All-Star Roster Behind Museum
The Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House has a passionate team of volunteers and staff working hard to make Tampa’s new home for baseball heritage a reality. Please meet our team:
Mary Alvarez, Ybor City Museum Society Board Member
As a longtime member of the Ybor City Museum Society, Mary Alvarez has a passion for preserving the City’s heritage. Born and raised in West Tampa, Mary is also a big baseball fan.
“When the Al Lopez House was offered to us, it became very important for the Museum Society to preserve the house as well as the history and the legacy of baseball in Tampa and Hillsborough County.”
Del Diaz, General Contractor & Consultant
Ybor City native Del Diaz grew up playing sandlot baseball in Ybor and West Tampa. As the CEO and founder of Diaz Fritz Isabel general contractors, Del is leading Tampa Baseball Museum through the construction process necessary to renovate the historic home and convert the house into a museum.
“I like taking something old and making it look repurposed, bringing it back to life. I get more personal satisfaction from historical renovation than building something brand new out of the ground.”
Ken Garcia, Architect & Ybor City Museum Society Board Member
Ybor City resident Ken Garcia of Abell Garcia Architects is involved in the Tampa Baseball Museum because his father, Victor Garcia, was friends with Al Lopez, and he has an interest in historical preservation. “More than half of my work involves historical preservations. Preservation work is where my passion lies.”
Ken’s role in the Tampa Baseball Museum involves drawing the plans for construction, which includes returning the house to historical accuracy and maximizing the interior space for the museum’s use.
Bob Gomez, Rehabilitation & Capital Campaign Committee Chair
An Ybor City native, Bob Gomez knew as soon as he heard about the possibility of a baseball museum focusing on Ybor City and West Tampa that he wanted to play a role.“I have a strong passion for Ybor and a strong passion for baseball.”
Bob is chairman of the rehabilitation committee, which is responsible for all facets of the renovation and construction process, and the capital campaign chair. He is managing partner of STK Capital.
Chantal Ruilova Hevia, Ybor City Museum Society President & CEO
As a Tampa native with a connection to Ybor City’s cultural heritage, Chantal Hevia was a natural choice to lead the Ybor City Museum Society. The Society’s mission is to preserve, promote and celebrate Ybor City’s heritage, so the idea for the Tampa Baseball Museum fits that mission well.
“Baseball is a big part of the cultural heritage of Ybor and West Tampa. To be able to acquire Al Lopez’s former home and honor the players from our area is a very appropriate project for the Society.”
Daniel F. Martinez III, Capital Campaign Committee Co-Chair
Third generation Ybor City native Daniel Martinez III grew up playing baseball and watching Tampa natives such as Tino Martinez and Luis Gonzalez play. “Watching Tampa natives who shared the same batting coach as you at Jesuit High School, makes you feel like you have a better shot at the Majors. No other city can say what we can about the players that came out of here.”
Daniel is co-chair of the capital campaign committee, and works as a commercial banker at Bank of Tampa.
Elizabeth McCoy, Curator of Program and Education, Ybor City Museum Society
An anthropologist by trade, Liz McCoy has worked as curator of programs and education for the Ybor City Museum Society for the past five years. She’s drawn to how baseball shaped Ybor City and drew participants and spectators of diverse backgrounds – Cuban, Spanish, Italian, German, and more.
“Everyone in the early Ybor community knew about baseball and participated or went to watch. It was a community unifier, so it’s an important legacy to tell.”