29 February 2008

Robinson, Reese and "Dem Bums" of Brooklyn

The All-American game


Ebbets Field, Brooklyn NY(2)

"Dem Bums"--Brooklyn Dodgers

I'm not the most ardent fan of baseball, especially today's modern version. What with all the controversy lately, I've been starting to become more interested in baseball history. There's quite a bit of lore, stories, games, the pitch, and the catch. There's a lot for me to learn.

I've been visiting the Brooklyn Public Library lately and in their archives section, they've got information on the old Brooklyn Dodgers, before they moved out west. I then learned about an incident (in the NYTimes) involving two great players on the team:

Jackie Robinson(3)

Pee Wee Reese(4)

The year was 1947 and the infamous "color line" had just been broken in major league baseball. The story goes Robinson was having a bad day at the field and the crowd was on their feet, railing against him. Said the Times:

"...With Robinson receiving death threats and heckling and taunts from the crowd in a ballpark on the road, Pee Wee Reese walked over to him on the infield at a point either before or during a game and offered a quiet but significant gesture of friendship and comradeship...." (Source: NYTimes)

From this point, the integration of baseball in the late 1940's started a seismic shift in American society that would come to a head in the fifties and sixties in places such as Little Rock and Birmingham. No longer would African-Americans be considered second class citizens.

There's a ton of information here, too much for one post almost, but I wanted to list it. Try the links below...there's some great stuff!

Have a great day, see you tomorrow.


American Memory Project-Baseball

Brooklyn Public Library

NYTimes article on Robinson and Reese

Wikipedia: Baseball's color line

Wikipedia: Jackie Robinson

Wikipedia: Pee Wee Reese

No comments: