Mexican American Baseball in the South Bay
Mexican American Baseball in the South Bay brings to light the memorable players, coaches, teams, batboys, team moms, sportswriters, scouts, umpires, and others who have dignified the hallowed ballfields inside this renowned region located in the southwest corner of Los Angeles County. The South Bay contains fifteen cities plus incorporated parts of the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles. South Bay’s name stems from its geographic location stretching along the southern shore of Santa Monica Bay. This publication highlights the legacy of Mexican American baseball and softball within these communities: Catalina Island, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Torrance, Wilmington, Terminal Island, Gardena, Compton, Inglewood, Harbor City, Long Beach, and Lawndale. Additional chapters include softball and baseball at California State University at Dominquez Hills, and in nearby Orange County. Since the early 20th century, softball and baseball diamonds have cultivated generations of players from little league to high school to college, and into the professional ranks. More than a game, Mexican American baseball and softball are political instruments and analytical prisms to better comprehend community history: the struggles for social, educational, and economical equality; the untold contributions of women; the critical roles and countless influences of documented and undocumented peoples; the various community organizations promoting political self-determination and workers rights; military and home front sacrifices; the hard-fought battles against devastating redevelopment and gentrification, the tireless efforts for comparable access to recreational facilities, and an unmatched love for sports. In their own unyielding ways, softball and baseball met head-on unbending discrimination and the reactionary forces of xenophobia with their unbroken spirits for human rights on the field and in the streets. These breathtaking photographs and heartfelt stories shed unparallel light to the elongated and elaborate history of ball in the South Bay, challenging its often-neglected historical narrative and other racial stereotypes. The amazing study of Mexican American baseball and softball in any particular geographical region must be linked to other like-minded community, regional, state, and national networks. A magnifying glass approach unmistakably reveals that softball and baseball facilitated Mexican communities to crisscross city limits, county borders and state boundaries. This remarkable book on the South Bay connects its unique history to five of our previous books on Mexican American baseball and softball in Orange County, the Westside of Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, and Los Angeles, its geographical neighbors. Thus, local grass-roots baseball and softball games unequivocally led to cross-town marriages, military friendships, and workplace comradeships, eventually developing into extensive family networks, political and labor associations, unifying and empowering countless Spanish-speaking neighborhoods from coast to coast. ¡Que Viva El Béisbol y Sófbol!