“Mexican American Baseball in the South Bay,” published in April 2022 by Cal State San Bernardino’s John M. Pfau Library’s Latino Baseball History Project, won two gold medals for Best Sport/Recreation Book and Best Non-Fiction, Multi-Author, at the 24th annual International Latino Book Awards.
The book awards program was held on Aug. 20 at Los Angeles City College.
“We’re honored the book received this wonderful recognition,” said Richard A. Santillan, professor emeritus of ethnic and women’s studies at Cal Poly Pomona, who, along with retired reporter Ron Gonzales, a San Pedro native, edited the 457-page book.
“It is important that a more inclusive story of Southern California baseball and softball history be told, one that represents a tapestry of voices and experiences. To that end, the Latino Baseball History Project is such a valuable initiative,” Santillan added.
“This pioneering publication,” reads the book’s introduction, “provides a greater comprehensive depiction and wealthier narrative of the outsize and regular community life to parallel the incredible number of Mexican American baseball and softball tales in the South Bay over one hundred years.”
Covering Catalina Island, Wilmington, Long Beach, Terminal Island, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Compton, Inglewood, Gardena, Harbor City, Lawndale, Torrance, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and Orange County, “Mexican American Baseball in the South Bay” is the latest book the Latino Baseball History Project has produced since 2011, when its first work, “Mexican American Baseball in Los Angeles,” was published.
All editors and coauthors are volunteers, and all proceeds from book sales go directly to the Latino Baseball History Project. To date, the books include nearly 6,000 photos and stories from nearly 25 states dating back to the late 1860s. The project is currently working on its 19th book, “Mexican American Baseball in Boyle Heights,” scheduled for release in December 2023.
The books are currently on public display as part of a groundbreaking exhibit at Dodger Stadium that deservedly highlights the rich and profound history of Mexican American baseball and softball teams in Los Angeles, throughout Southern California, around the country, and Mexico.
The awe-inspiring exhibit, built into four original Dodger player lockers, is located in the Stadium Club area and includes historical photos, hats, autographed bats and balls, gloves, jerseys, trophies, and other vintage baseball artifacts. It will run through February 2023.
“Having these materials displayed at such a storied venue like Dodger Stadium is a great opportunity for us to showcase our collections here at CSUSB, making it more visible to a much broader audience,” said Eric Milenkiewicz, university archivist at CSUSB. “It also allows us to share the history of Mexican American baseball in Southern California with the current generation of Los Angeles baseball fans who may not be aware of its lasting impact on the game in our region.”