Mexican American Baseball in the Inland Empire celebrates the thriving culture of former teams from Pomona, Ontario, Cucamonga, Chino, Claremont, San Bernardino, Colton, Riverside, Corona, Beaumont, and the Coachella Valley. From the early 20th century through the 1950s, baseball diamonds in the Inland Empire provided unique opportunities for nurturing athletic and educational skills, ethnic identity, and political self-determination for Mexican Americans during an era of segregation. Legendary men’s and women’s teams—such as the Corona Athletics, San Bernardino’s Mitla Café, the Colton Mercuries, and Las Debs de Corona—served as an important means for Mexican American communities to examine civil and educational rights and offer valuable insight on social, cultural, and gender roles. These evocative photographs recall the often-neglected history of Mexican American barrio baseball clubs of the Inland Empire.
Author Bio: Author Richard A. Santillan, professor emeritus of ethnic and women studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and coauthors Mark A. Ocegueda, PhD student in history at the University of California, Irvine, and Terry A. Cannon, executive director of the Baseball Reliquary, serve as advisors to the Latino Baseball History Project in San Bernardino. The project and players’ families provided the vintage photographs presented here.
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