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Photo Gallery: Latinos in Baseball

Players in major league history

  • Photo by: Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

    Baseball, a Cuban passion

    En español | An exchange student named Nemesio Guillo brought his passion for the game of baseball, a bat and a ball back from the United States to Cuba in 1864. Four years later, the struggle against Spanish settlers in Cuba during the Ten Years War (1868–1878) compelled some Cubans to move to Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela, taking the new-found game of baseball with them.

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  • Photo by: AP

    Adolfo Luque (1890 - 1957)

    Known for his cantankerous personality and his curveball, Adolfo “Dolf” Luque played in the major leagues from 1914 - 1935, notably 12 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before finishing his career with the New York Giants, during a time when many Cubans with darker skin were relegated to the Negro leagues. After he retired from the pitching mound with a 194-179 record, Luque coached the New York Giants for seven seasons. He entered the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1967.

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  • Photo by: Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

    Martín Dihigo (1905 - 1971)

    Cuban-born Martin Dihigo is considered by many experts to be the best baseball player in history who never played for the major leagues. He could play every position on the team and sometimes he played several different positions during the same game. Dihigo spent much of his career playing for the New York Cubans and as a pitcher won 256 games for them. He returned to Cuba at the end of his career to be the Minister of Sports in Cuba until his death in 1971.

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  • Photo by: Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

    Jackie Robinson (1919 - 1972)

    During the winter months, many American players would travel to the Caribbean to play winter ball, including Jackie Robinson, shown here signing autographs during a game in Havana, Cuba, in 1947. Just weeks after this photograph was taken, Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, making it possible for other Latino and African American players to play in the major leagues.

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  • Photo by: AP

    Minnie Miñoso (1922-2015)

    A left fielder and seven-time all-star, Minnie Miñoso (middle) was as beloved as basketball legend Michael Jordan in Chicago, where he became the first black player to sport the White Sox uniform. Here he is flanked by shortstop Chico Carrasquel (left) of Venezuela and pitcher Luis Aloma, a fellow Cuban, in 1951.

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  • Photo by: Joe Munroe/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Orlando Cepeda (b. 1937)

    Also a seven-time all-star, Orlando Cepeda of Puerto Rico led the league in home runs and RBIs in 1961. His professional success, however, did not prevent the managers of the San Francisco Giants from prohibiting the Spanish language in the dugout or a problematic relationship with manager Alvin Dark. When Cepeda had the chance, he moved to St. Louis, where he helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 1968.

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  • Photo by: AP

    Vic Power (1927 - 2005)

    Also from Puerto Rico, Vic Power struggled to make it into the major leagues despite his obvious talents. Finally picked by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1954, Power revolutionized the first base role by catching the balls with one gloved hand. Here, playing for the Kansas City Royals, he tags Ted Williams in 1957. Power went on to win seven Golden Glove awards during his career.

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  • Photo by: Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

    Roberto Clemente (1934 - 1972)

    For 18 years Roberto Clemente of Puerto Rico played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in right field and slowly he amazed the American public. He was the first Latino to play as a starter in the World Series in 1960. He won the National League MVP Award in 1966 and he won a World Series MVP Award in 1971. In 1972, he achieved a record 3000th hit several months before he died tragically in a plane crash as he traveled to bring emergency supplies for the victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake. Clemente entered the Baseball Hall of Fame posthumously in 1973.

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  • Photo by: Lennox McLendon/AP

    Rod Carew (b. 1945)

    At age 14, Rod Carew emigrated from Panama to play baseball in America. He played second base for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels from 1967-1985, appearing on both the covers ofTime and Sports Illustrated  in July 1977 when he was declared “Baseball’s Best Hitter” as he pursued Ted Williams’s .400 batting average. He came tantalizingly close to achieving his goal, but in the process earned his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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  • Photo by: Neal Preston/Corbis

    Fernando Valenzuela (b. 1960)

    In the spring of 1982, a 20-year-old Mexican pitcher named Fernando Valenzuela riveted Los Angeles Dodgers fans with his 7-0 record as a starting pitcher, giving up only two runs. As attendance grew at the stadiums to watch the new phenom, Dodgers catcher Mike Sciosca took a cue from the crowds and Valenzuela: He began to learn Spanish.

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  • Photo by: Bettmann/Corbis

    Juan Marichal (b. 1937)

    Juan Marichal was the first Dominican-born player to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame, in 1983. Pitching primarily for the San Francisco Giants, he amassed a 243-142 record over 16 years despite his unorthodox pitching manner of a high kick during delivery. Known as the “Dominican Dandy,” Marichal was named to nine all-star teams.

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  • Photo by: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Reggie Jackson (b. 1946)

    Born to an African American father and a Latino mother, Reggie Jackson excelled at football before joining the minor leagues in 1966. Jackson went on to play 21 seasons in the major leagues, mainly for the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees, earning the nickname “Mr. October” for his ability to hit home runs during the World Series. Jackson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

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  • Photo by: Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

    The Latin Kings

    In 2005, photographer Walter Iooss gathered some of baseball’s best Latino players in both leagues during the All-Star Game, to memorialize the energy and the expertise they bring to today’s baseball game for Sports Illustrated. From left to right, Manny Ramirez, Melvin Mora, Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, Miguel Tejada and Vladimir Guerrero.

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  • Photo by: E.J. Camp/Outline/Corbis

    Albert Pujols (b. 1980)

    Chosen by ESPN.com as the best player of the decade 2000-2009, Dominican-born Pujols plays first base for the St. Louis Cardinals. Besides helping the Cardinals win the World Series in 2006, Pujols has won the National League MVP  three times, the National League Hank Aaron Award twice, and he has been selected nine times for the all-star team.

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  • Photo by: Al Bello/Getty Images

    World Baseball Classic

    Created by Major League Baseball and the International Baseball Federation, the World Baseball Classic tournament invites professional baseball players from around the world to play for their home country’s team. While Latin countries such as Cuba and Puerto Rico continue to excel, other nations such as Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands and New Zealand are continuing to improve. Twenty-eight teams will compete in 2013.

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  • Photo by: Reuters/Corbis

    Ozzie Guillen (b. 1964)

    Venezuelan-born Ozzie Guillen is the first Latino baseball manager in history to win the World Series. As a player, Guillen played shortstop for the Chicago White Sox (the team he later led to victory in 2005 as its manager) and three other major league teams during a 15-year career, before moving into management.

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  • Photo by: Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos

    Baseball, a Venezuelan passion

    Venezuela remains a hotbed of baseball talent since the first game was played in 1895. For baseball aficionados and tourists alike, connoisseurs highly recommend attending a Caracas–Magallanes baseball game at Estadio Universitario in Caracas. According to Milton Jamail, a baseball historian, it is “part World Cup soccer, part seventh game of the World Series, yet it is a semi-regular event.”

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