Monday, December 09, 2013

Dodger Coorespondence: A Jackie Robinson Letter to the Press

Over the years, I have featured numerous hand written letters by former Dodger players.  Usually they were written to a fan, but once-in-awhile a letter pops up that is even more intimate.  Over at Memory Lane Auctions they have a personal letter written by Jackie Robinson to Milwaukee Sentinel reporter Lou Chapman, and it is worth checking out.  

Dated February 10th, 1955, it reads:
Dear Lou,

I received your nice letter and am sorry for the misunderstanding. I am sure you can appreciate my position when my wife tells me over the phone there is another rhubarb in Mil. (Milwaukee). It was hard for me to picture anything I had said or done to write one. Then to see a statement by Matthews really made me angry. Not at Eddie, but the report out of your city. Certainly your story should not have created any more of a fuss than what I said.

If I in any way cast any reflection upon you please accept my apology and I hope this will end the discussion. I guess regardless of what I do it will always be the same. As one newspaperman told me its foolish for them to pick the good things one does because they don't make a story.

Best wishes to you and I hope this does not alter our friendship. Sincerely, Jackie Robinson.
As you can see, Jackie is not happy with the press - who is, right?  Apparently, there had been some reports regarding a little tussle Jackie had with Braves' 3rd baseman Eddie Matthews.  Unfortunately, I do not know what was specifically written, but a little bit of research pointed to a potential incident.

In an August game in 1954 Jackie Robinson and Hall of Famer Eddie Matthews ended up in a little scrap.  I'm not exactly sure if fist were thrown, but considering the participants that wouldn't be surprising.  Jackie certainly wasn't a pushover, and Matthews was as tough as they came.  Below is a breakdown of what happened:
Aug 1, 1954 - Dodgers Clem Labine beans Joe Adcock in the 4th. His helmet apparently saves him from a serious injury‚ but he is taken out of the game as a precautionary measure. He will appear in the starting line-up tomorrow. Gene Conley reciprocates by knocking down Jackie Robinson in the 6th and Robinson ends up scrapping with Eddie Mathews. The Braves win 14-6; their 10th win in a row.
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