An unexpected family reunion on a baseball field in Carson

Father and son hug on baseball field
Luis Marquez, who hadn’t seen his son in three years, hugs his son Carlos Marquez, who is visiting Los Angeles with his little league baseball team the “Jalos” from Jalostotitlan, Mexico,
(James Carbone)

When Luis Márquez’s wife called him from Mexico and told him that there was a chance he’d be able to see his young son Carlos in a few day, he broke down and cried.

Márquez left Jalostotitlan, Jalisco three years ago with the goal of earning enough money “en el norte” to return to his homeland to buy a ranch and become a farmer near his friends and family.

It had been three years since he had seen the second of his three sons, Carlos and he wasn’t going to miss the chance to see him when his youth baseball team traveled to Carson for a tournament at Stevenson Park. Carlos drove the 400 miles from his home in Vallejo to watch his son’s team play four games against local youth teams.

And after three years they were finally able to see each on July 1st.

Youth baseball players lined up on baseline.
The “Jalos” little league baseball team visiting from Jalostotitlan, Mexico introduced before one of their games.
(James Carbone/Los Angeles Times en Español)

“To drive so far to see my son here is huge and very special”, Luis said to L.A. Times en Español. “We broke down in tears and now I am able to stay with him in my hotel and we are spending a lot of time together”.

The reunion also helped Luis keep the promise he made to his family after making the dangerous journey from his hometown in Mexico to the United States. He plans to return to Mexico very soon.

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“She is the teacher and educator, I just provide”, Luis said about his wife’s work raising three children while his is working in the U.S. “My son was a bit nervous when he saw me, but now he is much better”.

Luis, who works in construction, mentioned how difficult the journey from Mexico to the United States was for him and his 16-year-old nephew who also embarked on the trip north him, and he considers himself lucky to have survived the trek.

The journey took almost a month and Luis breaks down when he talks about the difficulties he faced in order to find a better life for his family.

“It was a very difficult experience, very bad”, explained Luis. “Five days, three of them without water, in the desert. There were several times I thought I wouldn’t make it. We couldn’t breath at times because of all the dust. We thought the border patrol was going to catch us, but we were lost and even they couldn’t find us”.


During the stretch from Tecate, Mexico to Indio, California, Luis said two people got separated from the larger traveling group.

Youth baseball player throws a pitch
Carlos Marquez, center, pitches for the Jalos, a little league baseball team visiting from Jalostotitlan, Mexico.
(James Carbone/Los Angeles Times en Español)

“We were desperate, we didn’t have water and we lost two people along the way.”, Luis said through tears. “Two of the men in our group left us and we didn’t hear from them again. We don’t think they made it”.

The reunion between Carlos y Luis was a pleasant accident, according to Miguel Jiménez, president of the organization that brought the Mexican youth team to the U.S. The team was able to make the trip thanks to the non-profit group Fundación Jalos that received enough donations from their Facebook page to send the 14 boys and two managers to the United States from June 30th to July 8th.

“I was very excited to see him and we sat and talked and I was really happy:, said Luis. “Since I have arrived I have really liked everything and I told my dad about all my games”.

Leer en español: Una visita de un equipo juvenil de béisbol, de Jalostotitlán, Jalisco, al Sur de California causó un reencuentro familiar inesperado y experiencias especiales para todos sus integrantes.

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One of the team’s managers, Moisés Márquez Mendoza was also able to reconnect with his son, who now lives in Modesto. The two hadn’t seen each other in several years.


“My son came to watch the games and it had been about three years since we’ve seen each other”, Mendoza said. “He was very excited to see me and he stayed with me all week”.

The Mexican team was also able to take in some of the sites around Southern California. The team visited Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play and took in a game at Dodger Stadium. Baseball wasn’t the only item on the agenda as they also visited Disneyland and saw a L.A. Sparks game at Arena.

“We are very grateful to all the donations from Fundacion Jalos and to all the business people that have helped us with food like La Vallarta Northgate that gave us a lot of meat to grill”, Miguel Jiménez, president of Fundacion Jalos. “People like Benigno Jiménez who paid for 20 tickets to Disneyland and Gerardo Tabares and his brother who bought us 20 tickets to the Dodgers game”.

After the success of this most recent trip, some are already thinking about bigger and better things for 2024.

“We have to do it better next year, even though this year was a great success”, said Camilo Renteria, one of the founders of Fundacion Jalos who know lives in La Habra. “We want to bring more teams, and we want to hit a home run. There is a lot we can do”.