“However, for women of color playing baseball, their journey took a vaguely paralleled path.”
This article tells the story of the women who entered professional baseball at a time when female/Latino athletes were not respected in the ways they are today. They were able to capitalize on the introduction of the AAGPBL which brought more funding and attention to women’s sports, which led to the demand for more talent. It was not a storybook career for all of the Cuban women who joined the league with many of them only playing in a few exhibitions or for only a singular season.
“Though the thought of these women in the league defying all racial, cultural and social norms of mid-20th century United States is refreshing, there were a handful of imminent issues facing these Latina women in the league.”
The Latina women who joined the AAGPBL have surprisingly positive things to say about their treatment during their time in the States. At a time when racial tension was high and no people of color were allowed to set foot on the MLB diamond, it is nice to hear positive stories from players such as Ysora Castillo who in an interview tells of the team bus rides in which everyone got along and laughed for hours. However, communication was an issue for many of the players whose lack of English speaking ability hindered their performance on the field. This issue was not as serious when teams had two or more Spanish speakers on them however when a non-English speaking player was isolated on the team it made things much more difficult. The example highlighted in the article is that of Isabella Alvarez who following her trade to the Fort Wayne Daisies, struggled with the language barrier which she had previously navigated with the help of her Spanish-speaking teammates on the Chicago Colleens. This struggle almost led her to quit the league, however, she was persistent and returned the following season.
“From the perspective of Latina ballplayers, the league must be viewed as a tremendous success.”
The female baseball players of the AAGPBL opened the door to millions of female athletes in the decades to come. However, without the participation of the Latina players, it is unlikely that the process would have been as clean. The players broke several commonly held stereotypes of the 1920s and helped disprove the belief that America’s Pass time could only function through the participation of American players. The league also brought attention to the talent that is produced from countries outside the United States, something which has only become a more prevalent part of the scouting and development of young talent. The league and these women gave baseball some of its first moments of integration and unity.