From BR Bullpen

Peloteros, whose title means "Baseball Players" in English, is a reflective essay published in 1996 by Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá (born 1946), one of Puerto Rico's most important writers.

The book is a reflection on the author's relationship with baseball and its cultural components. He realizes it represents a very deep part of his identity, as his memories go back to when he was seven years old and his favorite player was Luis Olmo; he has an old faded picture of Olmo, but can't tell if he is wearing the uniform of the Brooklyn Dodgers or that of the local Criollos de Caguas. That conjecture leads him to reflect on the duality of the baseball culture he has experienced. It is first a truly national phenomenon, passed in Spanish from fathers to sons, with local stars like Vic Power and Roberto Clemente leaving the island to make good in the big leagues. But it is also as a cultural import, as he reads accounts of games played in the United States in his local paper, and also idolizes some American players. However, he tends to prefer players who are outsiders, like Jackie Robinson and Josh Gibson, or even Lou Brock. The latter is the subject of a long section of the book, since by using theft as his principal weapon, he assumes a character to which a writer on the periphery can relate.

Rodríguez Juliá speculates on the existence of a Caribbean way to play baseball, distinct from the American practice, that would unite Latin players from different horizons in an alternate approach to the game. Thus, Power's "baroque and excessive" playing style is akin to a mambo dancer in his mind, far removed from the staid approach prevalent in the United States. However, it seems to him that this distinction was much more vivid in his youth, and that perhaps the island's baseball culture has now today been thoroughly Americanized, like the rest of its identity, he fears.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Michel Nareau: Double jeu: Baseball et littératures américaines, Le Quartanier, Montréal, QC, 2012, pp. 129-134, 279-288 and 317-321. ISBN 978-2-923400-91-4
  • Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá: Peloteros, Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, 1996. ISBN 978-0847702923