Ashwill: The history of Cuban baseball as told in Cuban sports papers, 1899-1901

From SABR member Gary Ashwill at Negro Leagues History on May 24, 2018:

Our collection of Cuban sports newspapers covers the years 1899 to 1901, an era that encompasses multiple turning points in the history of Cuban baseball. As we go through them, catalogue their contents, and translate them, we’ll be posting a series of articles covering some of the most interesting material we come up with. Normally articles will appear every two or three weeks. Here’s a summary of some of the major subjects we’ll be writing about.

1) The Racial Integration of Cuban Baseball

As we’ve mentioned before, the Cuban League did away with its color line in 1900. Not only were individual teams allowed to sign black players—so Luis Padrón joined Habana and José Muñoz started pitching for Almendares—but the league admitted an entire black team, the San Francisco Base Ball Club. (San Francisco, for its part, hired a white pitcher, Salvador Rosado, who was already a Cuban League veteran.)

There’s a lot of material in these papers about the debates and machinations surrounding this momentous change. We’re going to trace the impact of the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the subsequent U.S. military occupation, which was still going on throughout the period covered by our papers. The occupation authorities in many ways favored the imposition of U.S.-style segregation—but Cuban revolutionary ideals upheld racial equality. What did it mean that professional baseball erased its color line at exactly this point in history?

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 25, 2018. Last Updated: May 25, 2018.