Mexican Immigrant and Mexican American Baseball Teams Grew Despite Racial Segregation.
The 1940 Kansas City Azteca women’s baseball team played at Brenneison Ballpark located at St. Paul and Scott Streets in Armourdale, Kansas where a large Mexican immigrant community lived and worked.
Rose Arroyo’s mother, Mary Montes (second row, third from the right) was born in 1918 and lived near the ballfield, but the family home was demolished when the 7th Street viaduct was built in the 1930s.
Many other women’s and men’s Mexican immigrant teams played in what was known as the Colonia Méxicana, which included Kansas City, Missouri’s Westside and Northeast community of Sheffield neighborhood. The Armourdale, Argentine, West Bottoms and Rosedale neighborhoods in Kansas City, Kansas also had men’s and women’s teams.
In the 1930s to 1960s, other ballparks were constructed by companies in Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri, where their employees played baseball and later fast pitch softball. Union Pacific, Santa Fe, and Rock Island railroad companies all had company teams. Astro Flour Company and the Peet Bros. Soap Company (Peet Bros. Soap merged with Palmolive Soap in the early 20th Century and, in 1928, the merged company bought Colgate and the company became Colgate-Palmolive) all had industrial teams. These companies often ignored Mexican players, so the Mexican players formed their own leagues.
Genovevo Teodoro (Gene T.) Chávez Ortíz, Ed.D. is on the Board of Trustees of the Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum. He conducts workshops and seminars regionally and nationally on issues of diversity and Inclusion. As an historian, he curates exhibitions, directs films, writes journal articles and lectures about Latino history and culture for the Kansas City Museum, Mid-Continent Libraries, Humanities Kansas, area historical societies, and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.