Sports historian Jorge Iber’s newest book chronicles this Mexican American athlete’s rise to prominence and later life. Beginning with the Rivera family in Crystal City, Texas, a hotbed of Chicano activism in the late 1960s, Señor Sack seeks to understand how athletic success impacted the Rivera family’s most famous son on his route to stardom. Football provided this family with opportunities that were not often available to other Mexican Americans during the 1940s and 1950s.
While Rivera’s injury seriously derailed his life, Señor Sack also chronicles his struggle to regain a sense of purpose. With great effort and despite adversity, over the final two decades of his life, Rivera found meaning in helping minority youths in his community of San Antonio, serving as an example of what can be accomplished even under incredibly trying circumstances. Ultimately, the true legacy of Gabe Rivera is not just on the football field, but also in the lives he touched with his volunteer work. One of the most storied Red Raiders and a legend of Texas football, Gabe Rivera powered through many obstacles to make way for future generations of Latinos in American sports.
“From the GI Bill to today’s athletic scholarships, sports proved a significant pathway for Latinxs to access otherwise denied spaces of higher learning. Absent the crucial work of Jorge Iber, the transformative presence of these Latinx athletes would remain unknown and untold. With his trademark encyclopedic sports knowledge and surgically precise attention to microcosms of Tejano life, Iber’s tour de force biography of Gabe ‘Señor Sack’ Rivera brings vitally alive an epic journey that ripples across history, culture, and the sociopolitical.” --Frederick Luis Aldama, coauthor of Latinos in the End Zone