A Revised All-Samoan Lineup


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Isiah Kiner-Falefa with the Frisco RoughRiders in 2017. Photo by Th3TruthPhotos via Wikipedia.

Recently, a kind reader identified another player of Samoan descent for my “All-Samoan Lineup” that I put together a little over a year ago. The latest member of the lineup: Isiah Kiner-Falefa, infielder and catcher with the Texas Rangers.

Kiner-Falefa was born on March 23, 1995, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2013 draft and started his professional career that year with the Arizona League Rangers. In 2014, he played for the Arizona Rangers, the Spokane Indians, and the Hickory Crawdads. He started the following year with the Crawdads before being promoted to the High Desert Mavericks. He was promoted again in 2016 to the Frisco RoughRiders, where he also played in 2017. In 2018, he was assigned to the triple-A Round Rock Express and made his MLB debut on April 10, 2018. In 2019, Kiner-Falefa spent time with the Rangers, the Nashville Sounds, and the Frisco Rough Riders.

The other Samoan players are/were:

  • Tony Solaita – (1/15/1947 – 2/10/1990), 1B; the first (and only) baseball player from American Samoa
  • Benny Agbayani, LF
  • Matt Tuiasosopo, 3B, OF, and 1B
  • Chris Aguila, OF
  • Mike Fetters, Pitcher
  • Wes Littleton, Pitcher
  • Sean Manaea, Pitcher

Hopefully, there will be more players to add in the future! Let me know if you know of any more!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month


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Chan Ho Park with the New York Yankees in

As we near the close of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I thought I’d do some quick research on the first player to make it to the Major Leagues from Asian countries (see table below). While players from some countries – like Japan and China – made it to the majors decades ago, other nations have been represented only recently.

In the 1990s, we welcomed players from South Korea (Chan Ho Park, left, was the first), Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines. Today, however, Asian-born players make up a small proportion of all major leaguers. Currently, MLB has only one player born in Hong Kong (Austin Brice), nine from Japan, six from South Korea, and five from Taiwan).

This is obvious a topic deserving of in-depth research, so, stay tuned!

~ baseballrebecca

Country First MLB Player Debut Year Team Years Played Notes
 China Harry Kingman 1914 New York Yankees 1914
 Indonesia Tom Mastny 2006 Cleveland Indians 2006-08 Grew up in Indiana; played for the Yokohama BayStars in 2009
 Japan Masanori Murakami 1964 San Franciscon Giants 1954-65 Also played for Nankai Hawks (1963, 1966-74); Hanshin Tigers (1975); Nippon-Ham Fighters (1976-82)
 Philippines Bobby Chouinard 1996 Oakland Athletics 1998-2001 Played high school baseball in Oregon
 Singapore Robin Jennings 1996 Chicago Cubs 1996-97, 1999, 2001
South Korea Chan Ho Park 1994 Los Angeles Dodgers 1994-2010 Also played for the Orix Bufaloes and Hanwha Eagles in the Korean Baseball League
 Taiwan Chin-Feng Chen 2002 Los Angeles Dodgers 2002-2005 Also played for the Lamigo Monkeys in the Chinese Baseball League (2006-16)
 Vietnam Danny Graves 1996 Cleveland Indians 1996-2006 His father is American and his mother Vietnamese
Kingdom of Hawaii Johnnie Williams 1914 Detroit Tigers 1914

2019 Heritage Nights at the Ballpark, Part 2


17991985_10210450229270161_7373124005593779385_nLast week I posted the first half of the my annual celebrations of our many national, ethnic, and religious heritages. I’ve posted the second half below. So get out there and celebrate your heritage and the heritage of your friends and neighbors!

~ baseballrebecca

African American Heritage Celebrations and Negro Leagues Tributes

Date Team Details
16-Apr Nationals Jackie Robinson and Black Heritage Day
1-Jun Pirates Heritage Night/Negro Leagues Uniforms
7-Jun Brewers Negro Leagues Tribute Game
19-Jun Cardinals African American Heritage Night
19-Jun Dodgers African American Heritage Night
20-Jun A’s African American Heritage Night
23-Jun Royals Salute to the Negro Leagues Day
28-Jun Reds African American Community Night
23-Jul Giants African American Heritage Night
10-Aug Tigers 100th Anniversary Detroit Stars Replica Jersey

 

Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Celebrations

8-Apr Giants Chinese Heritage Night
21-Apr Marlins Japanese Heritage Celebration
21-May Giants Filipino Heritage Night 1
24-May Giants Japanese Heritage Night
21-Jun Dodgers Filipino Night
23-Jun Mariners Japanese Heritage Day
19-Jul Giants Polynesian Heritage Night
Jul-19 Dodgers Japan Night
26-Jul A’s Pacific Islander Heritage Night
29-Jul Padres Japanese Community Night
1-Aug Dodgers Korea Night
2-Aug Dodgers Hawaiian Night
6-Aug Mariners Korean Heritage Night
10-Aug Padres Filipino Heritage Night
15-Aug Rangers Hawaiian Heritage Night
16-Aug A’s Korean Heritage Night
20-Aug A’s Chinese Heritage Night
23-Aug Mariners Filipino Heritage Night
7-Sep Padres Pacific Islander Heritage Night

 

Native American Heritage Celebrations

Date Team Details
14-May Giants Native American Heritage Night
1-Jun D’backs Native American Recognition Day
30-Jul A’s Native American Heritage Night
12-Sep Mariners Salute to Native American Night

 

Heritage Celebrations for Other Folks

Date Team Details
29-May Phillies Greek Heritage Night
31-May A’s Greek Heritage Night
11-Jun Giants Portuguese Heritage Night
18-Jun Padres Scottish Heritage Night
24-Jun Red Sox Catholic Night
26-Jul Padres Catholic Night
27-Jul A’s Portuguese Heritage Night
6-Aug Tigers Arab American Night
10-Aug Tigers Armenian Tigers Fan Night
15-Aug A’s Indian Heritage Night
27-Aug Padres Portuguese Heritage Night
14-Sep Nationals Taste of the World International Food Festival
27-Sep Giants Greek Heritage Night

 

 

 

2019 Heritage Nights at the Ballpark, Part 1


Image result for internationalAs a Baseball Sociologist, some of my favorite ballpark promotions are heritage nights. Even if you aren’t from a particular community, you can still celebrate with your neighbors, learn something about their heritage, watch some cool dances or presentations, and eat food you don’t normally get to taste.

This year, the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants are doing the most heritage nights – 14 each.  The Padres and Marlins are right behind them with 11 and 10, respectively. In addition, the Marlins introduced “Comunidad 305” this year. They have a dedicated area in the ballpark where they “celebrate culture every game.” According to their website: “No matter where you are from, you are part of what makes Miami great. We are fusing our pride for our Heritage, our city, our diversity and our team to represent every night. Musical instruments, flags and more will be welcomed and encouraged.”

However, 19 teams – that’s NINETEEN teams – have two or fewer heritage days scheduled. At least from my count. Granted, sometimes it’s hard to find where they have the list on their websites. But then again, if it’s not advertised that well, does it really count?

Below are the first groupings I’m posting: Jewish Heritage Nights, Irish/Italian/German/ Polish Heritage Nights, and Latin American Heritage Nights. I decided to group Irish, Italian, German, and Polish heritage nights together because they are European heritage groups that are frequently celebrated at the ballpark. I chose these three groupings simply because they have celebration nights this coming up this weekend. Finally, I’ve included past dates just so you can see if you’re team or group were celebrated and when.

Keep in mind that several of these events include a giveaway item with a special ticket – so be sure to check the team websites for more information. Next week I’ll post additional heritage nights, so stay tuned!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 Jewish Heritage Celebrations

Date Team Details
19-May Tigers Jewish Heritage Day
19-May Marlins Jewish Heritage Celebration
28-May Reds Jewish Community Night
13-Jun Red Sox Jewish Pride Night
22-Jul Mariners Jewish Community Night
21-Aug A’s Jewish Heritage Night
26-Aug Phillies Jewish Heritage Celebration
27-Aug Giants Jewish Heritage Night
15-Sep Nationals Jewish Community Day
20-Sep Tigers Jewish Heritage Night

 

Irish/Italian/German/Polish Heritage Celebrations

Date Team Details
11-Apr Giants Irish Heritage Night
17-May Tigers Polish American Night
8-Jun Padres Irish Heritage Night
12-Jun Phillies Irish Heritage Night
13-Jun White Sox Polish Heritage Night
14-Jun Marlins Italian Heritage Celebration
20-Jun Mariners Italian Heritage Night
16-Jul Phillies Italian Heritage Night
25-Jul Mariners Irish Heritage Night
3-Aug A’s Italian Heritage Night
9-Aug Padres Italian Heritage Night
15-Aug Reds Irish Community Night
27-Aug Tigers Italian Heritage Night
30-Aug Giants Italian Heritage Night
14-Sep Nationals Oktoberfest
17-Sep A’s Irish Heritage Night
20-Sep Orioles O’stoberfest
21-Sep Reds German Community Night
24-Sep Giants Oktoberfest
28-Sep Mariners Oktoberfest

 

Latin American Heritage Celebrations

Date Team Details
20-Apr Marlins Puerto Rican Heritage Celebration
8-May Dodgers Mexican Heritage Night
17-May Marlins Cuban Heritage Celebration
11-Jun White Sox Greek Heritage Night
15-Jun Marlins Nicaraguan Heritage Celebration
21-Jun Royals Viva Los Reales
30-Jun Marlins Venezuelan Heritage Celebration
12-Jul Marlins Colombian Heritage Celebration
24-Aug Marlins Dominican Heritage Celebration
6-Sep White Sox Hispanic Heritage Night
7-Sep Marlins Mexican Heritage Celebration
8-Sep A’s Latinx Heritage Day
12-Sep Phillies German Heritage Celebration
13-Sep Giants Fiesta Gigantes Night
14-Sep D’backs Hispanic Heritage Day
15-Sep Cardinals Fiesta Cardenales
15-Sep Cubs Hispanic Heritage Night
15-Sep Mariners Salute to Latin American Beisbol Day
16-Sep A’s Mexican Heritage Night
16-Sep Brewers Hispanic Heritage Night
20-Sep Dodgers Dia de Los Dodgers
20-Sep Padres Hispanic Heritage Weekend
21-Sep Astros Hispanic Heritage Street Festival
21-Sep Astros Hispanic Heritage Street Festival
21-Sep Padres Hispanic Heritage Weekend
22-Sep Padres Hispanic Heritage Weekend
26-Sep Nationals Roberto Clemente and Hispanic Heritage Day

 

 

 

Stat-urday, 3/31/2018


Yesterday, MLB Communications tweeted stats on players born outside the United States. Foreign-born players made up 29% of the players on MLB Opening Day Rosters, including one player from Lithuania, one from South Africa, and 219 from Latin America.

~ baseballrebecca

Desegregating Baseball


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Orlando Cepeda in 1962. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

I stumbled across this documentary yesterday as it made its debut on the television channel TV One. “A Long Way From Home: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation” tells the story of minority players in the major leagues with the backdrop of a still segregated society. Players highlighted include: James “Mudcat” Grant, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Pérez, Jimmy Wynn, Grover “Deacon” Jones, J.R. Richard, Enos Cabell, Octavio “Cookie” Rojas, Orlando Peña, and Bobby Tolan.

The documentary highlights the everyday struggles of black and Latino players – from being asked to leave a restaurant the white players were welcome at, to being told they had to speak English, to having to play through injury. This is definitely must-see TV! Check out the preview below.

~ baseballrebecca

MLB Pride


pride_hat_960x720_8ch1e7qa_ey9bhue6June is LGBT Pride Month and this year more MLB teams are recognizing LGBT communities with Pride Nights. Eleven teams are hosting Pride or LGBT nights during the month of June, and 5 other teams have already held or plan to hold similar events. That’s 16 teams total, three more than I reported last year and the year before.  (Oh – and just in case there’s no presidential proclamation this year regarding LGBT Pride Month, you can see all the previous proclamations at the Library of Congress website, and the archived site for the Obama Administration.)

However, as I stated previously, MLB clubs don’t always advertise their Pride Nights very well. Most teams bury the information on Pride Nights (and other special ticket events) under “Theme Nights” rather than putting them on their promotional schedules. Others make no mention at all of LGBT events, instead relying on local organizations to sponsor and advertise the events. For example, I had no idea that Tigers, Rockies, Mets, or Cubs had any special events until I read about them on Outsports. You can do better MLB.

Nonetheless, below is the calendar of LGBT Pride events at MLB ballparks this year. Note that this will be the first year the Pittsburgh Pirates will be hosting a Pride event, while other teams, like the Washington Nationals, have been doing this for more than a decade.

Happy June!

~ baseballrebecca

Date Team Event Additional Details
21-Apr San Diego Padres Out at the Park San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, San Diego Women’s Chorus and San Diego Pride and Padres staff jointly performed the National Anthem together; special ticket purchase included $5 donation to San Diego Pride.
26-May Miami Marlins Pride at the Park Hosted by the Marlins and the Clevelander Marlins Park. Special event ticket included a Pride at the Park trucker hat. Celebrity guests were” Carson Kressley and Chef Art Smith. A portion of the proceeds support the Marlins Foundation in support of local LGBTQ organizations.
3-Jun Detroit Tigers Tigers Pride Day Organized by Detroit Regional LGBT Chambers of Commerce – http://www.detroitlgbtchamber.com/
6-Jun Oakland A’s Pride Night Special ticket includes an A’s Pride Scarf and admittance to the pregame party on the Westside Patio.
9-Jun Los Angeles Dodgers LGBT Night Special guests include: actor Matt Bomer, Billy Bean (Major League Baseball Vice President & Special Assistant to the Commissioner), Brian Pendleton (founder of #ResistMarch), actors Noah Galvin and Guillermo Diaz; and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo (plaintiffs in the landmark case overturning Prop 8 and restoring marriage equality to California). The National Anthem will be performed by actor Dot Marie Jones accompanied by members for the Gay Men’s Chorus and Trans Chorus of Los Angeles.
9-Jun Tampa Bay Rays Pride Night Special ticket includes a Rays Pride Tumbler
9-Jun Boston Red Sox Pride Night The New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus will sing the National Anthem
13-Jun Washington Nationals Night Out The Nationals’ 13th Annual Night OUT. Proceeds from ticket sales contribute to Team DC’s Student-Athlete Scholarships, which are awarded each year to local college-bound LGBT student-athletes who, through their role in academics and sports, have enhanced the perception of the LGBT community.
16-Jun Colorado Rockies LGBT Night No additional information on the website
17-Jun New York Mets Pride Night A portion of the proceeds will benefit the LGBT Network and its Safe Schools Initiative to stop bullying in Long Island and Queens.
22-Jun Seattle Mariners Pride Night Hosted by the Seattle Mariners and Greater Seattle Business Association. Tickets include a Pride Night hat.
23-Jun Atlanta Braves LGBT Night This is the Braves’ 7th annual LGBT Night. A portion of the proceeds will go to Lost-n-Found Youth, whose mission is to take homeless LGBT youth off the street. Special ticket package also includes a Braves commemorative hat.
26-Jun San Francisco Giants LGBT Night The special event ticket package includes a LGBT/Giants scarf. Partial proceeds from each special event ticket will be donated to local non-profits in the LGBT community.
2-Jul Pittsburgh Pirates Pride Day This is the Pirates’ first Pride Day; each special ticket includes a special Pirates Pride Day cap.
22-Aug Philadelphia Phillies Pride Night The first 1,000 fans to purchase these special tickets receive a coupon for Phillies rainbow socks.
3-Sep Chicago Cubs Out at Wrigley This event is not mentioned on the Cubs’ website, but a special website has been created at:  http://www.outatwrigley.com/