Mystery surrounds story of first Latino MLB player

Luis Castro had short career, but distinction of first Latino MLB player

By Keith Dunlap - Graham Media Group
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There is plenty of mystery and controversy surrounding him, but that didn’t prevent Luis "Lou" Manuel Castro from earning one important distinction. 

Born in 1876, Castro is regarded as the first Latino player to ever play in what became known as Major League Baseball, according to Remezcla

Castro played 42 games for the Philadelphia Athletics during the 1902 season, batting .245 during a short stint as the team’s second baseman.

However, there is some uncertainty surrounding Castro’s legacy, starting with where he was actually born.

Castro later in his life listed New York City as his birthplace, although it was reported that he was born in Colombia and moved to the United States when he was 8 years old. 

Researchers later found a list of passengers arriving in New York City in 1885 on the S.S. Colon, and one of the passengers listed was an 8-year-old Castro, lending evidence that he did immigrate from Colombia. 

Castro played baseball at Manhattan College in New York before he was signed by the Athletics and legendary manager Connie Mack.

There was also uncertainty whether Castro was related to Venezuelan President Cipriano Castro. 

Remezcla said Luis Castro both claimed and denied he was related Cipriano Castro, who became to be known as a dictator who refused to pay international debts. 

Castro has no record of a career in baseball after his stint with the Athletics, and eventually died in New York at the age of 64 on Sept. 24, 1941. 

This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month will commemorate the 58th anniversary of his death.

Graham Media Group 2019