Schmidt: For the love of the game: Burgos turns passion into profession

From Kim Schmidt at the University of Illinois on October 16, 2017, on SABR member Adrian Burgos Jr.:

“Let me tell you what I did in my very last game of college ball,” history professor Adrian Burgos, Jr. is laughing as he and I walk toward the dusty pitcher’s mound on Illini Field. “I finally hit a home run over the fence rather than just legging one out!”

Today, Adrian is swinging a bat for the STORIED cameras, but his lifetime passion for baseball has taken him all the way from Sunday afternoon games at the ballpark with his abuela to playing college ball for Vassar to the red carpet at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. At Illinois, Adrian turned his passion into his profession, teaching students about history through the lens of sport, race, and immigration.

“I love to share my fascination with history. History is not dead. It is really about a relationship between us in the present and the past,” he said. “It is about how we understand the facts, how we look at them, what we know, and ultimately what we come to understand—even more so as we mature and gain new perspectives. If you understand this about history, then you are constantly learning and discovering new things. That’s why I love what I do. It is always evolving.”

Adrian comes to the game as a historian, former athlete, sports journalist, and a fan. It is this rich foundation of experience and passion that runs throughout his work both in his role as a professor in the classroom and as the editor of La Vida Baseball, a digital media company in partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame that features the contributions and history of Latino players in baseball.

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Originally published: October 16, 2017. Last Updated: October 16, 2017.