Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Commissioner Happy Chandler Discussed Role in Integrating Baseball in Letter For Sale at Legendary Auctions

The best part about following the large Baseball auction houses is not the fantastic cards and memorabilia that they have.  Although, they are fun to gaze at.  Instead, I enjoy keeping tab because of the amazing amount of Baseball history that is often hidden in plain sight. 

(Dick Perez postcard of Chandler)
For instance, check out this letter that is currently for sale at Legendary Auctions.  It was written by former Kentucky Governor and MLB Commissioner Albert "Happy" Chandler to a curious fan in 1987.  In it Chandler describes his role in desegregating the game, while also (somewhat) diminishing the part that Branch Rickey played.  In fact, he sounds a bit bitter about being left out of history.

As you may know, just prior to the start of the 1947 season (Jackie's rookie year) the 16 team owners got together to debate and vote on whether he should be allowed into the league.  They voted 15-1 to not let him play.  As you can imagine, the result was not what the Dodgers wanted, and as we soon learned, it was not the result the Commissioner wanted either.  So, they worked together to make history happen.  Per Happy Chandler:
As soon as that meeting was over, Rickey, who had cast the only affirmative vote, called me and asked me to permit him to come to my place in Woodford Country to discuss the Jackie Robinson situation.  He came here and for an hour or so, at my cabin at the backside of my place here in the country, we discussed fully his wish to bring Jackie Robinson into the Major Leagues.  He said that in view of the 15-1 vote of the club owners, it was impossible for him to bring Jackie Robinson from Montreal to Brooklyn without my full cooperation and support.  This was a fact, and he and I both recognized it.

I told him that it was unjust and unfair and that they could not any longer justify complete segregation with respect to Baseball.  I told him to bring Robinson in and, notwithstanding the 15-1 vote, we would help him make the fight.  The record will show that we did make it, and that it was a monumental decision.  Of course, I was the only person on earth who could approve the transfer of that contract from Montreal to Brooklyn.  
As for Chandlers view of Branch Rickey's role in the entire situation, he wrote this:
Rickey and his folks tried to take credit for Robinson's entrance into Baseball.  The only thing he did about it was to sign Jackie Robinson as a Baseball player.  For twenty-five years, as you know, my predecessor would not permit them to play.  In fact, just before he died, he made a final declaration: "Everything's been said about this that's gonna be said.  The answer is no."
To suggest that Rickey played only a minor part is obviously inaccurate.  At the same time, it's also unfortunate that history has largely glossed over the importance of Chandler's role in the drama.  He is right.  Without the Commissioner approval Jackie never would have been a Dodger, and we all should be thankful that Chandler saw fit to impose his will.  It must not have been easy for a former Democrat governor of a Southern state in the late-40's to buck deeply ingrained social conventions.  A Dixiecrat, he obviously was not.  A fellow trailblazer, he was.
(Auction Link)
(Auction Link)

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2015 Topps Series 1 - Baseball - In the Name, Postseason Performance and Spring Fever Cards

This is a final look at Dodger cards found within packs of 2015 Topps Series 1 Baseball.  Featured below are the scarce In The Name, Postseason Performance, Strata and Spring Fever cards.  Go here for all of my past post on this set.

The Postseason Performance cards look fantastic.  I think it has something to do with the use of the playoff logo and the simple white background.  Unfortunately, I don't have an example of one of the Strata Signature cards to share since all the Dodger players require a redemption card. 

In the Name Relics (#/1)

#INT-CKE Clayton Kershaw                           #INT-DG Dee Gordon

Blog Kiosk: 2/11/2015 - Dodger Links - Moncada, Pederson and an Early Peek at the Newcombe Give-Away Pin

Fleet of foot Cardinals infielder Marty Marion attempted to score during a late March Spring Training game in Clearwater, Florida but was stopped by Dodger backup catcher Herman Franks.  This 1940 Associated Press photo was found via eBay.  Check out the auction here.

Below are some more links to check out:
“I’m kind of hoping we’re at the final end of the process,” Hastings (Moncada;s Florida-based rep) said. “I hope I will be able to get Yoan into a team’s spring-training practice as soon as possible.”
  • Here's an early peek at the Don Newcombe 'Cy Young' Collectors Pin the Dodgers are giving out to fans on Monday, April 13th.  See it on the right.
  • Via Anthony Castrovince at Sports on Earth, "The Top 10 MLB Rotations For 2015."  The Dodgers are ranked second on his list.
  • Via Ron Cervenka at Think Blue LA, "Joc Pederson’s perpetual motion could make him one of the game’s best."
“If you watch [Pederson] closely, he leans forward onto the balls of his feet on every pitch,” said (Rick) Monday. “This allows him to get a better jump on the ball and when the ball is hit, he is already breaking in that direction – even on foul balls. You’re going pick up an extra step or two by doing this and get to balls that guys standing out there flat-footed are not going to get to. These are the things that separate good baseball players from great baseball players.”
  • Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Dodgers will have $7 million draft bonus pool in 2015, per reports."
  • Fantastic!  Via Jorge Arangure Jr. at Vice Sports, "The Cuba Diaries: A 56-year-old batbot shares his story."
  • I just thought I'd make mention of this.  Onetime Dodger and recent Hall of Famer Greg Maddux is hosting a charity bowling event in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 22 at the Red Rock Casino.  Go here for information

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *