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.
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.)
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.
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.
#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
#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.)
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.
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.
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?
Kobe Bryantand Elmo beatboxing. Look… to misquote David Mamet, that’s why they call it ‘video’:
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.
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.
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.
(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.”"
(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:
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.
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…
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.