The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris
Book Preview: The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris by Mark Kurlansky
Later this month, a new book hits the market that tells a story that really hasn’t been told before. San Pedro de Macorís is a municipality and the capital of the San Pedro de Macorís province in the Dominican Republic. It has a little over 200,000 people and yet has produced about 80 major league ball players, including current players Robinson Cano, Fernando Tatis, Jose Valverde, and Alfonso Soriano.
The book is about the culture of this unique city and the inspirational and emotional journey that ballplayers travel to get from their small native country to the big leagues. Given this author’s past work, all critically aclaimed, and the subject itself, I am sure this book will be a great read.
Publishers Weekly has this to say about the book.
The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macorís Mark Kurlansky Riverhead, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59448-750-7
In 1956, Ozzie (Osvaldo) Virgil played his first rookie season with the New York Giants, becoming the first Dominican baseball player to enter the major leagues in America. Over the next half a century, 471 Dominicans played in at least one major league game, and one in six of those players have come from the small sugar mill town of San Pedro de Macorís. As he has done so masterfully in his earlier bestselling books on cod, salt, and oysters, Kurlansky homes in on a singular subject and magnifies its every facet under the brilliant light of his investigative reporting, his historical sensibility, and his lively storytelling. With the embargo on Cuban exports beginning in 1962, the U.S. shifted its attention to the Dominican Republic, not only for sugar production but for baseball players. Many of these players, such as Sammy Sosa, gained tremendous fame with their talent in the sport while others, such as Pedro Santana, who played only one game with the Detroit Tigers, returned to San Pedro de Macorís with broken dreams. Kurlansky weaves a chronicle of the history of San Pedro de Macorís with the stories of young men seeking only to play baseball and escape the drudgery of working the sugarcane fields to produce a colorful social history of sport. (Apr.)
Parade Magazine: “Where Champions Begin”Some of America’s best baseball players come from a place far away. This is the town…
Where Champions BeginBy Mark Kurlanskypublished: 07/22/2007In San Pedro de Macorís, American baseball scouts are wandering the sandlots and parks, looking for the next superstar. Finding a champion happens often in this provincial sugar port in the southeastern Dominican Republic. Here, in one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, baseball is a boy’s best hope—often his only hope.
Major League Baseball has developed a gargantuan hunger for Dominican baseball players. This year alone, at least 171 young Dominicans have been signed by pro teams. About a third of these prospects came from San Pedro de Macorís.
What set off this frenzy? For one thing, the 78 major league players San Pedro has produced since the ’50s. Among the current stars from San Pedro are Sammy Sosa, the outfielder and designated hitter for the Texas Rangers, who hit his 600th career home run in June; Alfonso Soriano, the Chicago Cubs outfielder who last year had 46 home runs and 41 stolen bases with the Washington Nationals; and New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
See the author talk about the town of San Pedro de Macoris below