KANSAS CITY -- Sal Artiaga, a leader in the game's Latin America community, has retired after nearly a half-century in professional baseball.

For the past three years, Artiaga has been the Royals' coordinator of cultural development, helping Latino players in many aspects of the game and life.

"Sal's contributions to both the Royals and professional baseball are immeasurable," said Scott Sharp, the Royals' director of player development. "He is the pioneer of cultural assimilation for Latin American players and his 48-year career has left an indelible mark on the game of baseball."

Artiaga launched his baseball career in 1965 with El Paso in the Texas League. From 1967-82, he was with the Cincinnati Reds in the scouting and player development department.

For the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues which governed the Minors, Artiaga was an administrator and served as president from 1988-91. He served one year as president of the Arizona Fall League and, from 1993-99 was coordinator of cultural development for the Chicago White Sox.

Before joining the Royals, Artiaga was director of Latin American operations for the Philadelphia Phillies for 11 years (1999-2009).

Artiaga also has written many books to help young Latino players make a transition to baseball in the United States. From Los Luna, N.M., he and his wife, Marlene, live in Palm Harbor, Fla.