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Latinos in U.S Sport


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    Latinos in U.S. Sport: A History of Isolation, Cultural Identity, and Acceptance is the first comprehensive exploration of Latino culture and its relationship to sport in what is now the United States. Spanning a period of 500 years from the 16th century to the present and discussing a wide range of Latino communities, regions, and sports, Latinos in U.S. Sport offers an accessible examination of the Latino sporting experience in the United States by covering topics ranging from cultural issues to economics.

    Using newspaper accounts and primary sources as well as dissertations and scholarly articles from history, education, sport business, and other disciplines, the authors provide a thorough and enlightening account of this population’s role in U.S. sport history. The text details the experiences of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, and others as it chronicles the community, school-based, and professional influences of Latinos within a variety of sports and sport contexts. The authors discuss the evolution of sport, games, and physical activity. They also examine the shifting perceptions both within and outside of the Latino community and the outcomes of these changes.

    The timeline within the text gives readers a visual presentation of the key events and figures in this culture’s history. The book highlights Latino athletes and teams who overcame great odds to succeed at the local, high school, collegiate, and professional levels and details the early participation of such individuals in international athletic competitions, such as the Olympics and Pan-American Games. In addition to examining well-known figures such as Nancy López, Chi Chi Rodríguez, Pancho González, and Roberto Clemente, special Unknown Heroes sidebars introduce readers to many lesser-known but influential athletes and coaches.

    Latinos in U.S. Sport begins by detailing the games and diversions particular to the Spanish conquistadors, various Native American groups, and the integrated culture of the mestizo, and it traces the ways in which American influence moved into these regions. Moving ahead to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the text describes how European Americans used baseball as part of their attempt to bring "civilization" to the areas of the Caribbean and the Southwest. The text also discusses how the success of Cubans and other Latin Americans within Major League and Negro League Baseball helped to challenge the perception of Spanish speakers among the broader U.S. population. The final section of the book discusses the increasing presence of Latinos in all fields of sport competition, their growing presence in management and ownership of sport franchises, and their increasing economic power as consumers of athletic events.

    Latinos in U.S. Sport presents a long-overdue look at the history of Latino participation in multiple facets of American sport and provides a balanced and more complete history of the contribution of Spanish-speaking people to the history of U.S. sport. The text aims to generate discussion and inspire further recognition of the influence of Latinos in the U.S. sport world.


    Text for graduate and undergraduate courses in sport history, cultural and ethnic studies, sociology of sport, and ethnic sociology courses. A reference for sport and social historians as well as academic, high school, and public libraries.

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. Games of Spaniards, Pre-Columbians, and the Peoples of New Spain, 1500-1821
    Los Españoles (the Spaniards) and Sports
    Sports, Games, and Entertainment Activities of Pre-Columbian Peoples
    Games and Sports in New Spain, 1521-1821

    Chapter 2. Games Mexicans Played, 1821-1880s
    19th-Century Borderlands
    Games and Sports in Mexico’s Far North, 1821-1848
    Games and Sports in the U.S. Southwest, 1848-1880s
    Into the Modern Sports Era

    Chapter 3. Getting in the Game: Latino-Style American Sport, 1880s-1930
    Athletic Ability of Latinos
    Baseball Craze
    Rise of American Football
    Marginal Sport Claiming Its Place in Barrio Life
    Dribble Diversion
    Boxing Ring as a Place for Creating Tough Hombres
    Other Sports

    Chapter 4. Sports and Community Life in the Great Depression and World War II, 1930-1950
    Athletic Abilities of Latinos: Beginning of a More Realistic Assessment?
    Lots of Energy to Play Ball
    Pride and Identification Through Soccer
    Basketball in the Barrios and in Big Tournaments
    Boxing and Community
    Track and Field: An Athletic Challenge
    Burgeoning Latino Presence in Golf
    Early Years of Latino Tennis

    Chapter 5. Expanding Opportunities From High Schools to the National Stage, 1950-1965
    Key Historical Trend
    Golf’s Presence in the Barrio
    Horse Racing

    Chapter 6. Latinos and Sport During an Era of Social Activism: 1965-1980
    Activism and Stardom on the Baseball Diamond
    Hoops and Ethnic Pride During the Chicano Era
    Soccer and Recreational Independence
    Boxing as an Outlet for Teenage Frustration
    Does Playing Golf Make One Less Latino?

    Chapter 7. Becoming Part of the Mainstream as Consumers, Performers, and Leaders, 1980-2010
    Four Illustrative Stories
    Key Themes
    Burgeoning Presence on the Baseball Diamond and the Front Office
    Spanish Surnames More Common on the Gridiron
    Basketball at the Heart of the Barrio and Beyond
    Latinos and Latinas as Part of the Tennis Boom
    Soccer (Fútbol): Cultural Spaces in Unlikely Places
    Continuing Latinization of the Boxing Ring
    Latinos as Consumers
    Other Sports

    About the Author

    Jorge Iber, PhD, is associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of history at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Over the past decade, Iber has specialized in the history of U.S. sport, with particular focus on the history of Mexican American athletes in Texas. He has published and edited several books and written articles on Latinos and sport for journals such as International Journal of the History of Sport, Journal of the West, and Southwestern Historical Quarterly. Iber also served as guest editor of an issue of International Journal of the History of Sport that focused on the topic of Latinos in U.S. sport history. He is a member of the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) and other professional historical organizations.

    Iber and his wife, Raquel, reside in Lubbock, Texas.

    Samuel O. Regalado, PhD, is a professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock, California. He instigated the study of Latino participation in United States sports with his book Viva Baseball!: Latin Major Leaguers and Their Special Hunger, and he coedited the anthology Mexican Americans and Sports: A Reader on Athletics and Barrio Life. Regalado also authored articles on ethnicity and sport in several journals and was a 1994 Smithsonian fellow. His documentary film appearances include the award-winning Roberto Clemente, which aired on the PBS American Experience series. His current manuscript looks at the history of Japanese American baseball and their community.

    Regalado lives in Turlock, California.

    José M. Alamillo, PhD, is an associate professor and coordinator of the Chicana/o studies program at California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, California. He teaches courses on Chicana/o-Latina/o studies, labor and immigration, and race and gender relations in U.S. sport. Alamillo has written Making Lemonade out of Lemons: Mexican American Labor and Leisure in a California Town, 1900-1960. His current book project is Playing Across Borders: The Rise of Transnational Sports in Greater Mexico. Alamillo is faculty advisor to the Latino Baseball History Project and the Studio for Southern California History.

    Alamillo resides with his wife, Leilani, and three kids in Newbury Park, California, where he enjoys playing tennis.

    Arnoldo De León, PhD, is a professor in the department of history at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. De León specializes in the study of Mexican American history and has authored numerous scholarly works on this subject. In 1988, De León was awarded an endowed professorship in history from Angelo State University. He was awarded the title of fellow of the Texas State Historical Association in 1987.

    De León lives in San Angelo, Texas, with his wife, Dolores.