Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Longtime Los Angeles Dodgers executive and international scout Ralph Avila, who spearheaded the organization’s efforts to develop players in the Dominican Republic, passed away on Monday at his home in Pembroke Pines, Florida, at the age of 92.
Avila joined the Dodgers in 1970 as a Latin America scout, and he would go on to sign the likes of Pedro Martinez, Ramon Martinez, Rick Rhoden and Candy Maldonado, among others.
In 1986, Avila picked the site of what would become the Dodgers’ year-round training facilities and scouting operation in the Dominican Republic. Campo Las Palmas officially opened the following year, and Avila would serve as regional coordinator and director from 1987-91.
Avila was named vice president in 1991, and under his leadership, assisted the Dominican Federation of Amateur Baseball by hosting teams at all levels, sponsoring them in local tournaments and providing equipment.
Along with scout Epy Guerrero, Avila helped form the Dominican Summer League. He also worked with the Licey Tigers and the Dominican national team.
Avila additionally contributed to the success of Futuro Vivo, a school in Santo Domingo that was adopted by the Dodgers. The academy offers education, nutrition and medical assistance to marginalized children in the area.
Avila retired from his duties after the 1999 season but remained with the Dodgers as an advisor through 2021. He won numerous accolades in his five decades with the organization, including being named international scout of the year by MLB in 2006.
Avila was the father of Al Avila, who served as general manager of the Detroit Tigers from 2015-2022. His grandson, Alex Avila, enjoyed a 13-year MLB career as a catcher.
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