Thursday, May 13, 2010

Topps Triple Threads Sneak Peek

Topps unveiled some early photos of their upcoming Triple Threads Baseball card set, via Beckett Blog. Above is the Jackie Robinson.

The Quinn-Ives Act

The integration of Baseball had more heroes than just Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson. Sure, Rickey was the mastermind and Jackie was the willing test subject who would have to endure the unthinkable, but there was more. They also had the help of the New York State legislature.

In 1945 the state of New York, with the help of Senator Irving Ives, passed the Quinn-Ives Act which effectively banned employment discrimination on the basis on race, creed, color and national origin. This watershed law opened the floodgates as they soon passed the Fair Employment Practices Act and Mayor La Guardia formed the Mayor's Commission on Baseball to study the integration of the Major Leagues. The political winds were now blowing at Branch Rickey's back.

Rickey, no doubt, become more emboldened in his desire to change the game for the good.
On the morning of March 13, 1945 Branch Rickey was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper in the spring training lodging at Bear Mountain. [Where the Brooklyn Dodgers had their very chilly spring training during the war] Suddenly, he looked up from his paper with an animated expression on his face. “What’s wrong dear?, Jane Rickey asked her husband, wondering what now was bothering her easily agitated mate. “It was in the paper, Mother, that Governor Dewey has just signed the Ives-Quinn Law!” he exclaimed. “They can’t stop me now.”
Soon thereafter the game found Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn and the game had changed for the better.

The below letter, being sold at auction at Clean Sweep, was drafted on May 3, 1945 and highlights this important law. He corresponds with, then General Manager of the Tigers, John Zeller.
"Here's a copy of the Quinn-Ives Law, related to prevention and elimination of practices of discrimination in employment and otherwise against persons because of race, creed, color and national origin, together with comments of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. It occurred to me that you might be interested in this."
This letter makes me wonder if he was planting the seeds of change in Michigan or was he trying to say to another team that his hands were tied. The Baseball old guard could not stop progress because New York State law demanded integration. After all, Branch Rickey had petitioned Baseball to allow him to integrate the league and he was voted down 15 to 1. (Of special note, then Commissioner Happy Chandler overrode the vote.) Click the pic below to enlarge it.
(click pic to enlarge)

A Guest Post: World Cup Soccer in America

I've never been much of a soccer fan, but have, on numerous occasions, found myself enjoying a game of futbol on the Fox Soccer Channel. The level of play of the European teams is amazing. On that note, the World Cup is about to commence and since I'm the equivalent of a t-ball player when it comes to the game I was more than happy to allow Marc Parker (he's a writer at a blog called Sports a la Mode) to write a guest post about it and their desire to bring back the tournament to our shores. Check it out below.

Committee Seeks World Cup Excitement and Culture For America in 2018/2022
By Marc Parker

In a couple weeks when the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa it will bring with it a new level of attention and popularity for the game of soccer. The majority of the world is accustomed to the popularity of the sport since soccer is widely considered the "globe's game." However, in the United States, soccer can be considered not as interesting compared to the other four major sports the country has to offer. However, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Soccer doesn't get the respect it rightfully deserves in the States, but when it comes down to Team USA versus the world, no matter how Americans feel about soccer, they pay attention.

The 1994 World Cup (the last time the games were held in the United States) was attended by a total of 3.6 million people, which is still a record even though the games have expanded. From a United States perspective, it was the highest attended single sporting event in U.S. history. The United States Bid Committee understands the significance of hosting such an event and has pulled out all the stops to bring the games to America over other locations like England and Japan.

The U.S. Committee's board of directors is made up of important figures like U.S. Soccer President, Sunil Gulati, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Counselor to former President Clinton, Doug Band. The addition of Doug Band to the U.S. Committee is a smart move on behalf of the committee because Band, an avid fan of the game, is co-creator of the Clinton Global Initiative, and has worked tirelessly to help millions across the globe, adding an internationally recognized face on America’s bid. Band's commitment and global understanding is exactly what the Committee needs to make the 2018/2022 World Cup in America a reality.

With the world watching the 2010 World Cup will be on the forefront of sports watching technology with some of the games even being broadcasted in 3-D. Team USA drew a favorable bracket and will open the games against England which has many in the country ready to rename this soccer battle the Revolutionary War Part II.

Team USA is posed to begin their quest for their first ever World Cup, and America is ready to root them on showing that 2018/2022 is the time to bring the cultural relevance of the world's most popular sport back to America.

Banjo Man Wills

Something many of you may not have known is that Maury Wills was not only a banjo hitter, but he also could play the banjo. He would often regale his teammates with his musical stylings.

In the above team issued photo recently sold on eBay for an afforable $3.00, he poses in a straw hat and a goofy face while Don Drysdale, Willie Davis, and Ed Roebuck look on.

The caption below says,
"July 25... Maury Wills tries to convince us he was no banjo hitter but he didn't have to after his home run against the wind in St. Louis. We won, 5 to 2. Closing in for an inspection of the Mouse's muscles are Willie Davis (3 hits, 3 RBI's), Don Drysdale (victory no. 18) and Ed Roebuck (Another fine save)."
Click any of the pics to enlarge.