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Mexico’s Alejo Peralta, industrial magnate, baseball figure, dead at 80

April 9, 1997

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Alejo Peralta y Diaz Ceballos, a leading industrial magnate, educator and a prominent figure in Mexican professional baseball, died Tuesday of a heart attack. He was 80.

Peralta died in a hospital after 15 days of treatment for a heart condition, his family announced.

Although retired, he kept a close eye on the family’s industrial conglomerate, Grupo Industrias Unidas, especially a subsidiary that is a leading developer of cellular telephone communications in Mexico.

The conglomerate includes more than 60 companies employing 10,000 workers.

Peralta was born May 5, 1916, in Puebla, the capital of Puebla state. He graduated from the National Polytechnic Institute as a mechanical engineer in 1935.

In 1956, he returned as director of the institute, which he expanded and reorganized, adding schools for mathematics and physics, medicine and biology, and social sciences apart from engineering.

He also made efforts to provide inexpensive textbooks and scholarships for poor students.

Peralta began in business by selling mostly imported electrical equipment, primarily to the state National Electricity Commission, which has a monopoly on power production.

Peralta gradually established his own companies, manufacturing a wide range of items from switches to generators, breakers and fuses.

By the 1990s, IUSA as it was popularly known, was supplying nearly half of Mexico’s needs for such items.

Baseball remained Peralta’s great love. He founded the Mexico City Tigers in 1955 and created the minor league Liga Central in 1959.

The Tigers took three Mexican league championships under Peralta’s ownership before he made the unprecedented decision of using only Mexican players on his team. The all-Mexican Tigers went on to take two more championship banners.

The ``Alejo Peralta Mexican Baseball Academy″ located near the northern city of Monterrey is named for him.

Peralta is survived by his wife Maria Quintero and their children, Carlos, Eugenio, Laura, Leticia and Carmen. His remains will be cremated Wednesday during a ceremony at Mexico City’s Spanish Cemetery.

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