The Latinization of Baseball

“America’s strength is not our diversity; our strength is our ability to unite people of different backgrounds around common principles. A common language is necessary to reach that goal.” – Ernest Istook

That common language can be sports and you can see that with all the diversity in the professional sports we have in America. These days we have many Latino players that have made a great impact in the MLB. Many of these players are now considered legends such as Sammy Sosa, Roberto Clemente, Jose Canseco, and so on but it wasn’t always like this where the Latinos were accepted to play in the MLB. Before 1947, in order to play in the Major League Baseball it wasn’t based only on your talent but the color of your skin as well. These Latino players were more than capable to play against star white players as it was shown in exhibition games. However, they were still not allowed to play on a MLB team. Now, the MLB is definitely becoming more and more “Latinized” as you can see from the chart below.Image

Now days the league is paying more attention to the Latino players around the world to bring them in. The MLB has even made sure to broadcast games in Spanish. The de-segregation of the MLB all started of by one man, Jackie Robinson. Robinson had changed the game by making a way for non-white players to have a chance in the MLB. The Latino presence in the MLB has increased immensely over the years. In 1990, the Latinos made up of about 13% in the Major League where to now that number has increased to 25%. Not only have the number of Latinos grown in the league but a good amount of these players are amongst the best in the league. In 2006, 23 out of the 71 All-Stars were of Latino descent. Another great fact is since 1990, six of the last 15 players to win the Most Valuable Player awards in the All-Star game have been of Latino descent. Its not a surprise that these sports have a major Latino influence. There has been a large influx of Hispanics into the US population. The Latino population has increased 43% from 2000-2010, according to the US Census Bureau.

So is this it for the Latino players in the MLB? I don’t think so. Now days kids are just getting better and better. Also, the scouting in the Latin countries is growing and should produce more stars. The influence of Latin players on this game is going to be one to talk about forever.

Below is the ESPN Classic episode on Roberto Clemente. (There are 4 different parts to this episode)

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