One of the Best Baseball Books (2003) Elysian Fields Quarterly
While some Latin American superstars have overcome discrimination to strike gold in baseball's big leagues, thousands more Latin American players never make it to "The Show." Stealing Lives focuses on the plight of one Venezuelan teenager and documents abuses that take place against Latin children and young men as baseball becomes a global business. The authors reveal that in their efforts to secure cheap labor, Major League teams often violate the basic human rights of children.
As a young boy growing up in Venezuela, Alexis Quiroz dreamed of playing in the Major Leagues. Alexis's dreams were like those of thousands of other boys in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, and Major League teams encouraged such dreams by recruiting Latin children as young as 10 and 11 years old. Determined to become a big league player, Alexis finished high school early and dedicated himself to landing a contract with a Major League team. Alexis signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1995 at age 17 and then began a harrowing ordeal of exploitation, mistreatment, and disrespect at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, including playing for the Cubs' Dominican Summer League team in appalling living conditions. Alexis's baseball career came to an abrupt end by an injury for which the Cubs provided no adequate medical treatment. The story continues, however, with Alexis's pursuit of justice in the United States to ensure that other Venezuelan and Dominican boys do not encounter similar experiences.
What happened to Alexis is not an isolated case-Major League teams routinely deny Latin children and young men the basic protections that their U.S. counterparts take for granted. This exploitation violates international legal standards on labor standards and the human rights of children. Stealing Lives concludes by analyzing various reforms to redress the inequities big league baseball creates in its globalization.