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…

Smoking Gun: Red Sox Owner Was Blatant Racist

In case you don’t know, the Boston Red Sox was the last MLB team to sign a black player - 14 long years after Jackie Robinson inked a deal with the Dodgers. Because of that, there’s been plenty of speculation as to why it took the Bosox so long to integrate.

Tom Yawkey Clemente Aaron Mays All In MLB Before Red Sox Signed Black Player

Longtime baseball writer and editor Glenn Stout went back into the archives to see if he could turn up any published evidence of racism by the Red Sox Owner at that time: Tom Yawkey. What he culled, from a 1965 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED piece on Yawkey, was startling.

Upon examination, Yawkey’s final statement - “We scouted them right along, but we didn’t want one because he was a Negro. We wanted a ballplayer,” might be the most telling statement of all.

For if we follow Yawkey’s logic – “We looked for black ballplayers but we wanted talent first and foremost” – then compare it to the fact that from the time of (Jackie) Robinson’s signing through July of 1959 the Red Sox neither put an African player on the major league field who they signed themselves nor traded for one, the conclusion is inescapable: Tom Yawkey and his organization simply did not believe that any African American ballplayer had the talent to play for the Red Sox.

This, despite the fact that they were playing on every other team in baseball, and that by 1959 there were dozens and dozens of African Americans winning championships, winning Cy Young awards and MVP awards and playing on All-Star teams throughout the major leagues, players like Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Don Newcombe and many, many, many more.

But none, apparently, were good enough for Boston. “We wanted ballplayers,” indeed.

Was Red Sox Owner Tom Yawkey a Racist?

View Results

There’s more.

Read more…

Speed Read: A Handy LeBron Coronation Program

The 82-game NBA season ended with a gentle thud last night as the Bulls failed to secure the sixth spot in the East while the Spurs latched onto #3 in the West.  The Great Bennydini will be angered by this turn of events.

The Great Bennydini (Benny the Bull)

However, you can now express your joy in the NBA’s second season with your own SPORTSbyBROOKS NBA playoff matchups in convenient chart form:

Eastern Conference

  • #1 Cleveland We’ll Be Shouting ‘BOOBIE!’ as Much as Possibles vs. #8 Detroit Ballast Jettisoners
  • #2 Boston Can We Borrow a Dead Guy’s Knee for KG Like We Did for Curt Schillings vs. #7 Chicago Sixteen Guards and Whaddya Gets
  • #3 Orlando Dwight Hasn’t Figured Out a Costume Change to Make Him a Point Guard, Toos vs. #6 Philadelphia So Glad We’re Paying Elton Brand $18 Million in 2012-2013s
  • #4 Atlanta Name Three Players vs. #5 Miami Name Twos

Western Conference

  • #1 Los Angeles Kobe Clubs Baby Seals with Portuguese Water Dogs Wrapped in Veals vs. #8 Utah Deron Williams Falls Asleep Every Night Clutching a Copy of His Tear-Stained Contract After Failing to Find an Out Clauses
  • #2 Denver You’ve Got to Be Kiddings vs. #7 New Orleans Seriously, Aren’t These in the Wrong Orders
  • #3 San Antonio Flashbacks vs. #6 Dallas Hey, At Least We Haven’t Traded for Shaq Yets (Note: the above series has been moved to CBS and the Hallmark Channel as per FCC regulations around programming for the elderly.)
  • #4 Portland Maybe Next Years (But Don’t Tell Joel Przybilla’s Grandma We Said So) vs. #5 Houston There’s Also a Regression Analysis to Prove Shane Battier Makes the Best Damned Mojitos in Texas

As always, it’s the gift you didn’t even have to ask for.  Or didn’t want to.

Major League Baseball tried yet again yesterday to provide another round of gifts to Jackie Robinson, who has been feted nearly as often as Frank Sinatra since his death. Yesterday, every player in baseball wore number 42 in his honor to avoid the embarrassment of 42 wearer infighting last year.

Jackie Robinson

However, since MLB continues to be a bit short in providing affection through monetary donations, at least a couple players did their best to pursue great achievements on Robinson’s day.  Tim Wakefield took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning in Oakland before noted hater Kurt Suzuki ended the fun with a base hit.

Ian Kinsler followed up on this attempt with his own success: 6-6 at the plate with a cycle attached.  If the opposing team last night (the Orioles) happened to be your sleeper team this year, you may want to check just how deep that sleep is.

Speaking of deep sleep, former Illinois governor (and current Illinois chew toy) Rod Blagojevich apparently didn’t feel it necessary to stop at meddling with the affairs of Tribune Co. when he didn’t get his way.  He also sent a note to Cubs manager Lou Piniella to recommend a lineup change in 2007.

Rod Blagojevich

S’funny; we don’t remember Blago being so receptive to a lineup change at the state level earlier this year.  Perhaps he isn’t a big fan of having his moves micromanaged by impotent whiners who never held the position dictating his actions from afar when they’ve never been in the trenches, y’know?

Speaking of, what say we peek around the Internet with a gentle tap-tap-tapping of bullets on your window pane while you consider the effects of an on-campus bar in Redmond, WA, on Windows 7 development

  • Congratulations on playing all 82 games this season, Grant Hill.  Also, congratulations on getting your wife, Tamia, a spot at All-Star Weekend and various local charity events in Arizona.  Strong season all ’round.
  • Now that the WALL STREET JOURNAL has a sports section, expect to see sabermetric notions exposed to a larger audience.  That might explain why the guy in the cubicle next to you suddenly wants to talk about batting the pitcher eighth.
  • Best of luck with the dissertation, PhDribble.
  • Presumptive #1 NFL draft pick Matthew Stafford will be on Jimmy Fallon’s show Thursday, but Fallon won’t bring him out until three other picks have been introduced.
  • We suspect the last time an angry bear was used to sell hockey tickets involved Bruce Vilanch and the Los Angeles Kings, but this isn’t so bad, either:

Now that the non-playoff teams have been determined in the NBA, who will end up the winner in the Blake Griffin sweepstakes?

View Results

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.

Read more…

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

• Annoying analyst Billy Packer is finally sent packing by CBS.

LeBron James’ little “Vogue” cover controversy with Giselle Bundchen didn’t translate into many newsstand sales.

• Nude climbers really know how to get their rocks off.

A-Rod’s marriage quickly crumbling? Scott Boras to the rescue!

Read more…

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.”"

Read more…

Bonds’ Record* HR Ball Delivered To Hall After All

Yesterday, we told you that Barry Bonds’ home run record-breaking* ball wouldn’t be heading for the Hall of Fame any time soon. Well, change “not anytime soon” to “Tuesday night”.

Marc Ecko Barry Bonds ball Cooperstown sign

(Marc Ecko’s prized possession [pre-branding] on the road to Cooperstown)

The ASSOCIATED PRESS follows up that home run ball #756 arrived in Cooperstown, NY, last evening, compliments of fashion designer Marc Ecko. The Hall earlier reported that talks between themselves and ball owner Ecko had “unfortunately reached an impasse“, when Ecko apparently wanted to present the ball as a loan instead of a gift.

But the designer wonders where the museum ever got that idea:

Read more…

Jackie Robinson Hall of Fame Plaque Gets Update

Sometimes the players’ plaques at the National Baseball Hall of Fame get changed, usually to correct factual errors. But in Jackie Robinson’s case, the Hall decided to update his plaque to recognize the late Dodger’s achievements in breaking baseball’s color barrier.

Jackie Robinson old & new Hall of Fame plaques

In a ceremony held in Cooperstown, NY, on Wednesday, Robinson’s wife Rachel & daughter Sharon were on hand for the unveiling of Jackie’s new plaque, which now included his contributions to giving minorities a chance to play Major League Baseball. Read more…

Allison Stokke Pics; Cheerleader Likes ‘Em Large

We’re always Stokke‘d to uncover new photos of the amazing Allison.

Allison Stokke Cal

• Does a former Patriots cheerleader have a fetish for the fatties?

• The snide slapshots delivered by local scribes almost has us paying attention to the NHL playoffs.

Andruw Jones is really growing into a heavy hitter - literally.

• An Australian rules football player gets a seven-week suspension for slugging an opponent.

Read more…

MLB Loves Jackie Robinson (But Not With Cash)

Today happens to be Jackie Robinson Day, which is how we always know it’s time to beg the IRS for an extension. As noted previously, Major League Baseball will celebrate the day with ceremonies galore and by allowing everyone in North America to wear Robinson’s number.

Bud Selig and Rachel Robinson

As we all know, though, the true commitment by a corporation to a cause involves money. Corporations thrive on press releases and MLB can throw a ceremony at the drop of a hat (and the Drop of a Hat ceremony promises to be great again this season). That’s why MLB will fully fund a Jackie Robinson Scholarship for each ballclub. Fantastic!

How much will this scholarship cost? $1.2 million. Total. All 30 clubs. How… thoughtful.

Read more…