Tags: jose feliciano | national anthem | controversy | world series

Jose Feliciano National Anthem Controversy in 1968 Remembered

Image: Jose Feliciano National Anthem Controversy in 1968 Remembered
Jose Feliciano attends the 'Willkommen bei Carmen Nebel' show at Velodrom on Sept. 13, 2014, in Berlin, Germany. (Clemens Bilan/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 02 November 2017 05:01 PM

Jose Feliciano performed the national anthem before Game 5 of the 1968 World Series, sparking outrage that is now all but forgotten.

The blind-from-birth singer from Puerto Rico was just beginning to hit the charts in 1968 when he was asked to perform the anthem as the Detroit Tigers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals, NPR reported. He played a Latin-infused version of the anthem that got both cheers and boos.

The next day, fans were quoted in the newspapers as calling the rendition "disgraceful and disrespectful," according to Deadspin. The Tigers office was flooded with angry phone calls. Up until Feliciano's performance, no singers had taken liberties with the anthem or performed it any other way than straight.

Some felt that it was a form of protest on Feliciano's part, but he said it was an attempt to honor the country he loved with his talents, NPR reported. Still, he was blackballed on radio stations for the next six years, and some wanted him to be deported back to Puerto Rico for the act.

The outrage may have a parallel to that surrounding the current anthem protests taking place in the NFL and in limited form in other sports venues, NPR suggested, pointing out that some of those protests had their roots in the black power fist-pumping of several Olympic athletes that same year.

Feliciano and his version of the anthem were eventually accepted, with Feliciano being asked to come back in 2010 and sing it again, and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown playing it on a loop, Deadspin reported.

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Jose Feliciano performed the national anthem before Game 5 of the 1968 World Series, sparking outrage that is now all but forgotten.
jose feliciano, national anthem, controversy, world series
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2017-01-02
Thursday, 02 November 2017 05:01 PM
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