How Dominicans contribute to Major League Baseball and what they receive in return.
From Juan Marichal and Pedro Martínez to Albert Pujols and Juan Soto, Dominicans have long been among Major League Baseball’s best. How did this small Caribbean nation become a hothouse of baseball talent? To many fans, the answer is both obvious and disconcerting: pro teams use their riches to develop talent abroad, creating opportunities for superhuman athletes and corrupt officials, while the rest of the population sees little benefit.
Yet this interpretation of history is incomplete. April Yoder traces how baseball has empowered Dominicans in their struggles for democracy and social justice. While the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo saw the sport as a means of cementing its power at home and abroad, the Dominican people fashioned an emancipated civic sphere by seeing their potential for democratic success in their compatriots’ baseball success. Later, Dominicans articulated demands for democracy, economic opportunity, and civil rights through successful calls for public support of amateur and professional baseball. Today, Dominicans continue to demand that incentives for the baseball industry foster human as well as economic development. A revelatory and innovative history, Pitching Democracy restores agency to the Dominican people and honors their true love of the game.