POSTED: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 3:44pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - 10:59am
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — El Paso has a long and proud baseball tradition. Peter Svarzbein, a native El Pasoan and local artist had this in mind when he produced the fourth video in his "It's More than Baseball" series sponsored by the El Paso Chihuahuas.
"Interviewing the Bowie grads and baseball champs took me back to another time," said Svarzbein. "Their perspectives reinforce the notion of progress on many levels, which lends to much of what is happening in El Paso right now. It was fascinating to listen to their stories."
The 1949 Bowie Bears team was the very first baseball champions. The team, comprised of all Mexican-American players was coached by Nemo Herrera. As the team traveled into Texas for their playoff games, they were faced with discrimination at many establishments due to the fact that the players spoke Spanish.
The video highlights three of the players from the 1949 team and follows two of them as they tour the new Chihuahua's ballpark in Downtown El Paso.
Svarzbein is currently working with Mithoff Burton Partners, the Chihuahuas' advertising firm. Mithoff Burton has been tasked with chronicling the construction of the ballpark and events leading up to opening day.
Svarzbein has an extensive portfolio of work within the El Paso art community, including his work as the Owner/Curator of the Purple Pop-Up Gallery. Svarzbein's work with the El Paso Trolley Project also became widely known within the community after his art project turned into a public attempt at reviving the trolley system in Downtown El Paso. His most recent installation "Conversos Y Tacos Kosher Gourmet Trucks est. 1492" was funded through the City of El Paso's Artist Incubator Grand and featured on NPR's "Here and Now."
"We wanted to use someone local, someone who understands El Paso and who could capture the unique story of baseball's history here and what it means to El Pasoans," said Bill Burton, CEO of Mithoff Burton Partners. "Peter fit those requirements well and his portfolio of creative work is tremendous. The video series has grown to be bigger than we originally planned, and Peter has great ideas for the 'Its More Than Baseball' project as we move forward."