So-Called Integration of Major League Baseball Was an Insult

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The remarks are in author Mark Ribowsky’s book “A Complete History of the Negro Leagues.” In it, Rickey presumes to tell black Americans how to act – and react – to Robinson’s integration of MLB.

“Rickey went to great lengths to admonish the black community against getting too carried away,” Ribowsky wrote. “Rickey implored them not to make Robinson into a political cause célèbre, not to stage ‘parades and welcoming committees’ or to hold ‘Jackie Robinson days.’

“To pound home the point,” Ribowsky continued, “baseball’s self-styled Great Emancipator was blunt, some might have said offensive. ‘You’ll get drunk. You’ll fight. You’ll get arrested,’ Rickey lectured his audience of well-heeled blacks, part of the growing black bourgeoisie. ‘You’ll whine and dine the player until he’s fat and futile. You’ll symbolize his importance into a national comedy and an ultimate tragedy.’”

This drivel – which WASN’T heard in the movie “42,” by the way – deserved an “Oh no this white man didn’t!” reaction of black folks in 1947, but it was not forthcoming. I guess our people were so glad that just one of us integrated MLB that we were ready to take just about any insult.

And what was with this business of integrating only one, lone black person into MLB? Were Rickey serious about integrating, the man would have INTEGRATED.

That would have meant choosing at least two black Negro League players, not just one, at least so that Robinson wouldn’t have had to take that heat alone.

And the Negro Leagues didn’t just have black players. There were black umpires. There were black coaches and managers.

Negro League teams had black front office personnel. The teams had black OWNERS, for heaven’s sake.

Were Rickey more worried about genuine integration and less worried about his legacy as the Abe Lincoln of baseball, he’d have brought that second black player to the Dodgers along with Robinson. He could have added some black front office personnel as well.

Black players did indeed follow Robinson into MLB. Black umpires, coaches, managers, front office personnel and owners didn’t make the same trip. They weren’t welcome.

Within a few short years after 1947, the viable black baseball clubs of the old Negro Leagues had been integrated out of existence.

That might have been the greatest insult of all.

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8 thoughts on “So-Called Integration of Major League Baseball Was an Insult

  1. From da article:

    “And the Negro Leagues didn’t just have black players. There were black umpires. There were black coaches and managers.
    Negro League teams had black front office personnel. The teams had black OWNERS, for heaven’s sake.
    Were Rickey more worried about genuine integration and less worried about his legacy as the Abe Lincoln of baseball, he’d have brought that second black player to the Dodgers along with Robinson. He could have added some black front office personnel as well.
    Black players did indeed follow Robinson into MLB. Black umpires, coaches, managers, front office personnel and owners didn’t make the same trip. They weren’t welcome.
    Within a few short years after 1947, the viable black baseball clubs of the old Negro Leagues had been integrated out of existence.
    That might have been the greatest insult of all.”

    Forget Negro League non players going to MLB. Like I said before Black people gave up ownership in the Negro Leagues so a couple of brothas (Jackie and others) can play in White baseball (Major Leagues)

  2. For those who watched “42″, Richey did state “it was about the “green” dollars! The same thing happened when Brown v. Board of Education was decided, it economically destroy black families when black teachers were unable to get jobs in the newly integrated school system. Integration of baseball was to crush that black economic base it produced, and we didn’t see that fast ball coming!

    • True dat on your post! Nobody in the Black community likes to talk about the bad side of integration that is effecting Blacks today. Everybody is “big upping” Jackie Robinson but not the bad side of what Jackie did.

  3. Jackie started in the minor leagues in 1946 and on his team was Johnny Wright. The Dodgers also had Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella on a different minor league team. Roy Campanella joined Jackie and the Dodgers in 1948 so Jackie was only alone that first year.

    What many do not realize is that Larry Doby joined the Cleveland Indians in 1947 just a few months after Jackie started with Brooklyn. Jackie was the first in the National league and Doby the first in the American league and just a few months apart.

  4. The sole purpose of “integration” was not altruistic at all. The elephant in the room at the time was that the negro leagues would sell out the white ball parks they rented while the MLB was struggling with attendance. How best do you grow your base? Weaken the negro leagues by taking all of their stars so that the fans come. I am also insulted that they keep saying Jackie was the first black to play baseball- the honor went to Fleetwood Walker who played around the turn of the century. 42 was more HIStory…

  5. “The notion was that if Robinson fought back, it would reflect on black people in general.
    So WE were the ones facing Jim Crow, segregation, poverty, inadequate housing, discrimination in housing and the job market, LYNCHING, and WE were the ones that had to prove we were fit to integrate?”

    Wow, that is a great point. We really all should be insulted. While we are at it, we should all be insulted by that horrible Uncle Tom, I forgot his name, who once said something just as awful, along the lines of:

    “Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them.”

    What kind of low down brother would say something so insulting to the black race?

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