The American Dream - Latinos and Baseball

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Rene De Visme Williamson said, “if the American Dream is for Americans only, it will remain our dream and never be our destiny (American Dream Famous Quotations). We have to open our eyes and see that the American Dream is a valuable intangible item. People from all around the world want to come here to have what Americans can earn. This dream is now something that other people who are not American can have, and we are able to share our dream with others. One way is through the American pastime of baseball. Jane Juffer wrote, “Latino and Latin American baseball players have expanded the boundaries of the "American pastime," asserting their ethnic and national identities even while being accepted as representatives of the sport most closely aligned with a white United States identity (Juffer).” An Unrealized Accomplishment

When one thinks of minorities it isn’t just limited to African Americans, it also includes Latinos, Asians, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islanders, etc. When people think of racial barriers and the first minority to succeed in Major League Baseball, most people think of Jackie Robinson. When Jackie Robinson “integrated” baseball in 1947, “racial and ethnic minorities began to enter the major leagues with some regularity” (Gonzalez, 187). This is a wonderful thought, but however many Latinos also broke the racial barrier. Hispanics like Luis Castro began to play in the major leagues well before Jackie Robinson was born in 1919. Pioneer Latino and Hispanic Players

In 1902 the earliest Latino players in Major League Baseball from 1902 opened doors for future players. Players like Luis Castro, the first Latin American to play in the big leagues, was “an infielder who played in 42 games with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1902” (Latinos in MLB). Next came Rafael Almeida an infielder, and Armando Marsan, an outfielder who played in 1911. Two all star players of this year were pitcher Adolfo Luque, and catcher Miguel Angel Gonzalez. Luque played with the Boston Braves for 20 years. Miguel Gonzalez was the first Latin American to manage in the big leagues, and he was in charge of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1938 and 1940. Mel Almada was the first Mexican in the majors and played for the Boston Red Sox starting in 1933 and continuing with them for 6 more years. Hiram Bithorn was the first Puerto Rican to play with the Chicago Cubs in 1942. Alejandro Carrasquel pitched for the Washington Senators as the first Venezuelan pitcher in 1939. The 1950s was a great decade for Latin Americans. Orestes Minoso, a Cuban outfielder, was the first baseball player that played in five different decades. Alejandro Carrasquel was the first Latin American to play in the All-Star game. He was voted the Most Valuable Player in the American League with 1,213,774 votes from fans. “It was a dream come true, but I wasn’t nervous. Playing every day got me acclimated, and I was psychologically prepared for special moments like this one. The choice didn’t surprise me, either. I was aware of my qualifications for the game, and by now my talent was recognized by everyone,” said Carrasquel Beto Avila averaged over .300 in 1952 and over .341 in 1954 which earned him the American League Batting Crown, a great achievement for him to be the first Hispanic to win this honor. Avila helped the Cleveland Indians win 111 games that season, but after he left the team, the Indians never won the pennant again and Avila never batted over .300 again. Aparicio led the league in steals in his first nine seasons, an achievement no other player had achieved. The 1960s brought even more achievements. Puerto Rican, Roberto Clemente was signed with the Dodgers but was sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1961 where he earned four batting crowns. Over the course of his career he had over three thousand hits, a batting average of .317, and a place in the Hall of Fame. These are only a few examples of the Latino players that led...
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