The American Game: Baseball and Ethnicity

By Lawrence Baldassaro; Richard A. Johnson | Go to book overview

9
The Latin Quarter in the Major Leagues:
Adjustment and Achievement

SAMUEL O. REGALADO

When in November of 1998 Puerto Rican Juan Gonzalez and Dominican Sammy Sosa won the Most Valuable Player Awards for their respective leagues, it represented the highest watermark to date for Latinos in the major leagues. The dual Latin achievement capped one of baseball's most exciting seasons, which featured the fabled home run race between Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sosa of the Chicago Cubs. Though both broke Roger Maris's single-season home run mark (McGwire with seventy, Sosa with sixty-six), their duel captivated the public. Sosa's fame went beyond North American borders. Indeed, Dominicans were exuberant about their native son, who had not only achieved greatness in the United States but continually expressed patriotism to his country and love to his family through a series of gestures following each home run. And this devotion, to be sure, was quite timely as the Dominican Republic was devastated by a terrific summer hurricane that rendered thousands homeless. Exhibiting great compassion, Sosa used his popularity to channel funds to his homeland. His actions, however, were not uncommon among his Latino peers and characterized the bond between them that was rooted long before he reached stardom. Like Sosa, Latins have always felt a sense of mission that had accompanied their careers as players. The advancement of their regions and communities and their self-proclaimed positions as “ambassadors” for their

-162-

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The American Game: Baseball and Ethnicity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Other Books in the Writing Baseball Series ii
  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Foreword xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: The Many Fathers of Baseball 6
  • 3: German Americans in Major League Baseball 27
  • 4: [Slide, Kelly, Slide] 55
  • 5: Unreconciled Strivings 68
  • 6: Before Joe D 92
  • 7: From Pike to Green with Greenberg in Between 116
  • 8: Diamonds Out of the Coal Mines 142
  • 9: The Latin Quarter in the Major Leagues 162
  • 10: Baseball and Racism's Traveling Eye 177
  • Contributors Index 197
  • Contributors 199
  • Index 201
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