Terry: Latino impact on baseball in America is ‘major league’

From Mike Terry at the San Fernando Valley Sun on September 19, 2013, with mention of SABR member Anthony Salazar:

Take a look around Major League Baseball in the USA today and what do you see? An international game of diversity, with players from every hue of the human rainbow.

Of the 856 players on the 2013 Opening Day 25-man rosters and inactive lists (750 active and 106 disabled or restricted major league players), 241 – representing 15 countries and territories – were born outside the USA. That percentage, 28.2, is the fourth highest of all-time since the game began tracking such data in 1995, according to MLB officials. That’s not even counting those players born in the USA whose surnames suggest they came from somewhere else.

And there’s never been a better time to be a Latino ballplayer. “We are currently in the golden age of the Latino impact in organized baseball,” notes Anthony Salazar, a Latino baseball historian and member of the Society For American Baseball Research. “We have nearly a third of all major league ballplayers being of Latin descent.

And nearly half of all minor league players are of Latin descent.”

Salazar is not the only person unsurprised by what is happening.

“If you take a look at All- Star rosters, the majority of both sides were peppered with Latinos,” said Tomas Benitez, a Dodgers blogger and a cofounder of the Latino Baseball History Project of the Baseball Reliquary.

“And it’s not just players from Mexico. The islands – Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic – have been critical…when Mexicans came over here from the 1910 Revolution, they didn’t come over playing soccer. They were playing baseball. Soccer was a club sport. Baseball had a whole subculture of leagues, teams, and parks for years before soccer had the same kind of infrastructure.”

Read the full article here: http://www.sanfernandosun.com/sanfernsun/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9805

Originally published: September 19, 2013. Last Updated: September 19, 2013.