Baseball games gather families, neighbors, and friends to foster support networks and community ties. Hometown team traditions have been particularly strong in areas with large Latino communities.
The experiences of Major League Baseball star Anthony Rendon and broadcaster Jessica Mendoza resonate as stories of sacrifice and success. Their families and communities supported them along their paths. Though different, Rendon and Mendoza demonstrate what it means to be hometown heroes.
Players and journalists build connections between baseball in the barrios and the big leagues, and between Latino players and fans. These barrier-breakers embody the passion and history that connects Latinas/os and America’s game.
Anthony Rendon’s story is one to which many aspiring athletes can relate. Born to a Mexican American, mixed-race family of modest means in Houston, Texas, Rendon honed his talents over many years. He is one of many Latino hometown heroes who inspire the next generation.
In August 2015 Mendoza, from Camarillo, California, became the first woman to serve as commentator for Major League Baseball on ESPN. Later that year she became the first woman in MLB history to call a post-season game. From Clemente to Alvarado to Mendoza, Latinas/os are part of critical changes to the sport and often endured discrimination as they served as icons for others.