The BASEBALL RELIQUARY Inc.
A collaborative effort between the
Baseball Reliquary and the John F. Kennedy
Memorial Library at California State University
Los Angeles, Mexican-American Baseball in Los
Angeles: From the Barrios to the Big Leagues
is a unique and comprehensive humanities-based
endeavor. The project will document and
interpret the historic role that baseball has
played as a cohesive element and as a social and
cultural force within the Mexican-American
communities of Los Angeles County. Although the
primary focus will be on Los Angeles County,
Mexican-American baseball as played in the Los
Angeles metropolitan area (comprising Orange,
Ventura, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties)
will also be included. While the impact of Major
League Baseball in the region will be covered
(the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels
of Anaheim, the contentious and ideological
battle over Chavez Ravine, and the phenomenon of
“Fernandomania”), particular emphasis will be
placed on the once-flourishing culture of
amateur and semi-professional baseball as an
important means for celebrating ethnic identity
and instilling community pride. The project,
which will be developed through extensive
networking with community-based grassroots
historical organizations, has the potential to
be a prototype for other urban communities to
utilize baseball as a subject for humanities
scholarship, especially as it relates to
understanding and interpreting local history.
1) EXHIBITIONS – A major exhibition, to be presented at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library on the campus of California State University Los Angeles from March 26-June 9, 2006, will include photographs, artifacts, artworks, and bilingual signage to document and interpret the social and ethnic ramifications of baseball within the Mexican-American communities of Los Angeles County. Following the CSULA exhibition, the displays will travel to various public and academic libraries throughout Southern California from 2006-2008.
2) ORAL HISTORIES – As former residents of the Mexican-American communities disperse geographically or pass away, personal memories and histories of their communities disappear with them. A sense of urgency, therefore, accompanies the research and documentation of these communities, as important primary sources are lost each year. Oral histories will be a major interpretive tool for this project and will provide much of the core material for the exhibitions. Oral histories were recently conducted by California State University Los Angeles students, under the guidance and supervision of Professor Francisco Balderrama. Dr. Balderrama designed a course based on this project for the Fall Quarter 2005, which was organized as a ten-week reading/discussion seminar with a sustained exercise in oral history.
3) ARCHIVES – The oral histories generated by this project, and all accompanying documentation, will provide a significant resource for the general public, students, and researchers. All materials will be permanently archived in the Special Collections of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library. To assure their viable use by future generations, audio and video recordings for the oral histories will utilize digital formats.
|Among those attending the April 9, 2005 reception at California State University Los Angeles which formally announced details of the project Mexican-American Baseball in Los Angeles: From the Barrios to the Big Leagues were, from left to right: Douglas Monroy; Gabriel (Tito) Avila, Jr.; Tomas J. Benitez; Cesar Caballero; Bobby Castillo, guest speaker and former Los Angeles Dodgers/Minnesota Twins pitcher; Ramon Carrillo de Albornoz, Office of the Consul General of Mexico, Los Angeles; Richard Santillan; Francisco E. Balderrama; and Terry Cannon. Photo courtesy of Mark Langill.|