Seventy Years After Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball Is Still a White Man’s Sport – Slate Magazine

As William Rhoden noted in the New York Times in 2014, Robinson didn’t leave the style of the Negro Leagues behind when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. His “speed and daring,” particularly his steals of home, were a trademark of black baseball. “At that time, [white] baseball was a base-to base thing,” Negro Leagues legend Buck O’Neil said in an interview for Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball. “But in our baseball … if you walked, you stole second … you actually scored runs without a hit.” Robinson’s aggression on the base paths infuriated his opponents, particularly the white ones. Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Russ Meyer, annoyed at watching Robinson dance off third base, yelled, “Go ahead you nigger, try to steal.” Robinson did try. He was safe at home.


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