"We All Know Where We Came From": 2021 White Sox Carry on History of Latino BaseballBreaking News
tags: baseball, Chicago, Latino/a history, White Sox
Scan the Chicago White Sox lineup on any given day over the past two seasons, and it looks like Latin America. There are Cuban players at catcher, first base, third and center field. Since late July, a Venezuelan has been handling second base. A Dominican patrols left field, and other Dominicans have served as the designated hitter at various points.
Regularly, seven of the nine hitters in the White Sox lineup were born in that region of the world. And when Tim Anderson, the team’s All-Star shortstop, has been injured or resting, the number has reached eight, with Leury Garcia, another Dominican, filling his spot.
“That’s something you don’t see much of in the United States,” center fielder Luis Robert, a Cuban, said in Spanish recently.
In terms of numbers (28 percent) and talent (Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Juan Soto), Latinos form a vibrant and important backbone to Major League Baseball. Perhaps no team knows that better than the White Sox, who have a rich tradition of Cuban players and play on the South Side of Chicago, a community with large Black and Latino populations.
The White Sox, one of the original American League franchises, have long fostered Latino talent, specifically from Cuba. In the 1950s, the Cuban outfielder Minnie Minoso became a hugely popular All-Star. He was the major leagues’ first Black player out of Latin America and a treasured figure in White Sox history. A few cameos allowed his career with the team to stretch into five decades.
Minoso’s legacy has been carried on through the years, from Jose Contreras to Orlando Hernandez to Alexei Ramirez to Abreu to Moncada to Robert, many of whom endured harrowing defections to come to the United States to chase their dreams. On Aug. 1, 2020, the White Sox became the first team in major league history to have a Cuban-born player occupy the top four spots in a lineup: Robert, Moncada, Abreu and Grandal.
“You look at our roster, and it’s obviously undeniable about the Cuban presence, much less the Latin presence on it,” General Manager Rick Hahn said. “As cliché as it might seem, the environment that this team has had the last couple years is one where guys are just free to be themselves and express their personality.”
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