Another noteworthy factor was America's need for Mexican labor, which eventually led to immigrants taking up the pastime. With the development of leagues involving Mexicans in California, the sport became more widely accepted in other states.
More specifically, Los Tecolotes, a Mexican baseball team situated in both Texas and Mexico, set the standard for other Hispanic teams and leagues. With an essential figure such as Vincent Nava and Mexicans responding to the need for labor, baseball was able to flourish amongst the Hispanic culture in both the United States and in Mexico. Vincent Nava, often praised as the greatest catcher of his time to be developed locally, was considered to be the pioneer of a wave of Mexicans playing baseball in California.
This point is made in Joel S. Frank's book, Whose Baseball? A mestizo in appearance, Nava was of Mexican decent, but often confused to be of a Cuban or African American background. As a result of such resemblance, he had to go to great lengths to avoid Jim Crow.
The Jim Crow laws barred African Americans from access to employment and to public places such as restaurants, hotels, and other facilities. To avoid this, Vincent Nava, once known as Sandy Irwin, acquired his mother's maiden name and moved east to play baseball.
Originally a backup catcher, his position became known as merely a fill-in player to pitchers and infielders that needed it.
With his patience and work ethic, he emerged as on of the better catchers in a league filled with Anglo-Americans. In , "The Chronicle" declared "that as a catcher he was one of the best belonging to any of the clubs composing the league and that his equal would be hard to find" Franks, This was the inspiration that many other Mexican Americans of his time needed to prove they could make it in a time run by whites, let alone a predominantly Caucasian baseball league.
Franks beautifully states how Nava made a difference in the California baseball system when he says, "The emergence of "Nava" among the ranks of California's top ball players suggests the growing plebian, culturally diverse nature of the game in the Golden State" Franks, Such emergence created the sense of motivation for future Mexican Americans to no longer look at baseball as an Anglo-exclusive pastime.
Another key factor in the establishment of Mexicans in baseball was the growing need for labor in America and the groups that consequently formed. As a result of the Anti-Asian movement, which barred certain Asians from immigrating to the United States, the need for "cheap" labor drove employers to look to Mexico. The new availability of work led to mass migrations into California and other parts of the country. A perfect example of this is shown in the rising population of Mexicans in Los Angeles.
Ten years later, there were 11, Mexican-born Angelenos and, in , around 30," Franks, While perceived as inferior to the native-born, white population, Hispanics were praised as a solution to California's labor problem. Baseball comes into play with such labor communities as a solution to cultural and societal issues. Important purposes the sport served were to deflect younger members of their communities from widely frowned upon and illegal pastimes and to show the ancestries had a sense of morality.
Also, a significant factor was that Mexican Americans felt as a part of their reform that they had to adjust to the new world they lived in.
Baseball "discouraged the growth of cultural practices and institutions which [immigrants] had to surrender if they were to adapt to the modern world" Franks, This societal need for baseball led to the surfacing of an informal Mexican league that consisted of labor groups and village teams. In , the Los Angeles Times covered an indoor baseball game at a local recreation between a Mexican team and a team of Anglo Americans, which was the first of its kind.
Although the "white" team won , it paved the way for an expansion of Mexican baseball leagues all over California, including clubs situated in the Bay Area and Sacramento. Eventually, Hispanic leagues and teams became more accepted throughout other states. A considerable example of how acceptance of the involvement of Mexicans in baseball changed can be seen through the Tecolotes baseball team. The Tecolotes, or Owls, more commonly known by the abbreviated nickname, "Tecos," were one of the league's charter franchises.
The team was originally named "La Junta Federales de Mejoras Materiales" because the it was headed by a group of Army generals, but by , they were known to institute the first night games, which is when they appropriately acquired the name, the Owls. Soon gamblers got involved. The NLA allowed gambling but the ALA banned it because the players thought baseball was for entertainment purposes only.
In the NLA gambling got out of hand. The players got involved with the gambling, and would purposely throw a game. That happened more than once.
When the NLA tried to ban gambling in the league became very unstable. Managers were trying to quit, and the players wanted to play in a fair game, not a game that was lost on purpose. In the early days of baseball Charles Comiskey pioneered many fundamentals of the game.
He had the players back-up each other's throws, and catch the ball with two hands. In the early years, first basemen played in foul territory. He had the first baseman play on the left side of the foul line so that if the ball was hit his way he could get to the ball, and make the play. Charles was a "playing manager" for the Washington Blue Caps.
He played pitcher, and developed the pitching style called, "The Stretch. Another pioneering player was Denton True Young. Most people know him as Cy Young. The Cy is short for cyclone. He got that nickname because of his unique pitching style. Because of Cy's great ability to pitch there is a pitching award named after him. The award is called the "Cy Young Award. In the National Association finally became stable. The gambling had for the most part stopped, and teams were willing to play again.
In catcher's face masks and shin guards were invented. A person could buy a face mask for six dollars, and shin guards for seven dollars. During a game in , an outfielder bruised his palms on a fly ball he caught. He left the game but returned two innings later with a pair of soft leather gloves. He played the rest of his career with those gloves. Everyone thought he was a wimp, but soon everyone had a pair of the gloves. Although baseball has changed a lot, many things have stayed the same, such as simple fundamentals.
I think most professional baseball players don't know much about baseball's past. If they took the time to read about it they'd probably really enjoy it.
I learned a lot about baseball's history while researching this report. I thought baseball had always been around, and that all the rules had been the same. I thought the same teams had been around since the beginning, but they have not. Things have changed, from the uniform style, to the type of wood the bat is made of, to the type of yarn used in the balls. I chose to write about baseball's beginnings because baseball is my favorite sport.
I learned a lot about who did what, and when they did it. I am glad I chose baseball, because I learned a lot about baseball's history in America. Grosset and Dunlap, Free essays on Research Papers posted on this site were donated by anonymous users and are provided for informational use only.
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