What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Every year in mid-April, Major League Baseball holds it’s annual celebration of Jackie Robinson. We all know the story, but far too many of us don’t know the TRUE story. America has become a nation of people who don’t really embrace facts anymore; they tend to cherry-pick information to support whatever they want to believe. The problem is that means false narratives can easily take root, and can even more easily accepted as fact. This is why we live in a world where people will cite Wikipedia when we all know can be monstrously inaccurate.
Another problem is that when one questions a narrative that is rooted in an political ideology, the inquisitor becomes subject to dismissive smearing and/’or labeling. That;s exactly what’s going to happen here. I can already see my inbox getting blown-up over some things I’m going to point out. Hence, here comes the proverbial “couch.” Like I said, we all know the commonly-accepted Robinson story; the man was one of the great baseball players of all-time and he’s a seriously important figure in American history, not just in the world of sport.
Having said that, it’s really time for a “there, I said it moment” in regards to may things people either misunderstand or flat-out don’t know.
1) Robinson Wasn’t Baseball’s First Black Player
The MLB Network is the only entity I’ve seen that gets this right. There’s a debate as to whether the “first black in professional baseball” title belongs to John “Bud” Fowler, who was a second baseman for a professional team in New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1872. But there’s no questioning the first black man in major league baseball was a catcher named Moses Fleetwood Walker who played for Toledo of the American Association in the 1880’s.
This makes Robinson not the first black player in baseball, rather it makes him the first after a six-decade absence of them. This is an important distinction; the reasons for which I will point out later.
2) Most Leagues Never Had Written Rules Excluding Black Players
Before the establishment of the American and National Leagues, what we consider today to be the “major leagues,” baseball had a governing body known as the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP). This organization only held sway over amateur baseball, and in 1867 it did issue a decree stating that only whites could uphold the “gentlemanly character” of amateur baseball and the only way to prevent a “rupture on political grounds” was to keep non-white players out of America’s national past-time.
However, this was largely ignored by professional baseball teams who valued winning games more than playing to racial attitudes; therefore baseball in the late 19th century had multitudes of non-white players.
But by the turn of the century this changed in the major leagues, thanks largely to Charles Comiskey and Cap Anson, the owner and the manager respectively of the Chicago White Sox. Anson, refused to let his team play an exhibition game against Newark of the International League because Newark planned to start George Stovey, a black pitcher. Later that year Anson prevented the New York Giants from signing a contract with Stovey. In reporting the Stovey story, a Newark newspaper printed “if anywhere in the world the social barriers are broken down, it is on the baseball field. There many men of low birth and poor breeding who are the idols of the rich and cultured; the best man is he who plays best.”
Pay attention to that line, because you’re going to see it again.
Meanwhile, Comiskey becomes the first guy in baseball to make serious money, and he’s also the first guy to realize that if baseball is going to grow in America, it’s going to be in the South. Major league and minor league baseball are well-established in the industrial North, but big-league baseball had yet to exist south or west of St. Louis. Comiskey then persuaded the other owners that signing blacks to play baseball was ultimately not in the best interests of the game; hence the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” which kept baseball all-white until 1947.
3) Branch Rickey Gets Too Much Credit for Re-Integrating Baseball
As the president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey is often given sole credit for bring Jackie Robinson to baseball. While it is true that Rickey not only had the guts to do that, he also had the savvy to understand that he would either be creating an icon or an abject failure. This is why Rickey went through an exhaustive effort looking for not a “sure-thing” star player whose talents were undeniable, but a guy with a resolve to endure what could be a pretty ugly ride. The narrative which gets lost here is it was the actions of another which blazed a trail or Rickey; actions which made the end of the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” not only possible, but inevitable.
Veeck had been a fan of the Negro Leagues since his early teens. He had also admired Abe Saperstein’s Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, which was based in Chicago. Saperstein saved Veeck from financial disaster early on in Milwaukee by giving him the right to promote the Globetrotters in the upper Midwest in the winter of 1941–42.
Enter Bill Veeck, who ironically would end up being the owner of the Chicago White Sox. But in the fall of 1942, Veeck was not yet an owner. The Philadelphia Phillies were bankrupt and in need of a new owner. Veeck quickly secured financing to buy the Phillies via a partnership with owner of the Harlem Globetrotters and uber-sports promoter Abe Saperstein. Veeck made it clear that he was not going to abide by any “Gentlemen’s Agreements,”and that under his ownership, the Phillies were going to become a de facto all-star team from the Negro Leagues.
Although he knew Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis was an ardent segregationist, Veeck did not believe Landis would have the gall to say black players were unwelcome in baseball while blacks were fighting in World War II. However, Landis blocked the sale, assumed control of the team using it’s financial insolvency as the justification, and ultimately sold the team to lumber baron William D. Cox. Veeck may have failed in his attempt to buy the Phillies, but he succeeded in firing a shot across baseball’s bow; it’s no accident the Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a contract a few years later.
4) Integration Was More About Winning on the Field Than Anything Else
This is why before you start waving some “social justice” banners saluting Veeck as a champion of “diversity,” understand that he didn’t give a damn about socio-political implications; he knew he could sign black players for a fraction of what white players with similar levels of talent would cost. Veeck was a business man who knew he was buying a bad organization with crippling financial liabilities. The “bottom line” is that the bottom line trumps all.
The same can be said for Rickey. He saw that Veeck’s attempt to buy the Phillies meant black players would be in baseball sooner rather than later, and that but being smart about how they were brought into the game, it would ensure a steady supply of talented players for the Dodgers for years to come. You can quote me all the pro-civil rights stuff Rickey said later in his life, but you can’t tell me that Rickey’s primary motivation for reaching out to tap the vast amount of black baseball talent which existed in this country at the time was beating the other teams to it.
If you doubt that, consider the following. The teams on the top of the heap, like the White Sox at the turn of the 20th century were very much interested in keeping talent out of the hands of the competition because they wanted to stay on top. That’s why a guy like Veeck was so dangerous; don’t forget the Phillies were the Cubs long before the Cubs were…meaning they were the league’s monument to futility. They had nothing to lose. The Dodgers prior to Rickey’s arrival weren’t much better; they were another original National League team who went a long time before they won anything; Brooklyn’s sole World Series didn’t come until 1955. The inverse is exactly why the Yankees were one of the last teams to integrate; they didn’t need another talent source as they were already loaded.
5) Baseball’s Idolization Of Robinson Proves Race In America is all About Black and White
Here’s what is going to get me bags of hate mail, because I’m about to expose a truth more inconvenient than Al Gore’s interest in saving the earth is in the fact his waistline is now of planetary circumference. The “social justice warrior” crowd loves to sell a bit of bilge about race in America being strictly a construct of society, economics, or whatever other college-campus crap they’re selling this week. The reality is that race relations in America used to be so simply binary (how’s that for stealing a term from the SJWs?)…it was literally black and white.
But then the demographics of America changed. Sometime in the last few decades, blacks got passed by Hispanics in America as the largest minority in terms of population. That meant that all the “do-gooder” liberals who pretend to give a shit about black people while doing things that keep blacks as a permanent under-class in this country had to re-affirm the nonsense that keep people from realizing that the Democrat Party is now and has always been the real party of racism in this country. It is the mother of inconvenient truths for many in America today to realize that all the great segregationist governors of the 1960’s South were all Democrats and that when the South became solidly Republican, it fundamentally changed…much as did the American inner-city as they devolved into a progressive vision of an industrialized version of the third-world under 60 years of Democratic control.
Here’s why that matters. The New American Left still controls the tone of the conversation in race in America, which is why you aren’t allowed to discuss the demise of urban America; nor are you allowed to expose the fraudulent nature of baseball’s approach to race relations.
That’s why I’m going get called a “racist” because there’s a narrative about race in baseball from which deviation is not tolerated. I’m not allowed to point out the myths around the Jackie Robinson story, because doing so makes it possible to illustrate the false narrative it contains which is embodied in comments made by the likes of Gary Sheffield.
Sheffield has a long history of being a racial bomb-thrower, but his position about the declining number of blacks in baseball is both demonstrably false and needlessly inflammatory. Granted, as a percentage of the whole has declined, but Sheffield’s assertion that drop is due to racism is simple folly. Baseball, and sports in general, are some of the last great meritocracies left in America. Jackie Robinson wasn’t brought into baseball as some sort of fore-runner to “Affirmative Action;” rather baseball made a place for him because he was a great player. That’s how it works…the best players in the world make it to the major leagues, period. Given the huge amount of money involved in professional sports, any franchise that decides it will not have players based on race is simply committing suicide.
Sheffield’s “racism” allegation also completely ignores the huge number of Latino players in baseball. If you watched the World Baseball Classic last month, it was almost impossible not to notice that teams like Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic were loaded with top quality major league players. Top that off with up-and-coming nations like the Netherlands (via the Dutch Antilles), and teams which didn’t qualify like Panama and Mexico also have rosters with major-league talent. I’m not even going to get into the burgeoning talent happening in the Asian leagues; the point is that America is no longer the sole producer of baseball players, and hasn’t been for quite some time.
Now for the gut-punch. Being “black” in America isn’t so much of social construct as the “social justice warriors” would have you believe; it’s rather about construct a narrative based on socio-economic victimization with its roots tracing all the back to the days of slavery. An interesting thing happens when you combine that with a de facto classification system where you’re DNA doesn’t decide your race; a social construct does. Don’t forget, we live in a country where Bruce Jenner can decide he’s a “woman” and gets called a “hero,” and Rachel Dolezal claimed to be “black” and the SJWs destroyed her.
That means before you decide to sharpen your internet crayon to call me names, ask yourself a question. Why aren’t the Latino players of African descent considered “black?” After all, the American South wasn’t exclusive in it’s use of slaves, nor was it the first. The African slave trade started to provide cheap labor for the sugar and coffee colonies run by the the British, French, and Spanish in the Caribbean. David Ortiz’ ancestors got hauled here on the same slave ships as did Gary Sheffield’s and mine.
The problem is that deep-down in places they don’t want to admit, the SJW crowd knows keeping the myth that wide-spread institutional racism still exists in America is part and parcel to keeping the lifeblood of the socio-economic rhetoric of “racism” in America alive…”white guilt.” The preservation of that myth is so crucial to the New American Left they’ve adopted neo-Fascist tactics to silence anybody who questions it. That’s also why they’ve adopted Goebbels-like techniques to further the false narrative. The number of American “blacks” in baseball is dropping, but the number of players with African lineage regardless of their country of birth has been rising for 30 years.
It’s a simple “bottom line.” Baseball is undergoing a transformation, much like many other things in America, and as much as much as some want to deify Jackie Robinson, the cause upon which that cause began has undergone a similar change. However, that change would horrify it’s founders. Anybody who thinks Martin Luther King, Jr. would be in favor of the movement he started morphing into a de facto anti-police terrorist group, inverted segregationist “safe spaces,” and virulent anti-white racism is simply delusional.
There’s a great deal of irony in the fact that those who would call themselves “progressive” don’t seem to realize that. In fact, those will be the same people who are going to send me the hate mail. They don’t seem to understand that all the things I just mentioned go hand-in-hand with the statements of the Gary Sheffields of the world because they all fly in the face of Luther’s dream of a day when men are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.