For Nats' Ramos, Venezuela always home

Wilson Ramos, C, Nationals
Hometown: Valencia, Venezuela

As Wilson Ramos grew up in Valencia, Venezuela, baseball was a family affair. His earliest experiences came playing on the streets and fields in town with his brother, David, four years Wilson's junior and now a Minor League pitcher for the Nationals.

Ramos is the only one from his school, U.E. Santa Ines, to make it to the big leagues, but somewhere near the young brothers were future All-Stars Felix Hernandez, Henderson Alvarez and Salvador Perez. In all, there are 26 Major Leaguers who call Valencia -- the country's third-largest city -- home, half of them within four years in age of Ramos.

He goes home in the offseason, when he gets to spend time with his rather large family -- his mother is one of nine -- who usually see him only from afar.

"Now they watch me on TV," Ramos told with a smile last year. "It's very exciting for me to be here in the United States, playing baseball, representing my country."

Tim Healey is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.