Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of those of us who came here from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Baseball is once again a great way to celebrate!
The Latin love affair with baseball is some 150 years old and still going strong. Followed, played and celebrated year-round in the Caribbean, baseball is so woven into local culture that it is as much Latin as it is American.
Latino ballplayers bring passion, excellence, and what Cuban ballplayer Octavio "Cookie" Rojas called "a special hunger" to the game, energizing and enriching our shared Inter-National Pastime.
Cuban shortstop Willy Miranda (left) showing his national flag to his New York Yankees teammate Phil Rizzuto in 1953 (Osvaldo Salas/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
Every September 17 is celebrated as Roberto Clemente Day around the baseball world.
His storied name is synonymous with moral excellence, compassion and charitable work.
Whether it was in his adopted home of Pittsburgh, his native soil Puerto Rico or even the largest country in Central America, Nicaragua, the fans and followers have never forgotten this selfless living soul. Our memories are not only of a proud ballplayer who had an extraordinary career but also about the character and courage of a human being affectionately called “The Great One,” Roberto Clemente Walker.
Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates, approaches the plate at Wrigley Field in Chicago, August 21, 1963 - BL-4369-2000 (Don Sparks/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
Internationally acclaimed Cuban photojournalist Osvaldo Salas captured the new faces of major league baseball in the decade following integration. His photographs celebrate the influx of Latin and African-American players into the game after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Serving as a photographer for influential Spanish-language newspapers and magazines in New York, Cuba, and other Latin American countries, Salas responded to the demand of Latino audiences for images of the era’s new big league stars. Salas’s portraits depict pioneering players of the 1950s and their teammates against the backdrop of New York City’s three big league ballparks.