Venezuelan Bust, Baseball Boom: Andraes Reiner and Scouting on the New Frontier

By Milton H. Jamail | Go to book overview

Preface

In 1987 when I began to do research on baseball in Latin America, I read anything I could find on the subject in both English and Spanish and interviewed every current and former player from the region I could locate. I soon discovered that baseball was the most popular sport in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela and also had a long history in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the north coast of Colombia. I also realized that the definitive history of baseball in the Caribbean region that I envisioned writing was neither possible nor necessary: the subject was much too complex, and other scholars and serious journalists were also working on the topic.

In the early 1990s I focused my research on Cuba and Venezuela. Not much was written about contemporary baseball in either country, and both were coming onto the radar screens of major league scouts. In 2000 my book, Full Count: Inside Cuban Baseball, a look at baseball in post-1959 Cuba, was published. The focus of this book is Venezuela, and to a much lesser extent Colombia, Nicaragua, and Panama.

I first went to Venezuela in 1986 to attend an academic conference and was intrigued by this fascinating country. I returned to Venezuela in May 1990 to write a six-part series for the Houston Post on the Astros’ Latin American scouting program. I stayed in contact with those in the Houston front office in charge of Astros’ scouting and also communicated with other major league organizations concerning their interest in searching for players in Venezuela. And I closely monitored the progress of the increasing number of Venezuelan players in U.S. professional baseball: 75 percent of the 214 Venezuelans

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