Cuban Star: How One Negro League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball

Adrian Burgos Jr.. Hill and Wang, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8090-9479-0
In his first book, Playing America's Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line, Burgos celebrated the role Latinos played in the development of professional baseball. Here he continues that theme in this highly readable in-depth account of one of the key Latino figures in baseball's early years: Alex Pompez (1890–1974), who overcame an early role in the Harlem numbers racket to become "the most successful force in the incorporation of Latino talent" in U.S. baseball history. Burgos expertly details Pompez's career over seven decades, including his troubled youth in Cuba during the 1900s; his move to the U.S. and his creation in 1923 of the wildly popular Cuban Stars team of the Eastern Colored League; and his role beginning in 1950 as a scout with the New York Giants in the "dismantling of baseball's color line" which not only helped the early careers of future legends Willie Mays and Willie McCovey but also aided such "talented Afro-Latino players" as Orlando Cepeda and Felipe Alou. Burgos definitively shows how Pompez helped create a "Dominican pipeline" of players that "laid the groundwork for what would become the major leagues' most significant source of foreign-born talent by the end of the twentieth century." (May)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-6134-9
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-8090-3720-9
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