BROOKLYN, NEW YORK,
MAY 8, 1947
Today in baseball history the sports editor of the New York Herald Tribune claimed to have uncovered a plot by some members of the St. Louis Cardinals to strike rather than play a team with a black player.
Jackie Robinson had played his first game for the Dodgers three weeks earlier.
The Cardinals were playing their first series of the 1947 season against the Dodgers. The thrust of sports editor
Stanley Woodward’s story, since the Cardinals and Dodgers already played two games of a three game series, was that the alleged strike was thwarted by a stern warning from Cardinal team owner
Sam Breadon that the league would suspend any player who took part in a strike.
Breadon and others denied that any of what Woodward wrote ever took place, but several players were known to be vehemently opposed to Robinson playing and discussions of some kind of job action were not unheard of.
Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947 wasn’t the end of racism in baseball, in many ways it was just the beginning.
April 15, 1947
there were no blacks in major league baseball to put down, insult, threaten or force to stay in separate hotels. When Robinson began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers white baseball and white American had to confront its racism. Some of it was ugly.
Some of it was hopeful, such as later that May in
. Robinson was being taunted mercilessly until shortstop and team captain Pee Wee Reese, a southern white man,
walked across the infield and put his arm around Robinson’s shoulder to show baseball and all of
that a white man born in
and a black man born in
were in this together.
Baseball’s greatest experiment,
by Jules Tygiel, 1984
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