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The workings of the "color ban"

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  • The workings of the "color ban"

    How exactly did the "color ban" work in reality? There was never any actual documented rule banning black players. And Commisioner Landis made several statements to the effect that there was no such agreement among owners. Was it something that was never talked about and just assumed? Whenever a new owner entered major league baseball, did someone pull him aside and say, "Remember, blacks are not allowed in the majors." Were the owners really afraid that white fans would stop showing up if black players were allowed? I find it odd that to most people it never crossed their minds that black players were not allowed into the major leaguers. And how was Branch Rickey able to sign Jackie Robinson in effect telling the other owners to screw themselves? Did Happy Chandler drop the hammer on those who might object to Rickey's signing of Robinson? Was WW II a major influence, with many black americans serving in the armed forces with distinction?

    I have lots of questions.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    we'll never know the answer to some of your questions - these were old, white conservative businessmen for the most part owning clubs - it was thought that you did not advertise or gear your products to african-americans - they didn't need to be "told" that - it was how they always conducted business before purchasing a franchise - it was an underlying assumed method of operstion - plus many were downright racist - also i think they were more concerned with attracting "too many" black patrons to the park - getting a "reputation" for such and thus driving away white patrons

    i don't really think chandler had the power to "drop the hammer" - in the end the only way you get a job is for someone to hire you for it - rickey was that man

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    • #3
      I know Cy Young refused to play for over a year due to an African-American being allowed to play. Cy won out and the barrier would stay in place until Jackie Robinson.
      "I believe in the soul ... the small of a woman's back, the hanging curveball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Nomtoc
        I know Cy Young refused to play for over a year due to an African-American being allowed to play. Cy won out and the barrier would stay in place until Jackie Robinson.
        could you cite that and give specific - i never heard that

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nomtoc
          I know Cy Young refused to play for over a year due to an African-American being allowed to play. Cy won out and the barrier would stay in place until Jackie Robinson.
          I know a lot of people put the blame on Cap Anson but Anson was never an owner or a league official. I think way too much blame is thrown Anson's way. Yes, he feelings about black players was well known but I don't think Anson had the requisite power to ban black players by himself.
          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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          • #6
            Originally posted by abacab
            I think this was it exactly. I believe that most owners and executives weren't actively racist. It's just that the concept of blacks and whites playing together was unthinkable - not because they hated blacks, but because it had just never been done. Every aspect of American society at the time was "separate but equal". White players had their big leagues, black people had their big leagues, and that was that.
            I'm not sure this is true. In the early years of professional baseball there were blacks playing in the majors. It took proactive action from the owners and white players to have them banned. At least one league had a vote and voted the black players out of the league.

            The Baseball color line was the unwritten policy which excluded African American baseball players from Organized Ball in the United States before 1947. As a result, various Negro Leagues were formed, which featured those players not allowed to participate in the major or minor leagues.

            The separation's beginnings occurred in 1868, when the National Association of Baseball Players decided to bar "any club including one or more colored persons." As baseball became a professional sport, professional players were no longer restricted by this rule, and for a short while, in 1878 and again in 1884, African American players played in the big leagues. Over time, they were slowly excluded more and more. As prominent players such as Cap Anson, John McGraw, and Ty Cobb steadfastly refused to take the field with or against teams with African-Americans on the roster, it became informally accepted that African-Americans were not to participate in Major League Baseball (wikipedia)
            I've never heard of John McGraw being actively against playing with black players. I find this strange since he tried to pass off a black pitcher as indian as a manager and supposedly after he died his wife found a list of black players he wanted to sign if allowed.
            Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 02-02-2006, 09:03 AM.
            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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            • #7
              to hold baseball to a higher standard than society and to continually denegrate it as such borders on the ridiculous - people are people - there is not the rest of the world and then people who happen to be employed with in the baseball industry

              baseball was a beacon for society with the hiring of jackie robinson - unfortunately some find this cause to harp on the industry - i don't get it - how can it be a leader and the most "evil force of hatred" - perhaps there are personal agendas coming into play

              history, to me, is the study of events and circumstances - perhaps for others it is a forum to interject their feelings and attitudes about whatever - there are two types of historical study: positive and normative - positive is the reporting of facts - normative places values on those facts - the positive should be accompanied with a sprinkling of normative - if it is reversed perhaps that is more suited for the op/ed section of a newspaper rather than a historical text

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              • #8
                Originally posted by abacab
                I think this was it exactly. I believe that most owners and executives weren't actively racist. It's just that the concept of blacks and whites playing together was unthinkable - not because they hated blacks, but because it had just never been done. Every aspect of American society at the time was "separate but equal". White players had their big leagues, black people had their big leagues, and that was that.
                you can't have the chicken without the egg - they're not racist but they won't hire or extent courtesy to black patrons - i don't know

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bkmckenna
                  you can't have the chicken without the egg - they're not racist but they won't hire or extent courtesy to black patrons - i don't know
                  I'm not racist either, but if I own a team and 15 other owners don't want me to hire a martian under penalty of trade embargos, financial penalties etc., then I probably won't be having a 7 foot tall martian with 3 arms playing centerfield next year.... its all about whether or not you're willing to risk your business to take a stand...a few(very few) are, but the vast majority would not risk it. It just makes good business sense.

                  I'm not saying its right.....

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by baseballPAP
                    I'm not racist either, but if I own a team and 15 other owners don't want me to hire a martian under penalty of trade embargos, financial penalties etc., then I probably won't be having a 7 foot tall martian with 3 arms playing centerfield next year.... its all about whether or not you're willing to risk your business to take a stand...a few(very few) are, but the vast majority would not risk it. It just makes good business sense.

                    I'm not saying its right.....
                    ...And yet Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson. And what did the other owners do? The smart ones, like Bill Veeck, signed their own black players.
                    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                    • #11
                      Very true.... it takes courage to walk across the line, let alone what it takes to wipe the line away with your foot, in front of all of your peers, then watch while they scramble to keep up!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by baseballPAP
                        I'm not racist either, but if I own a team and 15 other owners don't want me to hire a martian under penalty of trade embargos, financial penalties etc., then I probably won't be having a 7 foot tall martian with 3 arms playing centerfield next year.... its all about whether or not you're willing to risk your business to take a stand...a few(very few) are, but the vast majority would not risk it. It just makes good business sense.

                        I'm not saying its right.....
                        i see your point but the thing about racial discrimination in american history is is subtleness at times - segregation was an underlying principle in many people's lives and, of course, in business practices - i'm just saying there rarely needed to be any overt discussions or statements - it was understood - more so by rich, conservative white men

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by baseballPAP
                          Very true.... it takes courage to walk across the line, let alone what it takes to wipe the line away with your foot, in front of all of your peers, then watch while they scramble to keep up!
                          I've always wondered how many owners wanted to sign black players but were waitng for someone else to do it first? I know that the Bill Veeck story about wanting to buy the Phillies during WW II and stock the team with black players is mostly likely a myth.
                          Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 02-02-2006, 12:31 PM.
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                          • #14
                            A great article on the Bill Veeck "myth".

                            http://www.sabr.org/cmsFiles/Files/B...e_Phillies.pdf
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                            • #15
                              The perception for many years was that black athletes were inferior. Of course this wasn't even logically justifiable by even those who held such views. It was a means to justify their racist behavior and their governance of the MLs are a meritocracy.

                              Ironically, half a century after the ban was lifted the prevailing stereotype became that blacks are better athletes as a function of their race. Tragically, many do not realize that there are no "positive" stereotypes and that such a statement is as racist as the ones that called blacks inferior atheltes, by nature.

                              Racism is still rampant in sports, and all of society. It is more subtle though, and therefore almost more dangerous, because so many are convinced it doesn't exist. Mainstream society often seduces minority athletes who make it big financially, siphoning out of the communities where there presence is most needed, most inspirational and most relevant. The unofficial color line has merely moved from the playing field to the executive level, as minority executives are few and far between.

                              Every once in a while, some of the prominent figures who harbor racist beliefs let them slip out and, to make a gratuitous pun, show their true colors. Occasionally you'll hear the black QB argument, of the affirmative action MVP argument. These prejudices are more widespread, and ardently held than most of us realize, IMO.
                              Last edited by digglahhh; 02-03-2006, 11:56 AM.
                              THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                              In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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