When Vincent Nava became the first Mexican American to play professional baseball in the United States in 1882, it forced the sport to reckon with the place of individuals who did not fit neatly into the Black/white color line it had recently imposed, questioning if an ethnically Latin player should participate in a profession designated by and for white men. For Nava and his team, baseball became a way to experiment with whiteness and its corresponding characteristics of masculinity, social mobility, and identity. Nava's experiences mirrored those of many other Mexican Americans in their pursuit of equality and whiteness as a strategy to deter racial hostilities and to gain access to segregated spaces. Nava's attempts to circumnavigate the color line and the continuous negotiation of his identity within the sport provide critical insights to help deepen our understanding of the fluidity of the race-making process, how non-white populations resisted oppression, and how sports can enrich those conversations.

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