South of the Color Barrier

How Jorge Pasquel and the Mexican League Pushed Baseball Toward Racial Integration


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About the Book

This book tells the story of how Mexican multimillionaire businessman Jorge Pasquel and the Mexican League hastened the integration of major league baseball. During the decade that preceded Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier, almost 150 players from the Negro League played in Mexico, most of them recruited by Pasquel.

About the Author(s)

John Virtue is director of the International Media Center at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. He lives in Miami Beach.

Bibliographic Details

John Virtue
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3293-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Monte Irvin      1

Preface      5

Introduction      7

1. Not a Stereotypical Mexican      15

2. Baseballs and Bullets      23

3. Blacks Are Barred from Baseball      30

4. Cuba’s Baseball Pioneers      37

5. Negro Leaguers Face Discrimination      43

6. Cracks in the Color Barrier      48

7. A Dictator Raids the Negro Leagues      56

8. Satchel Paige Heads South      60

9. Negro Leaguers Are Courted      69

10. Pasquel Forms Team, Wins Title      74

11. Red Carpet for Black Players      86

12. Negro Leagues React to the Mexican Threat      94

13. World War II      100

14. Majors Lose Fans, Negro Leagues Gain      110

15. Latino Major Leaguers Jump      115

16. The Pressure to Integrate Baseball      120

17. Pasquel Raids the Majors      125

18. Pasquel Courts White Stars      130

19. Stephens Bolts, Owen Stays      135

20. Name-Calling      141

21. Fisticuffs on the Field      148

22. The Reserve Clause Is Challenged      155

23. Black Versus White      162

24. Robinson Integrates Organized Baseball      169

25. Mexican Leaguers Go to the Majors      177

26. The Mexican League Faces a Crisis      183

27. The Commissioner Lifts the Ban       188

28. Pasquel Quits Baseball      193

Epilogue      200

Appendix: Known Negro League Players in Mexico, 1937–1946      205

Chapter Notes      207

Bibliography      217

Index      223

Book Reviews & Awards

“John Virtue has more in mind than baseball. He sets the story of [Jorge] Pasquel’s work as a promoter, businessman, hustler, and champion of equal rights against the background of the historical relationship between Pasquel’s native land and the colossus to the north, a relationship that Porfirio Diaz, for 35 years the president of Mexico, once summarized by opining ‘Poor Mexico. We are so far away from God and so close to the United States.’”—Boston Sunday Globe; “engaging and inspiring story”—La Prensa del Beisbol Latino.