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150 Years of Impact

Pitchers at an Exhibition

Syracuse’s La Casita Cultural Center Seeks Submissions for Fall Baseball Project

Jun 24, 2015 — Article by: Rob Enslin

Photo of Little League pitcher Jondale Dávila

Jondale Dávila, 12, is a star pitcher for Syracuse Parks and Recreation's District 8 Little League Baseball. (Photo by Marilu Lopez Fretts)

La Casita Cultural Center, a program of Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), is accepting submissions for a fall exhibition devoted to Latinos in baseball.

Titled “Béisbol at the Heart of Our Latino Communities,” the exhibition will run September 15 to December 11, and will kick-off National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) in Onondaga County. Béisbol will also serve as the theme for the Balcón Criollo, a signature program held every fall at La Casita, marking the rich history and culture of Hispanic communities throughout Central New York.

Organizers describe Béisbol as part-exhibition and part-oral history project.

“We are very excited about Béisbol, which is designed to celebrate and document the significant role and history of baseball in Latino-American culture,” says Tere Paniagua ’82, executive director of the Office of Cultural Engagement for the Hispanic Community in A&S. “At no other time have there been more Latinos on the field, in the clubhouse, and in the stands.”

Paniagua, who also oversees La Casita, invites baseball enthusiasts to submit memorabilia depicting CNY’s Latino connection to the sport. She is looking for photographs, film, video, posters, emblems, uniforms, trophies, banners, letters, stories, and diaries. Each item will be carefully photographed and documented for La Casita’s Cultural Heritage Archive and then returned to the owner upon completion of the exhibition. Digital materials may be sent to For more information, call 315-443-2151.
Photo of umpire Victor Chatman

Dominican umpire Victor Chatman pauses at a game between the West End and Eastwood little leagues at Syracuse's Lewis Park. (Photo by Marilu Lopez Fretts)

Béisbol is also part of a new multiyear initiative between La Casita and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. To be announced in October, the partnership will consist of Latino-related exhibits, collections, programming, education, and research projects. People will have the option to donate baseball items to the Smithsonian’s national repository, where they will be preserved as national treasures and enjoyed by future generations.

“We want to hear from players, coaches, and fans at all levels, from youth programs, to college and amateur leagues, to semi-professional and professional teams,” Paniagua adds. “By sharing your cherished memories with us, you provide valuable insight into and knowledge of our Latino communities in CNY. Your personal memory becomes part of our collective memory."
Photo of batter Khalik Pinet

Khalik Pinet, a member of the West End Little League, awaits his turn at bat at Lewis Park. (Photo by Marilu Lopez Fretts)

This year’s Hispanic Heritage program at La Casita is made possible, in part, by a grant award from The Gifford Foundation and a joint-award from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

La Casita is a vibrant center, offering support for graduate and undergraduate research, experiential internships, and community service. During the 2014-15 academic year, La Casita engaged 141 students from 23 academic programs and 19 student organizations across campus.

Since its inception in 2011, La Casita has advanced an educational and cultural agenda of civic engagement through research, cultural heritage preservation, media, and the arts by bridging the Hispanic communities of CNY and the University.
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Rob Enslin