In those days not too many Puerto Ricans used to come here to play ball. Roberto came in '55. So, when they asked my father if I wanted to come here for the try out, I said, "Yes." I was 17 years old. So, my father said to me, my mother said, "Go." [Sound of hands clapping.] But, my dad said, "You sure you want to go there being black?" I said, "I want to go." So, coming here to the States it was a huge change.
I remember when they told me, "You're going to sit in the back of the bus." I said, "What's this?" But, I told my mom, "I'm going to go. I'm not coming back."
"For you to go somewhere, you have to learn how to deal with hardships, with obstacles there. So, that was in the back of my mind.
You'll find a couple, three people, the red necks, you know, they don't like Latins, they don't like you speaking Spanish, they don't like that. You know, from, for a couple months I didn't speak Spanish with anybody. Only some Cuban guy came looking for me. So, I don't speak at all. I don't say anything, nothing.
But, the best way to learn English, is just go on the field and listen and talk, you know, and do it. So, I wasn't afraid, to learn but we have to learn because, my first year in '55, for 3 months I only ate apple pie and chili con carne, that's all I knew how to get. But, then I switched to ham fried rice. So, I said, "Well, I have to get better."