Angel's catches threw his team forward
As last surviving member of an original Mexican-American fast-pitch softball team started by Newton railroad workers, Angel Torres had been looking forward to this year’s tournament Friday. He died while attending the event.
Torres started working for railroads in high school. After coming home from serving in the navy in world War II, he resumed working for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe until retiring after 40 years.
Many railroad workers took up baseball or softball after their work days on the railroad, but Mexican-Americans were not allowed to join other teams because of segregation. This led to the creation of their own team.
Patsy Torres, Angel’s daughter, spoke Tuesday about how much he enjoyed baseball.
“He used to tell a story about how he’d be doing chores, and then kids would come around and say they’re gonna play ball, and he would ditch his chores and go play,” she said.
Several of Patsy’s uncles also were on the fast-pitch team.
“The only reason he played catcher was because his brother was the team pitcher,” Patsy said. “When my uncle needed someone to practice with, he taught my father how to catch.”
While Angel slowly became inactive in baseball tournaments because of health issues, his legacy stuck with the team today.
“He was basically one of the founding players,” Patsy said. “He’s also a hall-of-famer for that league. It actually is a league now, because I found a card from ‘43 or ‘44 where he had to register with the baseball congress.”
Last modified July 8, 2021