Confronting Barriers - Culture and Language

Rejecting the many cultural barriers of the U.S., legendary star Héctor Espino played his entire career in his native Mexico, except for 32 games with Jacksonville (Fla.) in 1964. For almost 25 years he was the premier slugger in Mexican pro ball, finishing with 763 home runs upon his 1984 retirement.

Jersey worn by Héctor Espino as coach for the Hermosillo Naranjeros (Orange Growers), 1995

In a 1964 Sport magazine article, Felipe Alou called for a "Latin-American Ballplayers' Bill of Rights." A native of the Dominican Republic, Alou understood well the tribulations faced by Latin ballplayers in the United States: the language barrier, the specter of poverty at home, racism, America's insensitivity to other cultures, and Major League Baseball's restrictive rules regarding the playing of winter ball in the Caribbean.