Texas Tech University

Jorge Iber

Professor and Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Mexican American/Latino, American West/Southwest, U.S. Sports

Email: Jorge.Iber@ttu.edu

Office: 223 Holden Hall

Ph.D., University of Utah

Dr. Iber's training is in Mexican American history however, over the past two decades his research has focused on issues relating to the participation of Latinos/as (particularly, Mexican Americans) in U.S. sports history during the 20th century. Professor Iber received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 1997. At TTU, in addition to his current duties as Associate Dean of the College of Art & Sciences (in the Student Division), he teaches classes in U.S. Sports History, U.S. Latino History, the second half of the general U.S. History survey, and Texas History.

Dr. Iber is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles, and over 50 scholarly book reviews, in addition to being author/coauthor/editor of fifteen books.  Among his most recent works are: Latinos in American Football: Pathbreakers on the Gridiron, 1927 to the Present (co-authored with Mario Longoria) for McFarland & Company, 2020 and Latinos and Latinas in American Sport: Stories Beyond Peloteros (Sport in the American West, Texas Tech University Press, 2020).  He has also completed a new manuscript on the life and career of Texas Tech football legend, Gabriel Rivera. Texas Tech University Press is publishing this work July of 2021.  In addition, he is on the Editorial Board of Oxford Bibliographies for Latino Studies and is a contributor to the "Sports in American History" blog; having submitted numerous essays and book reviews.

Among his most recent journal and anthology articles are the following: 1) A 12,000 word essay on Latinos and sport for The Oxford Handbook of Latino Studies entitled “Latinos and Sports: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go.”  This work appeared in October of 2018; 2) A 4,000 word essay on Latinos and sport for the edited collection entitled Teaching U.S. History Through Sports edited by Pamela Grundy for the University of Wisconsin Press (2019); 3) An article entitled “Beisbol as Part of “Una Vida en Comun en la Frontera”: The Career and Significance of Eduardo Ortega, the Voz of the San Diego Padres,” appeared in the journal NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture in the Fall-Spring 2017-2018 issue (Volume 26, Numbers 1-2) and 4)An article entitled “The Sanchezes of Cheyenne, Wyoming: The First Generation of a Family of Wrestlers on the Local, State, and National Stage,: in the Autumn 2020-Winter 2021 issue (Volume 92, Number 4) of The Annals of Wyoming.

Dr. Iber is currently working on three new projects: 1) Based on the work he did on Eduardo Ortega, he is now serving as co-editor of an anthology that will include 20 essays on the life and careers of Spanish-language MLB broadcasters.  In addition to his editing work, Dr. Iber will contribute the introduction, as well as essays on four of these individuals.  He is generating this work in conjunction with Anthony Salazar of the University of Washington and SABR. This work is now under contract with McFarland.; 2) The essay on the Sanchez family noted above will serve as the basis for a book manuscript on this family's history.; and 3) Along with my wife, we have just completed the first draft (submitted to Texas Tech University Press for a children's book (9th grade level) on the life and career of Dallas Cowboys' quarterback, Tony Romo.

Jorge Iber

Select Publications

Latinos in American Football: Pathbreakers on the Gridiron, 1927 to the PresentLatinos in American Football

In 1927 Cuban national Ignacio S. Molinet was recruited to play with the Frankford Yellow Jackets of the old NFL for a single season. Mexican national Jose Martinez-Zorrilla achieved 1932 All-American honors. These are the beginnings of the Latino experience in American Football, which continues amidst a remarkable and diversified setting of Hispanic nationalities and ethnic groups. This history of Latinos in American Football dispels the myths that baseball, boxing, and soccer are the chosen and competent sports for Spanish-surname athletes. The book documents their fascination for the sport that initially denied their participation but that could not discourage their determination to master the game.

Learn more at Amazon.com 

Latinos and Latinas in American Sport: Stories Beyond Peloteros (Sport in the American West)Latinos in American Sport

This anthology expands upon the significance of sport in U.S. Latino communities by looking at sports as diverse as drag racing and community softball, the rise of Latinas in high school.

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Moments of Joy and Heartbreak: 66 Significant Episodes in the History of the Pittsburgh PiratesMoments of Joy and Heartbreak

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a long history, peppered with moments significant both to Pirates fans and Major League Baseball. While the Pirates are recognized as fielding the first all-black lineup in 1971, the 66 games in this book include one of the first matchups in the majors to involve two non-white opening hurlers (Native American and Cuban) in June 1921. We relive no-hitters, World Series-winning homers, and encounter the story of the last tripleheader ever played in major-league baseball. Some of the games are wins; some are losses. All of these essays provide readers with a sense of the totality of the Pirates' experiences: the joy, the heartbreak, and other aspects of baseball (and life) in between.

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All About Mariano RiveraAll About Mariano Rivera

Born in a poor Panamanian fishing village, Mariano River Jr. did not think he would grow up to be a famous New York Yankees pitcher. In fact, he thought that he would follow his father into the fishing industry. After he replaced a poorly-performing pitcher during an amateur baseball game, the Yankees scout saw his talent.

Mariano Rivera would go on to become a thirteen-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion. He holds two MLB records and has won many other awards. He is a favorite for induction into the Hall of Fame.

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Mike Torrez: A Baseball Biography

More Than Just PelorterosThe history of baseball is filled with players whose careers were defined by one bad play. Mike Torrez is remembered as the pitcher who gave up the infamous three-run homer to Bucky “Bleeping” Dent in the 1978 playoffs tie-breaker between the Red Sox and Yankees. Yet Torrez's life added up to much more than his worst moment on the mound. Coming from a vibrant Mexican American community that settled in Topeka, Kansas, in the early 1900s, he made it to the Majors by his own talent and efforts, with the help of an athletic program for Mexican youth that spread through the Midwest, Texas and Mexico during the 20th century. He was in the middle of many transformative events of the 1970s—such as the rise of free agency—and was an ethnic role model in the years before the “Fernandomania” of 1981. This book covers Torrez's life and career as the winningest Mexican American pitcher in Major League history.

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More Than Just Peloteros: Sports and U.S. Latino Communities

More Than Just PelorterosAlthough the Latino/a population of the United States has exploded since the 1960s, an analysis of its place in the history of American sport has, until recently, been sorely underrepresented. The thoughtful and coherent essays in More Than Just Peloteros demonstrate that participation in sport and recreation develops identity and involvement in the lives of Spanish-speaking people throughout what is now the United States. The articles feature accounts of eras and events as varied as the Latino experience itself, including horse racing in colonial San Antonio, boxing in New York City, baseball in the barrios of 1930s Chicago, basketball in a 1950s Arizona mining town, and, of course, high school football in South Texas.

As the nation's demographics continue to change, more and more Latinos/as will, undoubtedly, leave their marks on the fields of athletic competition at levels ranging from the local to the professional, the business offices of franchises and colleges, and as general consumers of American sporting events and goods. This volume recognizes and encourages the role that sport and recreation play in the day-to-day existence of Spanish speakers in the United States

Learn more at Amazon.com.

Latino American Wrestling Experience: Over 100 Years of Wrestling Heritage in the United States (e-book with Lee Maril, for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame)


Learn more at NWHOF.org.

Latinos in U.S. Sport: A History of Isolation, Cultural Identity, and Acceptance

Latinos in SportLatinos in U.S. Sport: A History of Isolation, Cultural Identity, and Acceptance is the first comprehensive exploration of Latino culture and its relationship to sport in what is now the United States. Spanning a period of 500 years from the 16th century to the present and discussing a wide range of Latino communities, regions, and sports, Latinos in U.S. Sport offers an accessible examination of the Latino sporting experience in the United States by covering topics ranging from cultural issues to economics.

Using newspaper accounts and primary sources as well as dissertations and scholarly articles from history, education, sport business, and other disciplines, the authors provide a thorough and enlightening account of this population's role in U.S. sport history. The text details the experiences of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, and others as it chronicles the community, school-based, and professional influences of Latinos within a variety of sports and sport contexts. The authors discuss the evolution of sport, games, and physical activity. They also examine the shifting perceptions both within and outside of the Latino community and the outcomes of these changes.

The timeline within the text gives readers a visual presentation of the key events and figures in this culture's history. The book highlights Latino athletes and teams who overcame great odds to succeed at the local, high school, collegiate, and professional levels and details the early participation of such individuals in international athletic competitions, such as the Olympics and Pan-American Games. In addition to examining well-known figures such as Nancy López, Chi Chi Rodríguez, Pancho González, and Roberto Clemente, special Unknown Heroes sidebars introduce readers to many lesser-known but influential athletes and coaches.

Latinos in U.S. Sport begins by detailing the games and diversions particular to the Spanish conquistadors, various Native American groups, and the integrated culture of the mestizo, and it traces the ways in which American influence moved into these regions. Moving ahead to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the text describes how European Americans used baseball as part of their attempt to bring “civilization” to the areas of the Caribbean and the Southwest. The text also discusses how the success of Cubans and other Latin Americans within Major League and Negro League Baseball helped to challenge the perception of Spanish speakers among the broader U.S. population. The final section of the book discusses the increasing presence of Latinos in all fields of sport competition, their growing presence in management and ownership of sport franchises, and their increasing economic power as consumers of athletic events.Latinos in U.S. Sport presents a long-overdue look at the history of Latino participation in multiple facets of American sport and provides a balanced and more complete history of the contribution of Spanish-speaking people to the history of U.S. sport. The text aims to generate discussion and inspire further recognition of the influence of Latinos in the U.S. sport world.

Learn more at Amazon.com.

Mexican Americans and Sports: A Reader on Athletics and Barrio Life

Mexican AmericansFor at least a century, across the United States, Mexican American athletes have actively participated in community-based, interscholastic, and professional sports. The people of the ranchos and the barrios have used sport for recreation, leisure, and community bonding.

Until now, though, relatively few historians have focused on the sports participation of Latinos, including the numerically preponderant Mexican Americans. This volume gathers an important collection of such studies, arranged in rough chronological order, spanning the period from the late 1920s to the present.

They survey and analyze sporting experiences and organizations, as well as their impact on communal and individual lives. Contributions spotlight diverse fields of athletic endeavor: baseball, football, soccer, boxing, track, and softball. Mexican Americans and Sports contributes to the emerging understanding of the value of sport to minority populations in communities throughout the United States. Those interested in sports history will benefit from the book's focus on under-studied Mexican American participation, and those interested in Mexican American history will welcome the insight into this aspect of the group's social history.

Learn more at Amazon.com.

Hispanics in the American West

Hispanics and the American WestHispanics have been in America longer than any other non-Native American ethnic group, and, like the latter, they were targeted for conquest during the initial settling of the West. Through the centuries, however, Hispanic American culture has endured and thrived, fueled by continual immigration, a powerful political and economic momentum, and a presence that is rapidly expanding beyond traditional Hispanic strongholds.

Hispanics in the American West portrays the daily lives, struggles, and triumphs of Spanish-speaking peoples from the arrival of Spanish conquistadors to the present, highlighting such defining moments as the years of Mexican sovereignty, the Mexican-American War, the coming of the railroad, the great Mexican migration in the early 20th century, the Great Depression, World War II, the Chicano Movement that arose in the mid-1960s, and more.

Coverage includes Hispanics of all nationalities (not just Mexican, but Cuban, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan, among others) and ranges beyond the "traditional" Hispanic states (Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado) to look at newer communities of Spanish-speaking peoples in Oregon, Hawaii, and Utah. The result is a portrait of Hispanic American life in the West that is uniquely inclusive, insightful, and surprising.

Learn more at Amazon.com.

Hispanics in Mormon Zion, 1912-1999

Hispanics in Mormon ZionAs immigrants came to the United States from Mexico, the term "Greater Mexico" was coined to specify the area of their greatest concentration. America's southwest border was soon heavily populated with Mexico's people, culture, and language. In Hispanics in the Mormon Zion, 1912–1999, however, Jorge Iber shows this Greater Mexico was even greater than presumed as he explores the Hispanic population in one of the "whitest" states in the Union—Utah.

By 1997, Hispanics were a notable part of Utah's population as they could be found in all of the state's major cities working in tourist, industrial, and service occupations. Although these characteristics reflect the population trends in other states, Iber centers on those aspects that set Utah's Hispanic comunidad apart from the rest.

Iber focuses on the significance of why many in the Utah Hispanic comunidad are leaving Catholicism for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). He examines how conversion affects the Spanish-speaking population and how these Hispanic believers are affecting the Mormon Church. Iber also concentrates on the geographic separation of Hispanics in Utah from their Mexican, Latin American, New Mexican, and Coloradoan roots. He examines patterns of Hispanic assimilation and acculturation in a setting which is vastly different from other Western and Southwestern states.

Learn more at Amazon.com.