When world-renowned personalities say they are from Puerto Rico, they aren’t only alluding to the fact that they were born on the island — they are celebrating it. There is a unique form of boricua pride that follows the hijos de la isla wherever they go. Puerto Ricans love Puerto Rico.
Very prominent in the music scene and sports world, many Puerto Ricans have made a name for themselves in literature, performing arts, politics, and more. While there are celebrities from across the island, the town of Bayamón has produced more than its fair share.
These are a few local legends you may recognize.
Yadier Molina – Baseball
Yadier Molina is widely considered one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time. Having played his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals (since his MLB debut in 2004), he is a two-time World Series Champion. With more than 50 accolades under his belt, there are distinctions such as nine All Star Game appearance, four Platinum Glove Awards, a Silver Slugger Award, and six Fielding Bible Awards.
Javy Báez – Baseball
His career in the Major League Baseball has earned Javier Báez the nickname of “The Magician.” He was the Chicago Cubs ninth overall selection of the MLB Draft in 2011 and made his debut in 2014. He became the first Cubs player to steal home in postseason game — something that hadn’t been done since Jimmy Slage in 1907. When the Cubs earned the National League pendant in 2016, The Magician was selected NL Championship Series co-MVP.
Tommy Ramos – Gymnastics
As a retired gymnast, Tommy Ramos has kept representing Puerto Rico beyond his career. He was part of the “Golden Boys,” the Puerto Rican national team that represented the island in the 2012 Olympics. While he didn’t medal at the Olympics, he had much success throughout his career, including two Pan-American Games gold medals, two Central American and Caribbean Games gold medals, and two Pan-American Championship silver medals. These days, you can catch Ramos on Exatlón USA — a competitive sports reality show — as both a participant and a trainer.
Héctor Camacho – Boxing
Known for his flamboyant style inside the ring, “Macho” Camacho was a natural-born boxer and entertainer. His quick footwork made him a world champion in three different weight classes. He held the WBC super featherweight title from 1983 to 1984, the WBC lightweight title from 1985 to 1987, and the WBO junior welterweight title twice between 1989 and 1992. Camacho’s fame expanded outside the boxing ring as he became a reference in popular culture, making appearances on shows like The Wayan Bros, King of the Hill, and songs by Lil Wayne, where he referenced the boxer’s agility his 2008 single “Mr. Carter.” After his death, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016.
Lucecita Benítez - Singer
Nicknamed La voz de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico’s voice), this singer is historically known as being a member of what was called the “New Wave” of popular music in Puerto Rico. With the nueva ola artistic movement, Lucecita paved the way for artists like Ednita Nazario, Olga Tañón, and many more. Not only was it a moment of musical empowerment during the 1960s, but it was also a social phenomenon that marked the beginning of pop music in Latin America. One of the milestones in her career was winning the Festival de la Música y la Canción in México, which led to her performing with Sammy Davis Jr. and appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show. After that, RCA signed her, and she became notable across Latin America and Spain.
Virgilio Dávila – Poet and Politician
Virgilio Dávila was a Puerto Rican poet whose work led him to become one of the most important representations of Puerto Rico in the modern literature movement. With a style based on simplicity, he introduced the jíbaros into his work, reflecting on his years as a teacher and in agriculture. His writings were greatly influence by Victor Hugo. He later became the mayor of Bayamón and served the municipality from 1905 to 1910.