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; discusses lesser-known historical standouts, including Adolfo Luque and Martin Dihigo; and describes the days when only light-skinned Latinos wereallowed to participate in Major League competition as well as the linguistic barrier many Latinos faced when playing on teams with "English only" rules.
Featuring interviews with Latino superstars past and present; 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, 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.
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Tim Wendel is an award-winning journalist and the author of Castro's Curveball, a novel about baseball in Cuba. Wendel is one of the founders of USA Today Baseball Weekly, where he served as an editor and writer. He teaches at Johns Hopkins University and lives, in Vienna, Virginia.From Publishers Weekly:
Wendel's story of the Latino experience in baseball is a faithful and functional roundup of player mini-bios and factoids. With a foreword by Costas, the book's got the black-and-white down, but one wishes for more color: Wendel, a founder of USA Today Baseball Weekly, gets his subjects' on-field accomplishments, but could have dug deeper to explore their experiences as people, not mere athletes. Such episodes as Pirate Roberto Clemente's insistence that people call him by his given name and not "Bob," as on his baseball card, and his speaking Spanish during a national television interview following the Pirates' World Series win in 1971 are inspired glimpses into the player's psyche and excellent examples of the strides Latinos have made in the game over the last century. However, while the 1998 home-run duel between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire is an intriguing swatch of baseball lore, the reader only partially gets a sense of where the Dominican-reared Sosa's unique enthusiasm for the game comes from. Similarly, an excerpt about miscreant slugger Jose Canseco reveals little more than even a casual baseball fan would have read in the tabloids. At times, Wendel is guilty of suspending objectivity in praising his subjects: in detailing the infamous incident of superstar second baseman Roberto Alomar spitting in an umpire's face, the ballplayer becomes the victim, and fans who still remember "the unfortunate situation" are seen as the transgressors.
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