We just had a wonderful time and I owe that experience to Jorge Pasquel.” Jorge Pasquel, according to Irvin, was the George Steinbrenner of Mexico.
He was the owner of the biggest import-export business in the country.
White Latino players like Roberto Ortiz, Luis Rodríguez Olmo, Adrián Zabala, Salvador Hernández, Tomás de la Cruz, and several others did the same. He offered blank contracts to superstars such as Ted Williams, Bob Feller and Joe Di Maggio so the players could name their price.
Jorge Pasquel had essentially declared war on the U. They ultimately refused to jump to Mexico, but Pasquel had shown his hand.
And they brought that caliber of baseball to Mexico. Rogers Hornsby, a veteran with seven batting championships in the Major Leagues went south in 1944 to manage and play for Pasquel’s Azules team.
White American players like Danny Gardella, Sal Maglie, Lou Klein, Max Lanier, Mickey Owen, Vernon Stephens and others, took the offer and left the Major Leagues, ignoring their contracts and going south as well.
But before that, he was the main sponsor of the league, signing and paying black stars to play for all the league’s teams.
His master plan was to have major league caliber baseball in Mexico during the summer season.
The 1946 season of the Mexican League was a dream come true.
On March 21, Mexican President Manuel Avila Camacho threw the first pitch of the first truly integrated baseball league in the world.
“It was the first time in my life that I felt free,” adds Irvin.
“We could go anywhere we wanted, eat anywhere we wanted, do anything we wanted and not have to worry about anything.