Cleveland Indians give all-star treatment to Shepherd of the Valley resident Alba Rivera

Alba Rivera Indians Game 20

On Saturday, May 7, The Cleveland Indians made Alba Rivera’s dream come true. Rivera not only attended a game, but had the opportunity to meet her favorite player, Sandy Alomar.

Rivera was born in Puerto Rico in 1943 and later moved to the United States where she raised her four children, Nelson, Omar, Alba and Lillian. She has loved the game of baseball ever since she was a little girl growing up in Puerto Rico and her passion for the sport was passed down to her family. Every year at her family reunion they would play a baseball game and she would stake her claim at first base. Just this past year she hung up the spikes and her number was retired due to bad knees from all those years standing on the bag.

The Cleveland Indians have always been her favorite team and she cheered the hardest for Dennis Martinez, Carlos Baerga and Sandy Alomar. Alba was diagnosed with dementia and does not remember seeing any major league games despite attending several. Currently, Alba resides at Shepherd of the Valley – Boardman where she worked as a housekeeper for 15 years.

Activity Director Kim Osborn knew she loved the Indians and wanted to do something special for Rivera. She wanted to get her back on the field and in front of her favorite team again.

“Alba loves baseball. She lights up when she talks about it or has the opportunity to watch it. We talked about taking her to see a game but were thrilled after talking with the Indians and finding she was going to get all-star treatment,” Osborn said.

The Cleveland Indians arranged for Rivera to attend batting practice where she met several players and they autographed her baseball and took pictures with her. The highlight of the day was the opportunity for her to meet Sandy Alomar. When Sandy approached her, he spoke in her native language, Spanish. Rivera lit up and reached up to hug him.

“We were really excited about the opportunity to take mom to a game, but the fact that she got to be on the field, meet players, meet Sandy. It’s been awesome,” Rocky Rivera said. He and his wife, Sandy, accompanied her to the game.