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BOOK REVIEW:

Mexican American baseball in Los Angeles

Call Number: 
796.231 B176

In 2004 at California State University, Los Angeles, an exhibit was organized by Terry Cannon, Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary and Cesar Caballero, Associate Library Dean at California State Library, Los Angeles.  The purpose was to educate students on the history of Latino baseball in Los Angeles, and its importance to the greater community.  Students, faculty, and the community responded with great enthusiasm.  Former players came forward with oral histories and The Latino Baseball History Project was created. "Latino baseball flourished in Southern California from the early 1900s to the 1970s. It was a popular sport, but it was also something more. Latino baseball leagues helped create a cohesive and vibrant Latino community and they were a source of community pride. The games became a place for meetings across the region and were integral to discussion and eventually political organization within the communities."

This book and Mexican American baseball in the Central Coast are photographic essays which include meticulously researched information.  The focus is baseball, but both of these works are more than a history of the sport, and present a cultural history, noting both the Spanish and Mexican influences on everything from street names, architecture, social and religious customs, the participation of women in all-women leagues, and the history of prejudice and exclusion of Latino players from white leagues.  Of special interest in the Los Angeles history is a chapter which documents the controversy over Chavez Ravine with photographs of residents waiting for eviction, but "not without a fight," and photocopies of documents from the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.  The numerous vintage photographs and history provide information long neglected, and some of it previously unknown, about the contributions made by Latino baseball players, their families, community organizations and leaders to our national sport.

 

 

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