Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of Andrés Reiner -- especially his wife, Carmina, and sons Robert and Andres Jr., and daughter Sylvia.
The Tampa Bay Rays join them in their grief along with the vast network of people who were influenced by Andrés' vision and insight for more than 60 years.
Andrés transformed the way baseball was scouted in Venezuela when he opened the first baseball academy in the country for the Houston Astros in 1990. While many are aware of the 25 young men from that program who reached the big leagues -- including Johan Santana, Bob Abreu and Carlos Guillen -- fewer know about the managers and coaches in Minor League baseball who were influenced by Andrés.
The Rays have six staff members, including Bowling Green manager Reinaldo Ruiz and Minor League pitching coordinator Jorge Moncada, who were originally signed by Andrés as players.
Many of the players signed by Andrés considered him a second father. But his influence went far beyond the players he signed. Ronnie Blanco, the Rays' director of South American operations, said, "We are all Andrés' kids."
Andrés was instrumental in reorganizing the way Tampa Bay approached recruiting and signing players in Latin America when he came on board in 2006, and he played a major role in the building of the Rays' academies in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
It was Andrés who pioneered the cultural transition programs in professional baseball, programs that Tampa Bay has established for young men signed in Latin America. The Rays stand with many others in tribute to a man who dedicated his life to growing our game and mentoring others to do the same.