For many Mexican Americans living in the Pomona Valley, youth baseball and softball leagues are integral to their family histories. Through late September, their photos will be on display in the University Library.
From the 1930s to the 1970s, both Mexican American men and women played in baseball and softball leagues from Azusa to San Bernardino. The photos, accompanied by captions written by family members or the players themselves, tell a story of overcoming the struggles of social stigma and segregation.
“We wanted to focus on people who played in the community,” says Richard Santillan, professor emeritus of ethnic & women’s studies. “Baseball was a very important component of the Mexican American community. It’s really important for us to honor these players.”
Santillan and other community members culled photos for the exhibit, which will be part of an upcoming book. “Mexican American Baseball in the Pomona Valley,” co-authored by Santillan, will be released Sept. 1.
The ethnic and women’s studies department and the Cesar Chavez Center for Higher Education at Cal Poly Pomona, along with the Latino Baseball History Project at Cal State San Bernardino, hosted a panel discussion and luncheon earlier this month to honor the players.
The exhibit will be on display until Sept. 22, in the southeast corner of the library’s third floor.