Ethical issues have plagued baseball since its origins as a professional sport, though the criteria for discerning the morally good from the permanently unforgivable invite deeper scrutiny. For example, performance-enhancing drugs overshadowed both the 2013 Major League Baseball season and the Hall of Fame nomination process. Players anxiously awaited word of impending suspensions and retired All Stars, tainted by the steroid era, failed to make the ranks of the most recent Cooperstown inductees. With attention to the complexity and ambiguity of daily lived experience Latino theologies offer insights that challenge simplistic analyses that interpret these matters strictly in terms of cheating and fairness. In light of the 40th anniversary of the induction of Roberto Clemente, the first Latino in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, these issues call for further consideration latinamente.
Lecturer Carmen Nanko-Fernández, D.Min. is a Catholic pastoral theologian and an associate professor at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. A Latina theologian, her scholarship reflects an appreciation for contextual and postcolonial theologies and has focused on areas of Latino theologies, Catholic social teaching, interreligious and intercultural relations, im/migration and the intersections between faith and popular culture with particular attention to béisbol. This interest in béisbol is reflected in her recent presentation for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Dr. Nanko-Fernández is at work on the book, ¡El Santo! Baseball and the Canonization of Roberto Clemente for Mercer University Press