In today’s Boston Globe, Keith O’Brien writes about the diminishing number of Latino players on the Red Sox — and compares the current team to the all- or mostly white teams of the past.
Point taken. But O’Brien steps in it when he refers to a “team whose stars typically looked like Ted Williams or Carl Yastrzemski” in describing those mostly white line-ups. The problem here is that Williams, as many knowledgeable fans know, was only the greatest Latino star in baseball history.
Williams’ mother, Micaela “May” Venzor, was the daughter of parents who were born in Mexico, Pablo Venzor and Natalia Hernández. In his 1969 autobiography, “My Turn at Bat,” Williams, who himself was born and grew up in San Diego, writes of his mother:
Her maiden name was Venzor, and she was part Mexican and part French, and that’s fate for you; if I had had my mother’s name, there is no doubt I would have run into problems in those days, the prejudices people had in Southern California.
May Venzor Williams was a volunteer for the Salvation Army, an avocation that kept her away from home most of the time, and about which her son complains bitterly in “My Turn at Bat.”
O’Brien’s mistake is not unusual. In 2005, the New York Times groused that Williams had been left off Major League Baseball’s list of “Latino Legends.” Williams’ Latino background is not well-known. But that makes it no less real.