The Demanding Dozens PT. TWO UPDATE

By Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 10, 2011

OAKLAND, CA—The new 1070 Arizona Immigration Law was enforced last year Thursday, July 29, 2010. Many of the articles in the bill have been challenge in court so the battle will continue.

Latino baseball players might think twice about their careers in the game. Many teams have headquarters for their minor league clubs in the state of Arizona.

This could have been a turning point for Major League Baseball and a chance to make a stand. Baseball did nothing but promote the Tuesday night game.

Latin players have been a major influence on baseball the past 30 years. But they’ve had problems breaking Major League’s color lines in managing a professional team, just as their African American and Asian American brothers.

Latin players face the same humiliations that their minority brothers faced in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Segregation does not distinguish between languages just people of darker hue.

The Latino players have a long history in baseball from Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, of the Pittsburgh Pirates whose number 21 should be retired. Along with other Latin stars such as Minnie Minoso, who played with many teams, breaking the record for pinch hitting appearances in 2000.

Minoso played four decades and became the oldest player in the league and started the second wave of Latino players to America.

Other great Latin players that have helped to change the game were Hall of Famer Rod Carew, Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Bernie Williams.

Not to mention the great Latin pitchers like Luis Tiant, Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, and the new sensation Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies.

Without these players baseball would not be the game it is today.

There is a big stumbling block that most Latino players playing in America face — command of the English language. Latino managers have to face prejudice because many American baseball executives misconceive these talented players and coaches as being Black not Latino.

Many baseball owners and general managers think that Latinos cannot direct American players because of the perceived languages barrier this is often never the case.

Here is a brief list of 2nd half of Latino managers in MLB history.

Cito Gaston (Blue Jays)

Ceto Gasten

Ceto Gasten

Before Joe Torre, Gaston was the last manager to win back to back world championships (1992-93). Gaston is the first and only Latino-African American to ever achieve this feat. He’s also taken the Blue Jays to five divisional titles — the most of any Latino-African American manager. He returned to the game three years ago after a nine year absence to revive the struggling franchise. His quiet manner never rattles players. He always looks for the best in every player and the Blue Jays really needs that this year as one of the four contending teams in American League East.

Jerry Manuel

Manuel previously took the Chicago White Sox to the playoffs in 2000. His nickname is “The Sage”. He got his start with the coaching jobs in Montreal and Florida before landing with the White Sox. He has an overall winning record, but has not won a postseason game with the New York Mets. He would have been the first Latino to lead two teams into the playoffs if the Mets win the National League East. Manuel had a short seven year professional career with the Tigers, Expos, and Padres. The storm swirled around him in Flushing Meadows about the way he received the job at Citi Field, taking the place of Willie Randolph.

Luis Pujols

This former major league catcher briefly managed the Detroit Tigers on an interim basis in 2002 with the help of Felipe Alou. He is more known as the cousin to St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols. Luis had a very short baseball career with the Astros, Royals, and Rangers. During that season, the Tigers somehow batted out of order in a game costing Detroit a contest. Pujols would follow Alou to San Francisco as first base coach. His managing career ended with a 55-100 record. He is currently managing the Class AA Corpus Christi Hooks in the Astros’ organization.

Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie Guillen

Clearly the best of the current Latino managers, the former big league shortstop has been the White Sox boss since 2004 (succeeding Jerry Manuel). The major’s first manager from Venezuela he would win a World Series in 2005. The colorful Guillen won Rookie of the Year in 1985 and was the AL Manager of the Year in 2005. Ozzie never holds his tongue and the players love and respect that. He is a workaholic and will stay after the game many nights. Guillen has followed in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Luis Aparico as a standout shortstop in the White Sox organization.

Manny Acta

The current manager of the Cleveland Indians, he previously managed the Washington Nationals. A native of the Dominican Republic, Acta never played a major league game but toiled in the Houston Astros farm system as a first basemen and outfielder. He sharpened his managing skills under the leadership of Frank Robinson in Canada. Acta was fired in a very strange way. ESPN reported that he was let go by the Nationals. The team denied the story. However later that week, Washington would release Acta after 0-5 start.

Juan Samuel

The three-time All-Star was the interim manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Samuel played for seven teams (Phillies, Mets, Dodgers, Royals, Reds, Tigers, and Blue Jays) in his 16-year career at second base and in the outfield. The Sporting News’ National League Rookie of the Year in 1984, he was inducted into the Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame at Citizens Bank Park in 2008. Samuel’s first managing job came in the Mets organization in 2006 with the Class AA Binghamton Mets.

Edwin Rodriguez Taking over for Fredi Gonzalez last season in Florida, the former major leaguer became the first Puerto Rican to manage in the majors. A former New York Yankee and San Diego Padre, Rodriguez had been managing the Florida Marlins’ Class AAA affiliate in New Orleans.

Rodriguez resigned from the Marlins this year after the Florida team posted a 32-39 record, in last place in the National League East Division. He was replaced by 80 year old Jack McKeon Tony LaRussa

Tony La Russa

Tony La Russa

LaRussa became the sixth manager to win a World Series in both leagues with The Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals. He is third on the all time wins list with over 2,600 victories. LaRussa was a catcher for the Kansas City/Oakland A’s, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs. He was manager of the year in both leagues. Lastly he will be forever linked to the Steroid era with the bulking up of the Bash Brothers Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire

Fredi Gonzalez

Gonzalez continues the trend of catchers being mangers in the majors as he toiled in the New York Yankee farm system as a catcher before leaving to coach the Miami Miracle of the Florida State League. He would move into the Florida Marlins organization in 1992 before acquiring a major league position in 1999 as a third base coach.

Gonzalez would become manager in 2007 with the Florida Marlins. In 2009 the Marlins decided to move in another direction and let Gonzalez go hiring Edwin Rodriguez.

On year later Fredi landed on his feet in Atlanta with the Braves. He would replace the Hall of Fame Manager Bobby Cox who retired.

Next: Latino stars of the past and the future.


Copyrighted 2011@ Gary Norris Gray- Gray Leopard Prod.