Burgos: What Chris Rock got wrong on black Latinos and race in baseball

From SABR member Adrian Burgos Jr. at The Sporting News on May 10, 2015:

We had two strikes against us: One for being black, and another for being Latino. — Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda

Cepeda shared this reflection with me a number of years ago in recalling his playing days as baseball’s racial integration unfolded. Cepeda recalled numerous instances in which Americanos saw the Puerto Rican as just another black man when deciding to deny him services or in refusing him the same accommodations that his white teammates enjoyed. He also shared that on other occasions Americanos who he encountered saw him as a Latino, and proceeded to poke fun at his accent and his unfamiliarity with North American ways, which reminded him how they saw him as a foreigner in this land — even though his native Puerto Rico was (and remains) a U.S. territory.

Cepeda was not alone in enduring such encounters during that era. This treatment (and feeling they were consistently behind 0-2 in the count in their social encounters) was at the core of the critique that Roberto Clemente and Felipe Alou would make about how those within MLB circles (whether team staff, league officials, or the press corps) dealt with Latinos. Unfortunately, many of the issues about perceptions of those ballplayers who are both black and Latino continue in US baseball circles, particularly in discussions of race and the history of America’s game.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2015-05-10/arfrican-americans-baseball-chris-rock-latinos

Originally published: May 10, 2015. Last Updated: May 10, 2015.