Mexican American Baseball in the Pomona Valley (Images of Baseball)
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This volume pays homage to the wonderful teams and players from Azusa, La Verne, Claremont, Pomona, Chino, Cucamonga, Ontario, and Upland. A common thread of all these diverse communities was the establishment of baseball teams and, later, softball teams. Baseball played a critical role in advancing civil and political rights, labor reform, gender equality, educational integration, and cultural legitimacy. These remarkable photographs revive the often-overlooked history of Mexican American baseball in the Greater Pomona Valley.
(Courtesy of Cuno and Karla Barragán.) Jess Briones from Chino, California, joined the US Army in 1944 and completed his basic training at Fort Roberts in California. He was about to be shipped out to the Philippines when Japan surrendered. He later served in Japan, France, and Germany. He played for several teams, including the 503rd in the Philippines, the 508th in Germany, and the 325th and 504th in North Carolina. He played shortstop and outfield for the Fort Bragg All-American team.
Conchola grew up in Davenport, Iowa. Juanita worked at an ammunition plant during World War II. In 1943, she joined the Women’s Army Corps. She took basic training at Fort Des Moines and attended navigation school in Hondo, Texas. While in the service, Juanita played softball, basketball, and tennis. She played shortstop, beating the Waves, the Lady Marines, and teams from the Luke and Williams Air Force Bases in Arizona. (Courtesy of Juanita Conchola.) Mexican A merican Baseball in the P omona
mainly due to the push and pull of economic factors, especially in the cities of Azusa, La Verne, Claremont, Pomona, Chino, Cucamonga, Upland, and Ontario. Mexican Americans worked largely in the packinghouses, railroads, and citrus fields. Like their counterparts throughout California and the nation, they quickly established a complexly detailed set of organizations that promoted civil, cultural, and political rights. Moreover, they created sports networks at the local, state, and national
servicemen, playing their favorite Mexican songs so far from home. He is seen here on a 1930s Los Angeles Mexican American team playing a game in Tombstone, Arizona. (Courtesy of Willie and Mary Ellen Miranda.) Efrén A. Montijo (first row, second from left) was one of the first Mexican American sports stars in the Los Angeles region. He played four years of baseball at Occidental, including this 1917 team. His 1914 team placed second to USC Law School and ahead of Redlands, Whittier, Pomona, and
Oropeza (standing far right). Mexican American baseball in Omaha, Nebraska, dates back to at least the early 1930s. Many of these players or family members worked in the slaughterhouses. The roster included Abbie, Camilo, Epifanio, and Isaias Alba, Tony Armenta, Leo Barajas, Manuel García, Eddie Gómez, Joe Juárez, Paul Márquez, Lano and Tom Oropeza, Ray Velásquez, coach Joe Ramírez, and batboys Massey Ochoa and Eddie Reyes. (Courtesy of Lano Oropeza.) Mexican A merican Baseball in the P omona