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Confronting Barriers - Politics and Business


Barriers imposed by governments, as well as those dictated by baseball's business interests, have often determined the opportunities available to the Latin ballplayer coming to the U.S.

Until 2007, a changing number of visas restricted how many foreign-born athletes could play pro ball in the U.S. Even filling out the application in an unfamiliar language was a barrier to many.

Two years after the 1959 Communist revolution in Cuba, Fidel Castro abolished professional baseball and prohibited his countrymen from participating in foreign leagues. Cuban players had to choose between either their country and family or their career.

Two years after defecting from Cuba, Liván Hernández realized a dream in this jersey, leading the Florida Marlins to a World Series title and earning Series MVP honors in 1997.

Orlando Hernández (Liván's half-brother), the dominant Cuban pitcher for a decade and a 1992 Olympic gold medal winner, defected in 1997. In 2000, he started Game Three of the World Series for the Yankees wearing these spikes.

Scoresheet and baseball from a 1999 Havana exhibition game, one of two unprecedented matches between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban national team, featuring Omar Linares