Civil Rights Game: Why Is MLB Honoring Racists?

As MLB never ceases to remind us of its role in breaking down the walls of segregation in America, witness last weekend’s annual “Civil Right’s Game”, it’s appropriate to also annually inform the public of the honors MLB continues to bestow on some of the highest profile racists in American history.

Baseball Hall of Fame Racists: Ford Frick, Tom Yawkey, Bill Harridge

To that end, BizOfBaseball’s Maury Brown recently unearthed a document from the six most powerful men in MLB in 1946.

The 27-page “steering committee” report was authored and approved by baseball Hall of Famers Tom Yawkey (Red Sox), William Harridge (American League), Ford Frick (Future MLB Commissioner) and Phil Wrigley (Cubs), Sam Breadon (Cardinals), and Lee McPhail (Yankees).

The report was expressly designed as a formal plea to all MLB owners to keep blacks out of MLB. More specifically, it was hastily written to block the impending admittance of Jackie Robinson into MLB by Branch Rickey of the Dodgers. (Robinson made his MLB debut six months after the report was published.)

Excerpts: Read more…

ESPN Now Producing Movies For The Big Screen

As we all know, the “E” in ESPN stands for “Entertainment,” and the formation of ESPN Films last year was meant to take the network from TV sets to the big-screen. Unlike ESPN Original Productions, which focused on biopics like “3″ and “Junction Boys” and the TV series “Playmakers,” ESPN Films was specifically created to produce feature-length dramatic and documentary films for theatrical release.

Jim Jones

But after announcing the planned production of a Jackie Robinson biopic starring Robert Redford as Branch Rickey last year, ESPN Films had been relatively quiet. They had produced documentary specials such as “The Greatest Game Ever Played” and “Black Magic” for the network: interesting, but exactly the same sort of programming ESPN had already been making.

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Redford Reels in Rickey Role For Robinson Biopic

Robert Redford has signed on to portray Dodgers GM Branch Rickey in ESPN’s upcoming Jackie Robinson flick.

Robert Redford Branch Rickey

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Robert Redford as Branch Rickey in ESPN Flick

ESPN Films has thrown its yet-to-be-considerable weight behind an upcoming film for theatrical release about Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey. In an unexpected coup, Robert Redford will play Rickey, the Dodgers general manager responsible for breaking the color line in baseball.

Robert Redford

(We know we were supposed to use a “Natural” pic here, but we’ll take “Three Days of the Condor” over that one any time)

While there’s no word yet on who will play Jackie, we are already digging around on Fandango for advance tickets. After all, how could this not be phenomenal? How could anyone dampen the mood for this combination? Oh, that’s right… ESPN could let a senior VP use business speak to make us want to stab our eyes and ears out with a Buick:

“…this theatrical film was a natural extension for the company which tries to serve sports fans “however they consume sports content.”"

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