On Tuesday, April 15, 1947, the famous “Ebbets field” hosted a game between the “Brooklyn Dodgers “and” Boston Braves” — the season opened with a game of the best teams in the National League of those times. Then future members of the Hall of Fame, multiple participants in the All-Star Game, and lesser-known players who can turn the tide when the leaders do not get along with the game took the field. However, all the attention of fans was drawn to the Dodgers rookie — his name will always be remembered by baseball fans.
28-year-old Jack Roosevelt Robinson is considered to be the man who forever erased the invisible line that separated colored players from Major League Baseball. It is believed that there were other worthy candidates — more experienced pitcher Satchel page and catcher Josh Gibson, or young outfielder Larry Dobie (he will become the first black player in the American League in three months). But what made managers who never looked at athletes with the wrong skin color finally turn their attention to them?
Of course, there were many reasons for this — from the banal desire to strengthen the team and a slightly more sophisticated way to increase the number of fans in the stadium to the quite noble goal of restoring the usual way of life after the war and “getting rid of universal injustice” ™ . Many teams decided to break the gentlemen’s agreement that “no blacks on teams” — some at the call of their hearts, others at the behest of those in power. The same Jackie Robinson on April 16, 1945, took part in a viewing of players hosted by the Boston Red SOx — but this triout turned out to be just a show-off, which was arranged to appease an influential Boston lawmaker, a supporter of integration. By the way, the Red socks only included a black player in their roster in 1959 — the last of the original 16 Major League teams.
Back during World War II, the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers (then playing in the minor leagues), bill Vick, wanted to buy the Philadelphia Phillies, who were going through bad times. In 1942, the team from the “city of brotherly love” won only 42 victories in 161 games. The financial situation of the club was also deplorable — after that season, there was not enough money even for a trip to spring training in Florida. Bill Veck was one step away from buying the Phillies, but he told MLB Commissioner Kennesaw mountain Landis about his plans to sign the Negro League stars. Landis made sure that Veck didn’t get the team. The Phillies were sold to William Cox — it took them another decade to start winning. And bill Veck will not give up his plans and in a few years will buy out the Cleveland Indians, where Larry Dobie will make his debut… The Phillies would put a black player on the field for only the third time since the end, in 1957.
Modern-day Dodgers play on Jackie Robinson Day
And it should be noted that it was in the debut season of Jackie Robinson that the “Rookie of the year”award appeared. It is debatable whether the magnificent performance of number forty-two influenced the establishment of this award, which will later be named in his honor, but it is impossible to overestimate the influence of Jackie Robinson on the baseball world. The national League’s best pitcher of the season award (NL Cy Young Award) in its first year of existence in 1956 also went to African-American don Newcomb. The first black basketball players came to the NBA in 1950, the first black hockey player – in 1958 (canadian William O’ree, who, by the way, met Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn). Gradually, black quarterbacks came to football — Bernard Curtis in the Canadian League in 1951 and Willis tower in the NFL in 1953.