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.
Martin Dihigo, a black Cuban, was leader in win/loss average.
Claro Duany, a black Cuban, took the batting title; Roberto Ortiz, a white Cuban, lead in home runs and RBIs.
“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.
Rich, handsome, and fierce, Pasquel knew no limits.
His larger-than-life persona included dating Mexico’s biggest movie star at the time, María Felix.
But players in the Negro Leagues developed an exciting style of play, based in speed, aggressiveness, athleticism and wit.
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.
Martin Dihigo carried the team to the championship in 19.
The Mexico City Agrario team, archrival to the Aguila club, countered by signing Satchel Paige, the greatest black American pitcher of the time, who in 1938 became the first African American to play in the Mexican League.By 1940, there were 63 African-American players in Mexico – a Mexican ‘Field of Dreams.’ Pasquel built it, and they came.