Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Larry MacPhail's Opposition to Integrating Baseball on Full Display at Lelands Auctions

From Branch Rickey's elaborate plans to Jackie Robinson's ability to rise above the hate, we are all familiar with the folks behind the integration of Baseball.  But, do you know much about the forces working against breaking the color barrier?  Per an item currently available for sale through Lelands Auctions we learn a bit more about an influential Baseball insider who was opposed to change and his reasoning.

The below 4-page letter is known as "The MacPhail Report" and it details all of the often irrational and obviously racist thinking of the time.  It was penned by Larry MacPhail - one time Dodger President and General Manager, and then current co-owner and General Manager of the Yankees - in 1945. Read it in its entirety below.
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Per Bryan Soderholm-Difatte at
Best known as “The MacPhail Report” for its principal author, Larry MacPhail, who was part of the new ownership group of the New York Yankees, the committee tackled head-on the “people who charge that baseball is flying a Jim Crow flag at its masthead—or think that racial discrimination is the basic reason for failure of the major leagues to give employment to Negroes” by accusing them of “simply talking through their collective hats.” In addressing the “Race Question” the report set as its foundation premise that “professional baseball is a private business enterprise [that] depends on profits for its existence, just like any other business.”
Written in the same summer that Jackie Robinson was tearing up the International League with 40 stolen bases, 113 runs scored and an ultimately league-leading .349 batting average, the report observed that there was a tremendous increase in black attendance at all the games in which he played, and that in two Triple-A cities—Newark and Baltimore—blacks accounted for more than half the attendance when Robinson’s team, the Montreal Royals, came to town. As paying customers, they were surely contributing to club coffers, but the MacPhail Report warned that such levels of black attendance in ballparks such as Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds in New York City and Comiskey Park in Chicago “could conceivably threaten the value of the Major League franchises owned by these Clubs.” The report did not specify Ebbets Field, which all concerned certainly knew was Jackie’s ultimate destination.

Once that very pregnant point was made—and it was certainly one that motivated the Yankees well into the integration era—the MacPhail Report went on to assert that if the best black players left to play in the major leagues, then the “Negro leagues will eventually fold up” and, back to the issue of money, major league teams would lose out on substantial revenue from renting out their stadiums to Negro League teams featuring star players. All of this, the drafting committee concluded, “is not racial discrimination.” Instead, “it’s simply respecting the contractual relationship between the Negro leagues and their players.”
It should be noted that MacPhail specifically states in the letter that the Yankees would not be integrating any time soon (that didn't happen til 1955). Nevertheless, MacPhail was admitted into the Hall of Fame in 1978. 

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Lasorda, Chan Ho Park, AGon and Nancy Bea!

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


This weekend is the first autograph signing opportunity of the new year.  It is being held at Frank & Sons in the City of Industry.  Nancy Bea, Tommy Lasorda, Chan Ho Park and Adrian Gonzalez will be meeting, greeting and signing for fans.  Go here or here for information.  Click on any flyer below to embiggen.
Frank & Son Collectible Show
19649 San Jose Avenue
City of Industry, CA 91748

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2014 Panini National Treasures - The Dodger Autograph Cards

Now take a look at the rest of the Dodger autographed cards (not already shown) that can be found in National Treasures.  Go here to check out all of my previous post on this set.

Below is a brief checklist of cards that I have yet to see:
  • HOF 75th Anniversary Souvenir Cuts (#/1): #7 Dick Williams
  • HOF 75th Anniversary Souvenir Cuts (#/1): #40 Zack Wheat
  • Signature Die-Cut Players (#/10): #18 Fernando Valenzuela

Baseball Signature Die-Cuts

#5 Adrian Gonzalez

#22 Clayton Kershaw

Blog Kiosk: 1/14/2015 - Dodger Links - AJ Ellis Signs Contract & the Winter Development Program

The Dodgers 2015 Winter Development Program has just begun at Dodger Stadium, and it includes 27 of our best and brightest young prospects.  Per Gabe Kapler:
The focus of our program is on developing stronger players and men through creating a family environment, developing a culture of trust and communication, and challenging them mentally. Though there is time for players to stay on their standard off-season routine, we are not presenting a physical showcase. Instead, we will feature 3 full days of guest speakers and thoughtful sessions on topics such as nutrition, sleep, and communication.

In Player Development, and throughout the Dodgers’ organization, we believe strongly in intellectual flexibility. We are asking all invitees to come prepared to question assumptions, ask the question why, and absorb new information. Additionally, communication is a fundamental requirement for our refreshed Dodger Way, and it should always be viewed as a two-way street. This program provides an opportunity for our players and staff to get to know each other and share ideas, philosophies, and beliefs.
The photo above was taken by Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015Go here to check out more photos taken by him yesterday.

Below are some more links to check out:
“For me, a lot of it is the consistency and pitching inside (that I need to figure out),” Reed said. “I know that’s been my weakness, and I worked on it last year. But I have to get better at it. Not just talk about it — I have to be better at it in games. Bullpens are one thing, but pitching inside during games for me has always been more of a challenge. I definitely want to carry that theme for this year.”
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis avoided salary arbitration, signing a one-year contract for 2015 on Tuesday, worth $4.25 million, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and confirmed by Ken Gurnick of
On the surface, Bolsinger wasn’t great for the Diamondbacks last year. In nine starts and one relief appearance, he posted a 5.50 ERA (145 ERA-). By RA9-WAR, he was worth -0.6 wins. However, his peripherals were significantly better. A .355 BABIP and 64.2% strand rate really boosted his ERA. Bolsinger’s 4.01 FIP (105 FIP-) was a run and a half lower than his ERA, and just 5% worse than league average. By FIP, Bolsinger was worth +0.4 wins, a full win better than his RA9 value.

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