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<< Back to Home is Everything: The Latino Baseball Story

Home is Everything: The Latino Baseball Story

Orlando Cepeda

This is our story, the story of Latinos in major league baseball, a story that is brought to life in the photographs of Josť Luis Villegas and the words of Marcos Breton. Iíve known Josť for a decade. He and his colleague Marcos Breton came to me in 1993 with the idea of publishing a book on the Latino history, our history, my history, in baseball. I was skeptical. I didnít think it could be done. It had never been done. At least not well.

For much of my life, I had been an outsider in this game I love, as had many Latinos in the big leagues. We were misunderstood, our stories were overlooked, our contributions werenít appreciated. We were only beloved in our own homes, in our countries. How could Josť Luis convey that in his work?

How?

Through his compassion as a human being and his brilliance as a photographer. Josť captures how much we love this game, how much it means to us, how we begin playing it from the time we are children and how it is so much a part of our lives.

Latinos have been in the big leagues since 1902. Forty-five of us played before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. My own father, though he was a better player than me, was barred from the big leagues in the 1940s because he was black. I carried his hurt with me into the big leagues in 1958. I fought against the racism my people experienced in this game.

And I always spoke of how we, Latinos in baseball, deserved to be recognized for what we brought to the game.

At one time I thought that would never happen. But now Iíve changed my mind. In 1999, I was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, joining other greats from Latin America, such as Roberto Clemente, Luis Aparicio, Juan Marichal and Rod Carew. For me, my induction was a blessed event, and the final rite of acceptance into this country that I now call home.

How beautiful that this book comes along now, in this time of opportunity for Latino ballplayers. My young brothers from Latin America are now so much a part of this game. They have achieved levels of fame I could never imagine. I feel proud of their achievements and proud of my contribution. And Iím proud of this book. Itís our story, itís my story. Itís the story of our home.

God bless Josť and Marcos, God bless baseball and God bless all of the Americas.

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