For decades, Americans have been fascinated by the complexity and rich history of baseball. No other sport has captivated so many fans. The New Face of Baseball explores a different chapter in baseball's chronicles, one often ignored but remarkably influential. Into the tapestry of baseball history, Tim Wendel weaves the stories of its Latino athletes -- who they are and how they helped transform the sport into what it is today.
Going as far back as the mid-nineteenth century, to the early days of Cuban baseball, Wendel traces the spread of American baseball fever in the Caribbean and Mexico, and discusses lesser-known historical standouts, including Adolfo Luque, the first Hispanic to play in the World Series (in 1923), and Martin Dihigo, a black Cuban whom many baseball insiders consider the greatest ballplayer of all time.
Wendel masterfully describes the days when only light-skinned Latinos were allowed to participate in Major League competition, much like their inspirational African American counterparts, and the linguistic barrier Latinos were confronted with when playing on teams with "English-only" rules inside their dugouts.
Featuring material on Roberto Clemente, Fernando Valenzuela, and Sammy Sosa, as well as interviews with Latino superstars past and present -- such as Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Alfonso Soriano, and the Hernandez brothers -- The New Face of Baseball helps fans of America's favorite pastime to understand the history of those who bring hope and honor every season to the teams they have given their lives to, and the Hispanic culture that, if allowed, can lie hidden and unnoticed under a team jersey.
With a foreword by Bob Costas, the first-ever-published Latino All-Century Team featuring players selected by Omar Minaya, and photos taken by award-winning Sports Illustrated photographer Victor Baldizon, this important book is sure to make as much of a splash a the Latino players themselves -- the new faces of baseball.