New website celebrates the legacy and impact of Latinos in baseball

Felix Hernandez is one of several Latino baseball players to be featured at ‘La Vida Baseball.’ (Getty Images)
Felix Hernandez is one of several Latino baseball players to be featured at ‘La Vida Baseball.’ (Getty Images)

There’s a new website that all baseball fans need to check out. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s focused on celebrating the history and spotlighting the impact Latinos have had on baseball, while working to engage current baseball fans from all over the world.

It’s an interesting concept. One that also seems to be long overdue. As many have noted already, the majority of those that cover baseball in North America do not speak Spanish. In that regard, there’s some degree of disconnect between player and writer, which makes it more difficult to share stories on a broader level.

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La Vida Baseball hopes to bridge that gap, share those stories and much more, as writer Adrian Burgos noted in his opening address.

The history of Latinos and baseball dates back to the mid-1860s, when a wave of Cuban students arrived in the United States and later returned to their island with bats, balls and gloves in tow. In 1866, Cuban native Esteban Enrique “Steve” Bellán was a pioneering player, appearing first on the varsity team of St. John’s College (now Fordham University) and then making history as the first Latin American big-leaguer with the Troy Haymakers in 1871.

Today, the Latino presence in baseball is significant. Over a quarter of MLB players come from Latin America; another significant number with Latino ancestry are born in the U.S. At La Vida Baseball, we will do much more than cite historical facts and numbers. We will tell stories about the culture of Latinos and baseball with passion, style and spirit. We will talk about how we see Yoenis Céspedes, Yasiel Puig, Francisco Lindor and Javier Báez as connected not only to the recently retired Latino stars Pedro Martínez, David “Big Papi” Ortiz, Mariano Rivera and Álex Rodríguez, but also to legends like Luque, Miñoso, Clemente, Cepeda, Marichal and Felipe Alou, among so many others.

The site will be produced in conjunction with the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The initial set up focuses on four major subjects:

Who’s Now: A focus on current Latino players.

Who’s Next: This will give fans a look at the best Latino prospects working their way through all levels of baseball.

Our Life: A deeper look at player’s lives off-the-field stuff, which includes stories on their personal journies to professional baseball in the United States and other aspects of their life.

Our Legends: A look at those who paved the way and helped establish the history of Latino players in baseball.

There are already several great stories shared on the site. Given the commitment already shown in creating the site and the commitment expressed to continue sharing stories and celebrating the history of Latinos in baseball, it should grow quickly and become a destination for fans of all ages and ethnicities.

We highly encourage you to check it out.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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