Museum to Debut Osvaldo Salas Exhibition May 23

Photographic Collection of Award-Winning Cuban Photographer Includes Latin American Stars of the 1950s

April 21, 2014
This image of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente is just one of 50 images featured in the new Salas Exhibit. (NBHOF Library)

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) Osvaldo Salas is known for his striking photographs of the revolutionary days in Cuba in the late 1950s. But earlier that decade, Salas documented another revolution – this one in the sporting world as Latin American players began to break barriers throughout America’s National Pastime. 

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will present a new exhibit of Salas’ baseball photographs for 12 months starting in May. Osvaldo Salas’ American Baseball Photographs will officially debut on Friday, May 23 on the Museum’s third floor and will feature 50 examples of Salas’ baseball portraits, the greatest number ever presented to the public. 

Born in 1914, Salas served as a photographer for influential Spanish-language newspapers and magazines in New York City and throughout Latin America. Following Jackie Robinson’s debut in the big leagues, dark-skinned Latin American players like Minnie Minoso, Sandy Amoros, Vic Power and Roberto Clemente received the chance to play at the game’s highest level – an opportunity that was denied many Latin American players prior to 1947. Salas responded to the demand of audiences for images of the new Latin American stars of the 1950s. 

Today, more than one quarter of all big league players are of Latin American descent. 

Thanks to a generous donation by Rick Swig, almost 900 of Salas’ negatives are now a part of the more than 250,000 images in the permanent photographic collection at the Museum. Photographs in the Osvaldo Salas exhibition include images of Latin American heroes such as Hall of Famers Luis Aparicio and Roberto Clemente and pioneers like Yo-Yo Davalillo, Connie Marrero, Vic Power and Ozzie Virgil Sr. 

Photographed against the backdrop of the stadiums of the three big league teams in New York City at the time – the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees – the exhibition also features African-American stars like Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby and Monte Irvin as well as legends like Gil Hodges, Sal Maglie and Phil Rizzuto. 

The Osvaldo Salas exhibition will be on display through May of 2015 and is included with Museum admission. For more information, please visit www.baseballhall.org.