San Francisco Giants’ Sergio Romo, who threw the series-winning last strike out in the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, strode through the city during the team’s celebratory victory parade today wearing a t-shirt with the words: “I just look illegal.”

Romo comes from Brawley, Calif. a small, remote farming town about 20 miles north of the Mexican border. Romo was raised in a baseball-loving family, and is the grandson of migrant workers.

LA Times has more details about how the small-town kid ended up in the big leagues:

Many of these players would cross the Mexican border on weekends to compete in adult leagues in the city of Mexicali. Promising young players would be invited to play shortly after they entered high school. In this way, a devotion to the game was passed from one generation to the next.

So when pitcher Sid Monge broke in with the Angels in 1975, many of the players in town felt he took part of them to the major leagues with him. They felt the same way about Rudy Seanez, who played 17 big league seasons with nine teams, including the Dodgers. And now they feel like that about Romo.

“Everybody has a little story about Rudy, Sergio and Sid,” said Rusty Garcia, who was Seanez’s pitching coach at Brawley Union High.

Romo is remembered as the child who used to tag along with his father on weekends to Mexicali. Memories of those days were shared over lunch recently at Las Chabelas, where six men gathered at a back table to trade stories.

“Remember how much of a pain he was?” Reyes asked the others. “Sergio was so hyper when he was a little kid.”

“Romo used his platform to show how ridiculous the notion is for anyone to be considered ‘illegal,’ said Monica Novoa, who leads the Drop the I-Word campaign. “He also is pointing to how this dehumanizing, inaccurate language goes hand in hand with racial profiling.”

This story includes reporting by Julianne Hing.

Check out some responses from Twitter and Instagram below:

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/10/sergio_romo_sf_giants_world_series_champ_declares_i_just_look_illegal.html


Thank you for printing out this Colorlines.com article. If you liked this article, please make a donation today at colorlines.com/donate to support our ongoing news coverage, investigations and actions to promote solutions.