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Confronting Barriers - Scouts and Academies


By the 1940s, the majors could no longer ignore the Caribbean. Risking little money, teams could draw from a vast pool of Latin players. Prospective pros agreed to nearly anything to get their shot at the big time, later leading to cries of Latin exploitation.

In 1935, the Washington Senators made Joe Cambria the first team scout to cover Latin America. By 1960, Cambria had signed more than 400 ballplayers to pro contracts from Cuba alone, including All-Stars Luis Tiant Jr. and Mike Cuellar.

A 1945 Sporting News cartoon featuring Joe Cambria, both a scout and minor league team owner

Minnesota Twins souvenir pennants celebrating Cubans Tony Oliva and Zoilo Versalles (the first Latin MVP), two of the last players signed by "Papa" Joe Cambria