About the Project
"A collaborative effort between the Baseball Reliquary and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library at California State University Los Angeles, Mexican-American Baseball in Los Angeles: From the Barrios to the Big Leagues is a unique and comprehensive humanities-based endeavor. The project will document and interpret the historic role that baseball has played as a cohesive element and as a social and cultural force within the Mexican-American communities of Los Angeles County. Although the primary focus will be on Los Angeles County, Mexican-American baseball as played in the Los Angeles metropolitan area (comprising Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties) will also be included. While the impact of Major League Baseball in the region will be covered (the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the contentious and ideological battle over Chavez Ravine, and the phenomenon of “Fernandomania”), particular emphasis will be placed on the once-flourishing culture of amateur and semi-professional baseball as an important means for celebrating ethnic identity and instilling community pride. The project, which will be developed through extensive networking with community-based grassroots historical organizations, has the potential to be a prototype for other urban communities to utilize baseball as a subject for humanities scholarship, especially as it relates to understanding and interpreting local history.
"As an organization dedicated to exploring baseball’s relationship to American culture from the grassroots up, the Baseball Reliquary is uniquely suited to planning and implementing such a project. It has had a successful history of partnering and collaborating with libraries, schools, and community centers to bring its exhibitions and programs into diverse communities. The Reliquary has assembled an advisory committee of distinguished humanities scholars and community leaders, whose experience and expertise will prove invaluable in the development of the project.
"In order to explore, present, and preserve community history and memory, Mexican-American Baseball in Los Angeles: From the Barrios to the Big Leagues will feature three primary components:
- EXHIBITIONS – A major exhibition, to be presented at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library on the campus of California State University Los Angeles from March 26-June 9, 2006, will include photographs, artifacts, artworks, and bilingual signage to document and interpret the social and ethnic ramifications of baseball within the Mexican-American communities of Los Angeles County. Following the CSULA exhibition, the displays will travel to various public and academic libraries throughout Southern California from 2006-2008.
- ORAL HISTORIES – As former residents of the Mexican-American communities disperse geographically or pass away, personal memories and histories of their communities disappear with them. A sense of urgency, therefore, accompanies the research and documentation of these communities, as important primary sources are lost each year. Oral histories will be a major interpretive tool for this project and will provide much of the core material for the exhibitions. Oral histories were recently conducted by California State University Los Angeles students, under the guidance and supervision of Professor Francisco Balderrama. Dr. Balderrama designed a course based on this project for the Fall Quarter 2005, which was organized as a ten-week reading/discussion seminar with a sustained exercise in oral history.
- ARCHIVES – The oral histories generated by this project, and all accompanying documentation, will provide a significant resource for the general public, students, and researchers. All materials will be permanently archived in the Special Collections of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library. To assure their viable use by future generations, audio and video recordings for the oral histories will utilize digital formats."
Note: The above narrative is taken verbatim from the Baseball Reliquary Website.