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Stealing Lives

The Globalization of Baseball and the Tragic Story of Alexis Quiroz

Arturo J. Marcano Guevara and David P. Fidler

Publication Year: 2002

While some Latin American superstars have overcome discrimination to strike gold in baseball's big leagues, thousands more Latin American players never make it to "The Show." Stealing Lives focuses on the plight of one Venezuelan teenager and documents abuses that take place against Latin children and young men as baseball becomes a global business. The authors reveal that in their efforts to secure cheap labor, Major League teams often violate the basic human rights of children.

As a young boy growing up in Venezuela, Alexis Quiroz dreamed of playing in the Major Leagues. Alexis's dreams were like those of thousands of other boys in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, and Major League teams encouraged such dreams by recruiting Latin children as young as 10 and 11 years old. Determined to become a big league player, Alexis finished high school early and dedicated himself to landing a contract with a Major League team. Alexis signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1995 at age 17 and then began a harrowing ordeal of exploitation, mistreatment, and disrespect at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, including playing for the Cubs' Dominican Summer League team in appalling living conditions. Alexis's baseball career came to an abrupt end by an injury for which the Cubs provided no adequate medical treatment. The story continues, however, with Alexis's pursuit of justice in the United States to ensure that other Venezuelan and Dominican boys do not encounter similar experiences.

What happened to Alexis is not an isolated case-Major League teams routinely deny Latin children and young men the basic protections that their U.S. counterparts take for granted. This exploitation violates international legal standards on labor standards and the human rights of children. Stealing Lives concludes by analyzing various reforms to redress the inequities big league baseball creates in its globalization.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. ix-

The analysis in this book of the globalization of baseball and especially the tragic baseball story of Alexis Quiroz directly implicate many individuals who work for the Chicago Cubs and the Major League Baseball Commissioner’s Office. Despite repeated invitations and requests from us for interviews, not a single person...

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pp. xi-

The creation of this book would not have been possible without the help and support of many individuals. Foremost, we thank Alexis (Alexi) Quiroz Castellanos and his family for sharing with us Alexi’s tragic experience with the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Alexi’s perseverance in pursuing justice for himself and...

Part I. Building the Global Ballpark

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1 The “Golden Age” of Latin American Baseball Talent inMajor League Baseball

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pp. 3-7

Sammy Sosa. Pedro Mart

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2 The Globalization of Baseball

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pp. 8-22

The United States has long claimed baseball as its national pastime. Once upon a time, baseball ruled as the king of U.S. amateur and professional sports. Baseball defined professional sports in the United States and shaped how popular culture related to sports in general. Baseball was once the maker of heroes and dreams of glory for millions of adolescent American boys. Within the male contingent...

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3 The Structure and Dynamics of Major League Baseball’s Recruitment of Foreign Baseball Talent

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pp. 23-52

Many baseball fans enjoy the skills and excitement that foreign players bring to the game, but most baseball fans do not understand how these foreign ballplayers end up playing for their favorite teams. Most fans are familiar with the annual amateur draft, but beyond some understanding about the draft, the average fan has little idea how Latin American or Asian players end up on major or minor...

Part II. Exploitation and Mistreatment in the Global Ballpark: The Tragic Story of Alexis Quiroz

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4 “Papá, I Want to Play Baseball!”

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pp. 55-65

A father and son were spending time together on a lazy, hot afternoon in Aragua, Venezuela, in 1990. The boy was twelve years old, and the father liked to give his son as much attention as his demanding job allowed. All too soon, the boy would be a man...

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5 Going to Vietnam

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pp. 66-81

Just because Alexi had a contract with a major league team did not mean that he could relax. He continued to train with Ciro Barrios and Emilio Ostos after he signed with the Cubs. He worked hard to prepare for the Cubs’ minicamp in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, in February 1996. The minicamp would be the prelude...

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6 In Baseball Purgatory

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pp. 82-92

“So, how was the Dominican?” Alberto Rondón asked the Venezuelan players upon their return from the Cubs’ Summer League team.1 Rondón knew what their stay was like in the Dominican Republic because the Venezuelan players had called him to complain about it. But because Rondón asked, the players...

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7 The Mesa Miracle

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pp. 93-104

Alexi did not call the Chicago Cubs in Mesa in advance of his visit. His plan was to show up unannounced and ask for the release letter. It would be hard to ignore him if he was standing in front of David Wilder, director of minor leagues, as the Cubs had ignored him and his father from afar. He was not going to follow...

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8 The Dominican Disaster

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pp. 105-118

Alexi arrived back in Venezuela on November 2, 1997. With a new contract, Alexi was able to interest a Venezuelan professional team, Los Cardenales de Lara , in retaining his services during the Venezuelan Winter League season. This opportunity would allow Alexi to keep his baseball skills sharp in advance of the Cubs’ February 1998 minicamp in Puerto Cabello and his trip later in 1998...

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9 “That’s Just Your Story”

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pp. 119-131

On July 29, 1998, the day after Alexi arrived home in Caracas from his ordeal in the Dominican Republic, Alexi saw Dr. Jos

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10 The Pursuit of Justice Goes Terribly Wrong

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pp. 132-146

In his relationship with the Chicago Cubs, Alexi Quiroz had been lied to, cheated, subjected to degrading treatment, and had suffered an injury that ended his baseball career because the Cubs had not provided him with proper medical treatment. To add insult to injury, the Cubs had not paid all his medical expenses...

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11 Seventh-Inning Stretch: Chicago, New York, Maracay

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pp. 147-156

Alexi went to Arizona to make the Chicago Cubs live up to their responsibilities toward him and other Latin baseball players. During the disastrous experience in Mesa, Alexi did not achieve these goals. In fact, the episode was a calamity for Alexi and his cause. On the personal level, Alexi and his family lost even more...

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12 The Final Inning

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pp. 157-168

While working on a farm and contemplating law school helped focus Alexi’s attention on his future outside baseball, being in Venezuela made it difficult to advance his case against the Chicago Cubs. Communications with Steve Gleason were difficult, and Alexi sensed that the Commissioner’s Office had conveniently forgotten about his mistreatment by the Cubs. After discus-...

Part III. Repairing the Global Ballpark

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13 Human Rights, Labor Standards, and Major League Baseball’s Exploitation of Children in Latin America

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pp. 171-182

The tragic baseball story of Alexi Quiroz provides a disturbing glimpse into the abusive and discriminatory manner in which Major League Baseball (MLB) teams have operated in Latin American countries. In chapter 1, we quoted Latin American...

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14 Global Ballpark Repair Strategies

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pp. 183-194

The problem of Major League Baseball’s behavior toward children and young men in Latin American countries is a governance problem—control-ling and regulating the exercise of power. This book argues that Major ...

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pp. 195-196

Wrigley Field. Chicago Cubs v. Philadelphia Phillies. Alexi Quiroz bought a ticket for the “standing room only” section of Wrigley Field. Alexi knew he would never play baseball in las Grandes Ligas because of his injury,and his experiences with the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball were such that no one could blame him for never watching another major league...

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pp. 197-232

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pp. 233-246

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pp. 247- 252

E-ISBN-13: 9780253109569
E-ISBN-10: 0253109566
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253341914

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 11 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2002