier combined for a no-hitter against the Phillies as his parents watched him in person in the majors for the first time. Bryan Abreu, who pitched in the combined no-hitter and dominated in the postseason, also pitched in front of his parents for the first time this postseason.

2 Proud Mexican champ Juan Toscano-Anderson

Before joining the Lakers, Juan Toscano-Anderson became the second Mexican American to win an NBA title. He was a member of the Golden State Warriors’ championship team.

He embraced his Mexican roots while celebrating the title and visiting the President of Mexico.

3 Grand Theft Alvarado

The New Orleans Pelicans’ Jose Alvarado embodied perseverance and persistence while securing a contract with a flurry of steals.

Alvarado’s highlight reel of steals became a viral sensation.

4 Sergio Perez

Checo Perez won the Monaco Grand Prix, becoming the first Mexican driver to win the prestigious race. 

5 Daniel Suarez

The Monterrey, Mexico, native made history in Sonoma in June when he became the first native of Mexico to win a NASCAR Cup Series race. Daniel Suarez has proudly raised the Mexican flag as a NASCAR trailblazer.

Daniel Suarez
SONOMA, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 12: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #99 Onx Homes/Renu Chevrolet, celebrates with a Mexican flag after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 12, 2022 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

6 Chris Olave

A year after becoming Ohio State’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions, New Orleans Saints receiver Chris Olave is a prime candidate for Rookie of the Year.

The Cuban American from the San Diego area is already among the most feared receivers in the NFL.

7 Sandy Alcantara

Miami Marlins righthander Sandy Alcantara was a unanimous selection for the National League Cy Young Award. The Dominican Republic native earned his second All-Star berth and became the first native of Latin America to win the Cy Young in 25 years. 

8 Dusty Baker

The Astros’ manager Dusty Baker, who proudly speaks Spanish and has the most Latino coaches in the majors, finally won a World Series title as a manager.

Baker became the first Black manager to win 2,000 games as a manager.

9 Damien Martinez

Oregon State freshman running back Damien Martinez has proven to be one of the best freshmen in college football this season. He was criminally underrated as a three-star recruit out of Lewisville (Texas) High, but he’s on pace for 1,000 rushing yards this season.

Damien Martinez

10 Jaime Jaquez Jr. 

The UCLA forward is a preseason All-America after returning for his senior season. Jaime Jaquez Jr. is arguably the best Mexican American to play college basketball. 

11 Chris Duarte 

The Indiana Pacers guard had a sensational rookie season with the Indiana Pacers. Chris Duarte often showcased his Dominican Republic roots with pride.

12 Al Horford 

The Boston Celtics’ veteran star made history by becoming the first native of the Dominican Republic to play in the NBA Finals. 

His Celtics lost, but he made his presence felt and was celebrated throughout his native island.

13 Latinos at the NBA All-Star Game

Dominican American Karl-Anthony Towns and Mexican American Juan Toscano-Anderson shone during the 2022 NBA All-Star Game weekend. 

Towns won the 3-point contest, and Toscano Anderson finished second in the Slam Dunk Contest.

Juan Toscano-Anderson
CLEVELAND, OHIO – FEBRUARY 19: The sneakers worn by Juan Toscano-Anderson #95 of the Golden State Warriors during the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest as part of the 2022 NBA All Star Weekend at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 19, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

14 Tony Oliva

The Twins legend finally took his place among the immortals in Cooperstown, N.Y., as a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Tony Oliva’s induction was made extra special because his brother was able to get a travel visa to travel from Cuba to attend the ceremony. 

15 David Ortiz 

Big Papi was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he brought a large piece of the Dominican Republic to celebrate with him in Cooperstown, N.Y.

16 Julio Urias

The Los Angeles Dodgers left hander was snubbed from an All-Star bid, but he proved to be one of the best pitchers in baseball this year.

Urias made history as the first native of Mexico to lead the National League in ERA. He finished the season as the ace of the Dodgers’ staff.

17 Albert Pujols

The St. Louis Cardinals legend finished his career in storybook fashion, regaining his old home run stroke to get into the 700-home run club.

His next stop will be in Cooperstown in five years. 

18 Julio Rodriguez

The J-Rod Show was a hit in Seattle and the majors. Dominican Republic center fielder Julio Rodriguez lived up to the hype and more, leading the Seattle Mariners to their first playoff appearance in 21 years.

He was the American League Rookie of the Year. Rodriguez was also the breakout star of the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game festivities at Dodger Stadium. 

19 Jeremy Peña

The Astros’ rookie shortstop accomplished what seemed impossible, replacing two-time All-Star Carlos Correa with ease. Many Houstonians will count La Tormenta among their blessings this Thanksgiving.

Jeremy Peña accomplished more than anybody had a right to expect. He helped the Astros win the World Series while earning the ALCS and World Series MVP Awards. He also earned a Gold Glove while captivating Houston with his smile and charisma.

20 Framber Valdez

Framber Valdez
Astros lefty Framber Valdez, holds his boys Franmy , 2, and Frayker. 1, after winning Game 2 of the World Series 5-2 over the Phillies at Minute Maid Park on Oct. 29, 2022.

The Astros lefthander ascended into prominence this season while setting the record for the most consecutive quality starts in a season. He also led the AL in complete games with three. 

More importantly, Valdez won Games 2 and 6 against the Philadelphia Phillies to help the Astros win their second World Series title.

21 Combined no-hitters 

The Astros threw a pair of combined no-hitters on the biggest stages. Dominican righthander Cristian Javier started both, dominating the Yankees in the first one and then the Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series.

22 Nasty Nestor Cortes 

The Cuban lefthander Nestor Cortes Jr. proved to be one of the best pitchers in the majors. The first-time All-Star had a magical season while helping to lead the Yankees to the American League Championship Series.

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