Jorge Pasquel took Mexican League to new heights in 1946
By Max Miller
Jorge Pasquel was one of five wealthy brothers who inherited the fortune of their father, a shipping magnate. The brothers reportedly built their fortune up to $60 million by acting in effect as customs control for Mexico.
As the most visible representative of the family's interests in the Mexican League, Pasquel achieved his highest profile in 1946 when, determined to strengthen the Mexican League to compete as a third major league, he attempted a raid on American and National League players. Around a dozen players were ultimately lured south by Pasquel's lavish offers, including Sal Maglie of the Giants, Mickey Owen of the Dodgers, and Max Lanier from the St. Louis Cardinals. Others were less impressed – Pasquel reportedly left Red Sox star Ted Williams a signed, blank check. He also allegedly offered pitcher Bob Feller $500,000 for a five-year contract. Neither player took the bait to jump to the Mexican League.
Major League Baseball took Pasquel as a serious threat, and commissioner Happy Chandler decreed that any player jumping his major league contract to head south would be banned from the big leagues for five years. This stance ultimately softened until all players who did take Pasquel’s offers were eventually let back in.
Ultimately, Pasquel was unsuccessful in luring enough talent south to make the Mexican League competitive, and the league was left essentially bankrupt by the end of the 1940s. The Pasquel period did underline and influence two important themes in Major League Baseball history, though: The nature of labor relations between ownership and players, and the segregation of baseball, as the Mexican League was a completely integrated league.
Pasquel, who at one point owned all the teams in the Mexican League, left the league in 1948 and tended to other business interests until his death in a plane crash in March, 1955.
Max Miller was the 2012 library-photo archives intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development.
For information on how to apply for the Class of 2013 Steele Internship Program, click here