"Adrian Burgos is one of best young historians currently working the baseball beat. This is essential reading, not just for baseball aficionados, but anyone interested in the history of American race and ethnic relations."Jules Tygiel, author of Extra Bases: Reflections on Jackie Robinson, Race, and Baseball History
"Playing America's Game is a terrific addition to the growing literature in Latino history. It is the most comprehensive and nuanced treatment of Latinos and professional baseball."Vicki L.Ruiz, author of From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America
In recent years, a series of top-notch books (e.g., Alan M. Klein's Baseball on the Border: A Tale of Two Laredos) has greatly added to our knowledge of Latin American baseball. Now Burgos (history, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) offers his own encyclopedic treatment of Latinos and baseball, covering the topic from the late 19th century to the present. Burgos presents the story of players like Vincent Nava, baseball's "first brownplayer," who endured racial insensitivity and outright "racist taunts," and Louis Castro, the first Latino to play in the major leagues in the 20th century. He also points to darker-skinned stars, such as Jose Mendez and Cristóbal Torriente, who were prohibited from playing organized baseball. Gradually and inconsistently, a smattering of Latinos made it to the big leagues, but even the collapse of the Jim Crow barrier failed to prevent players like Vic Powers and Roberto Clemente from enduring racial prejudice. Nevertheless, by the 1980s, Major League Baseball was increasingly internationalized and now includes many Latinos. Burgos's coverage of this important baseball story is recommended for general readers.