Early Hispanic All-Stars
John Thorn

Mr. Thorn, I read your blog every day for over a year now. Even when you don’t have a new post I am reading every post you have made on this blog starting with the oldest and am now up to the middle of August 2012. I am an Italian New Yorker and the son of imigrants. My father’s heart was broken when the Dodger’s left Brooklyn and was a Mets fan from the day they came to Queens. He was a Catholic seminarian when he went to the first game ever at Shae and was a priest proud of his defending World’s Series champs. In a Mets household, I grew up a Yankee fan during a decade and half that was very difficult so be so. You see, I love history and the Yankees had a rich one. My dad took us to the Hall of Fame every year, including Tom Seaver’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. My Dominican girlfriend (like me, a former ballplayer) and I went to Piazza’s last year and will be attending this month as well. I consider the work you do, and SABRE, in general, to be a treasure. I must point out, however, an issue I have with a comment in this particular post. I understand it is a stretch, if not outright incorrect, to consider the two Anglo named players as Latin simply because they came from the Caribbean, as of course, not all of the Caribbean is Latin. However, you claimed that most egregious of all was the Italian player being considered Latin. I would presume a historian to know that Italians are the only people who are truly indigenously Latin as Latin culture’s birthplace and most influential proliferation was on the Italian peninsula. I understand that USA governmental organizations have labeled “Latino” as a Spanish language-based culture in this hemisphere, but that is, frankly, an ignorant categorization, as Latin, or Latino is not a synonym for Spanish. There must be reason why most of this hemisphere was not called Spanish America, but Latin America and I assume it was because yes, most of it was conquered by the Spanish, but Brazil was occupied by the Portugeuse and half the people in Argentina are Italian, with Italian explorers and admirals leading many of these peoples over here. Therefor, though they are not all Spanish, they were all Latin. Whenever it was during the last decades of our current era in which the government decided to categorize Latino/a as being necessarily Spanish, Latino/a had already been an Italian word for, oh I don’t know, perhaps a thousand years or so. So if you are describing that All Star Game in 1963 at the Polo Grounds as a Latin All Star game, it is quite correct to include Italians. If the intention is to consider it an All Star Game with players originating Specifically from Latin America, then yes including an Italian could be considered a stretch, though I doubt including Argentine players who are probably of Italian decent would be considered one. It is not incorrect to call Latin Americans Latino, though it is somewhat of a misnomer. It would be more correct to call them Ibero, as what we are really getting at is the classification of people who come from a specifically ibero-normative culture.

My comment certainly veers from the topic of baseball, but I hold you as historian in high regard and I thank you for your work which provides me with much joy.

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