¡Beisbol! Latino Baseball Pioneers and Legends

By Kirkus Reviews

Before 1947, Latino baseball players like their African-American counterparts, found that acceptance into the Major Leagues was based on the tint of their skin rather than the talent they possessed. Many of these players were known and admired, and were able to display their impressive talents in exhibition games against star white players, but were not allowed to play on a Major League team. Winter (FAIR BALL, 1999) profiles 14 Latino ballplayers, 7 of whom never had their chance at the Majors. The author has selected an interesting, well-balanced variety of players and offers the information in an eye-catching, highly readable format. Each player is presented in a two-page spread that resembles the front and back of a baseball card. The text page is comprised of statistics and a brief biography of each personality and his career. The brightly colored acrylic illustration depicts the player in action and each “card” is placed on a bright blue or purple background and is framed in yellow. These cards introduce the reader to Dolf Luque, a light-skinned Cuban who played for several Major League teams from 1912 to 1932, and to others with darker skin like Tetelo Vargas and Martin Dihigo, who played their entire careers in the Negro Leagues and in leagues throughout Latin America. Perucho Cepeda and Luis Tiant Sr. were also barred, but lived to see their sons forge impressive Major League careers. Major League stars like Minnie Minoso, Roberto Clemente, and Juan Marichal appear here as well. An introduction by Bruce Markusen Rodríguez of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum sets the stage for what follows: an attempt to address a neglected facet of the development of baseball and its relation to American societal history via fascinating anecdotes about both well-known and unknown baseball heroes. Sure to appeal to young baseball fans and their parents.