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Dodgers Pitching Legend Fernando Valenzuela Becomes US Citizen

LOS ANGELES ( — Nearly four decades after thrilling fans at Dodger Stadium, Dodgers legendary southpaw Fernando Valenzuela is officially living the American Dream.

Valenzuela became a U.S. citizen Wednesday after taking the Oath of Allegiance at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalization ceremony in downtown Los Angeles, according to the Dodgers' MLB blog.

A native of Etchohuaquila in Sonora, Mexico, Valenzuela joined around 8,000 fellow Angelenos in the ceremony. He was joined by his wife, Linda, who herself became a U.S. citizen a few months ago.

In response to his citizenship ceremony, the Dodgers released the following statement: "Valenzuela's cultural impact on Los Angeles and on baseball is immeasurable. What we do know is that our stadium is always filled with faces he directly inspired, fans whose parents or grandparents proudly noted that someone who looked like them and who came from Mexico was a Dodger and was selling out the stadium each of his starts."

A congratulatory tweet was also posted on the team's official Twitter page.

Valenzuela signed with the Dodgers in July 6, 1979, and first moved to the U.S. a short time later. He went on to a Major League Baseball career both as a player and broadcaster spanning three decades.

His achievements include throwing an unforgettable no-hitter on June 29, 1990, versus the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium, making him the first Mexican to accomplish the feat.

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