As we all know, Jackie Robinson broke the color-barrier in 1947 as a first baseman. What we don't know much about is what happened to the guy that had the position before him -- Ed Stevens. Well, thanks to the current Jackie Robinson Foundation Auction we get a glimpse at what was in Ed's head. Featured above is a typewritten letter, dated to 1995, from former Dodger first baseman Ed Stevens, and in it he expresses a bit of antipathy. Not towards Jackie, but toward Branch Rickey. (auction link)
I was replaced in 1947 by Jackie Robinson on the Dodgers. My story's never been told on that. I sacrificed my career to make room for Jackie Robinson. I had the ballclub made. I was gonna be the regular first baseman and, 'course they had Howie Schultz over there, the basketball player, and we'd been doin' some alternating. I hit against right-handers, he hit against left-handers.This is the platoon the Brooklyn Dodgers likely would have had that season. Stevens continues:
Mr. Rickey told me if I'd go back to Montreal and make room for Jackie Robinson and have myself a good year, that he would shake my hand in a gentleman's agreement that he would bring me back as soon as I got to hittin' good and got myself in shape - to give him a chance to get rid of Eddie Stanky, move Jackie Robinson to second base and I had a job for the next 10, 15 years, as long as my ability would allow me.