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Thread: Louis Castro -- first Latin player

  1. #1
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    Louis Castro -- first Latin player

    I'd like to know if anyone can point me toward books on A's history that may have any info on this man. He appears to be a very shadowy figure. I am interested in him not only because he was the first Latin player in MLB but also because he is one of the rare Colombians in MLB history.

  2. #2
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    All I have is a pic, but I am pretty sure Castro just couldn't break into that IF of the A's

    Also the 1st Mexican player was Red Sox Fred Arrelanes


    The 1st Cuban players were Rafael Almeida and Armando Marsans of the Reds, who were frontrunners in getting cheap Latin players
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIBaseball
    I'd like to know if anyone can point me toward books on A's history that may have any info on this man. He appears to be a very shadowy figure. I am interested in him not only because he was the first Latin player in MLB but also because he is one of the rare Colombians in MLB history.
    Luis Manuel Castro , nicknamed Jud in USA was a star pitcher for his Alma Mater , Manhattan College in 1898 , and 1899 . He came from a wealthy family in Colombia , and the rumor is that he was the Nephew of Cipriano Castro a venezuelan president . He attended school in the States the same way that the Bellan brothers from Cuba did in the 1860's . The elder , Esteban considered to be the first hispanic in the Majors ( Troy , 1871-72 ) . Somehow Manuel made it to that famous 1902 A's team as a second basemen .
    That was his only year in the Majors , but he holds the honor of being the first of our people to hit a Home Run in the Bigs . He was the third hispano in MLB , following Bellán , and Vicente Nava ( Providence , NL , 1984 ) . Nava was the son of a lady from Durango , México . MLB is the organization that stated that the Union Association was a " Major " League . I am not to argue on that statement .
    I do posess two photos of Jud in Manhattan uniform , and there are two photos of the 1902 A's in which i think our man is .

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    Hola caribeño -- not too long ago I paid a visit to Manhattan College and got some photos from their archives. The woman who works there was very nice. Luis played several different positions there, including outfield and shortstop.

    I don't think the Venezuelan connection is true, just a story. I'm still trying to find out where the "Jud" nickname came from -- I've dug up a lot of stories from his long minor-league career after 1902, where his nickname is "Count."

    I have tried to get info from Colombia via e-mail (writing in Spanish), but no luck. I believe his father was a politician in Antioquia, where Medellín is located. I am still digging -- I've gotten a lot of good stuff up to 1917, and then the trail grows cold until just before Castro's death.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Imapotato

    Also the 1st Mexican player was Red Sox Fred Arrelanes
    never heard of arrelanes. can you elaborate? can't find him in encyclopedia. all my info says mel amada was first mexican player in 1933.

  6. #6
    Well, now, Havana-born Esteban Enrique "Steve" Bellan played for the Troy Haymakers in 1871-2, and for the NY Mutuals in 1873. So, as to who was first ...

    Bellan (1850-1932) learned to play BB while a student at Fordham. He wasn't a great batter (.252 career in the NA), but he was a fine defensive 3B for the time - his graceful play around the hot corner earned him the nickname "The Cuban Sylph", which is the kind of nickname they just don't give out no more ....

    After his three seasons in the National Association Bellan returned to Cuba, founded the first Cuban BB club (Habana), and in 1874 played in the first BB game between Cuban teams, in which Habana beat Matanzas fifty-one to nine, yikes.
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    Last edited by westsidegrounds; 11-21-2005 at 05:21 PM.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by VIBaseball
    Hola caribeño -- not too long ago I paid a visit to Manhattan College and got some photos from their archives. The woman who works there was very nice. Luis played several different positions there, including outfield and shortstop.

    I don't think the Venezuelan connection is true, just a story. I'm still trying to find out where the "Jud" nickname came from -- I've dug up a lot of stories from his long minor-league career after 1902, where his nickname is "Count."

    I have tried to get info from Colombia via e-mail (writing in Spanish), but no luck. I believe his father was a politician in Antioquia, where Medellín is located. I am still digging -- I've gotten a lot of good stuff up to 1917, and then the trail grows cold until just before Castro's death.
    Saludos VI (¿ Islas Vírgenes ? I think because i once read something you wrote about our beloved Valmy Thomas )
    Anyway , Isn't the lady , Amy Surak ?
    This wonderful person not only send me all the available info about Luis but , kindly send me a CD with two different photos of our man . Who can ask for more ?
    Well , lots of luck with Luis , and , pls , keep me posted .

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmckenna
    never heard of arrelanes. can you elaborate? can't find him in encyclopedia. all my info says mel amada was first mexican player in 1933.
    Señor McKenna :
    Frank Arellanes was a pitcher for the Red Sox back in 1908-10 . Was born in Santa Cruz , California and , died also in California . there is no info that relates him to México . His last name is spanish , but that most be a very common pattern in California .
    Baldomero " Melo " Almada is recognized as the first mlb player born in México .
    Although Vince " Sandy " Nava ( Providence and Baltimore 1882-86 ) was the son of a lady from Durango , México , and its not clear whether he was born in California ( San Francisco , 1850 ) or in Durango .
    As for me Vince is the first mexican , and Melo the first " certified " mexican .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by caribeño
    Saludos VI (¿ Islas Vírgenes ? I think because i once read something you wrote about our beloved Valmy Thomas )
    Anyway , Isn't the lady , Amy Surak ?
    This wonderful person not only send me all the available info about Luis but , kindly send me a CD with two different photos of our man . Who can ask for more ?
    Well , lots of luck with Luis , and , pls , keep me posted .
    You're right on all counts, caribeño. The history of baseball in the Virgin Islands is my work, and I am happy to count Valmy Thomas as a friend. He's a delightful story teller and human being.

    Yes, Amy Surak is the same person who helped me out in exactly the same way. I hope to repay her with a proper Castro profile.

    I just found out today that there's a book by Nick C. Wilson called "Early Latino Ballplayers in the United States." Castro features in the first chapter. I've dropped Nick (a SABR colleague) a line and hope to hear from him soon.

    Oh, by the way, westsidegrounds -- to be sure, I could/should have been more careful and referred to Castro as the first Latin major-leaguer in the "modern era."

  10. #10

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by VIBaseball
    <...>.

    Oh, by the way, westsidegrounds -- to be sure, I could/should have been more careful and referred to Castro as the first Latin major-leaguer in the "modern era."
    What, 1871 isn't modern?

    You kids today ....

  11. #11
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    Hey VIBaseball,
    I may be able to help in your research in Colombia. You say that you have gotten a lot of good stuff up to 1917, and then the trail grows cold. My cousin is helping me with research in her role as a history professor in "La Universidad Nacional" in Medellin. I have gotten a lot of valuable info from all of you. Let me know how we can colaborate to get Castro's full story out there.

  12. #12
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    Awww give Fred Arrellenes the "1st Mexican" seal of approval

    He was of Mexican heritage, but here is the kicker

    He took CY YOUNG'S place in the Red Sox Rotation

    I mean talk about coming in to the league on a hard note....thousands of P's couldn't fill Young's shoes, this guy was asked to do it in his 1st year

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmarinillo
    Hey VIBaseball,
    I may be able to help in your research in Colombia. You say that you have gotten a lot of good stuff up to 1917, and then the trail grows cold. My cousin is helping me with research in her role as a history professor in "La Universidad Nacional" in Medellin. I have gotten a lot of valuable info from all of you. Let me know how we can colaborate to get Castro's full story out there.
    elmarinillo -- that would be tremendous/¡eso sería asombroso!

    I will send you a private message with more detail.

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    I have sent you my info VIBaseball. Hope to hear from you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmckenna
    never heard of arrelanes. can you elaborate? can't find him in encyclopedia. all my info says mel amada was first mexican player in 1933.
    You proably cant find anything on him because his name is Frank Arellanes not Fred Arrellenes. And he was not the first mexican player he was born in Santa Cruz California. Although I do give some credit in that he was of Mexican decent but that still doesnt make him the first Mexican player. He did pretty good filling in for Cy as he had a 16-12 record in 230.7 innings with an era of 2.18. Led the leaugue in saves with 8. that 1909 was his only good year. But wasnt in the majors that long, only playing for 3 years(1908,1909,1910).
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    Last edited by RedSoxVT92; 04-07-2006 at 03:35 PM.

  16. #16

    Luis Castro

    Hello,
    I am new to the board, I am very interested in early latin baseball history and I was wondering if there is any updated information on Luis Castro? I was looking for a birth certificate for him and have yet to uncover anything in the New York area where according to SABR he was born. Any new information out there?

    Regards,
    Nick

  17. #17
    Arellanes had several brothers who were prominant players on the Pacific Coast around the turn of the last century. Following his major league days he got caught up and arrested in a scandal involving several other PCL players in which they were charged with running in a child prostitution ring. I don't know much about it other than running across a few mentions of it in eithe TSN or more likely Sporting Life.
    I don't have lot other than these notes.

    Sporting Life, October 10, 1914. He was arrested in Portland along with several other PCL players and charged with "wholesale traffic of schoolgirls, ages 14-16."

    Sporting Life, November 21, 1914. He was found not guilty of the charges.

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    Nice recent article on Castro

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    The mystery still remains: what was Castro doing after 1917 (when my newspaper search lost track of him) and the time he passed away.

    I'm still trying to hunt down his origins in Colombia too.

  19. #19

    Louis Castro

    I have put together a small and unfortunataly unprofessional website regarding the first latin major league player louiscastro.com. I have found some great details on his life and I am putting together a book on Castro, I hope to have it out sometime next year. He is an interesting man, who is undoubtably the first latin to play Major League baseball.

    I am very excited about giving Louis the acclaim he deserves!

    Nick

  20. #20
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    Luis Castro , the First ?

    Nicolás :
    I am very glad you are writing on Luis . Did you check on Bellán , and Navas ? They certainly played before Luis . The assumptions are :
    1 ) Bellán played in a league that is not considered " major " by many . Others ( including MLB ) do consider the Union Association a Major League . The UA was the first pro league in our sport , even thought they were not " organized " as MLB calls many other leagues . It certainly has brought up a sea of discussion .
    2 ) Navas - Nobody knows for sure where he was born , and then California just became a member of the States after his birth . People from that era , and from that area got their birth certificate in México City . No lights on this matter in the San Francisco Demographic Register . One thing is clear : his mother was a native of Durango , México . Legally he could have claim to be a mexican .
    On my list of caribeño players ( 1,317 from 15 different countries ) Bellán is still the first with Vicente being the second and Luis the third .

  21. #21

    Clearing the water

    Caribeno,
    I think you have summed up the reason there is no much confusion and the reason Louis has not received the praise he deserves. As long as it is viewed as a debate or discussion the fact that Louis was the first Latin to play the game will never be clear.

    Major league baseball made a concise decision on the NA stats, that they would not count. The league was founded as an amatuer league. You can no more count those stats than you could any other amatuer league of the time. The facts are the facts, the National Assco. teams are not and have never been part of Major League baseball. I say this not to slight Esteban, but to clear up a matter that needs to be clear for the sake of Latin Baseball history.

    In regards to Nava, based on my genological research he was not a full blooded Latino. He was not even a majority Latino. Again, I say this not to slight Sandy but to be clear.

    Louis was 100% Latino(I can prove that), Louis played for the Philadelphia A's(a major League team). Those facts are clear. The debate on this subject has raged long enough. It is time to clean up our history...

    Regards,
    Nick Martinez

  22. #22
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    Nicolás :
    Pls , excuse my ignorance , What is a full blooded Latino ? If my mother was a mexican born person , then i am not latino ? I do not understand this .
    The National Association started as an amateur league , that's true , but didn't it become a pro league in 1871 ? But in terms of MLB , pls let me know where i can find their decision on the NA . I would really appreciate it .
    Again thanks for bringing up the importance of the caribeños in the Majors .

  23. #23

    Castro

    Caribeno,
    Sorry for the delay in posting, with two kids and a wife computer time on the weekends is pretty scarce.

    My hope in making this effort is to unite, not to divide. So hopefully you will be open to the facts and we can right the wrong when it comes to this subject.

    In regards to your question regarding the National Association on the internet you can find many sites that state it was or was not part of Major League Baseball. The only opinion that officially matters is Major League Baseballs opinion, Elias (http://www.esb.com) is in charge of current and historical statistics for MLB. They and the commissioner of Baseball decided not to count the stats for the NA, for many reasons including influence of gambling, dominance of one team in the league and lack of enforcement of the rules of the game. Though you can find little on the web, feel free to call them at 1-212-869-1530 and they will be happy to confirm that the NA was not and is not part of Major League Baseball. This eliminates Bellan from any factual claim to being the First Latino to ever play the game.

    When it comes to Nava, again a touchy subject for many. We are getting into what percentage of persons race makes them Latin. From a traditional sense many people say the race of the mother determines the race of the child. Sandy was an American born Californian of mixed race. I am sure there was a number of players who had mixed (Mexican & Caucasian) blood who played early in the league (Nava was bold enough to keep his Latin name). If Jackie Robinson were half white, would he be considered the first black player in the modern era to play Major League Baseball?


    Have I convinced you, I think it is important that there is clarity. Louis is the real deal!

    Regards,
    Nick

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