Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Boys Of Summer

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Boys Of Summer

    So I just finished re-reading the classic Roger Kahn book, "The Boys Of Summer". I hadn't read it in like 20 years. It's, of course, an amazing book...filled with great stories of brilliant candor. I'd assume that anyone who frequents these History of BB pages has read it. However, one point really stuck out to me during my re-read...it's the part about Jackie Robinson being traded to the Giants after the 1956 season. With the recent celebration of Jackie Robinson Day around MLB, the story of Jackie's reaction to the trade was wrongly retold over and over again...as it has for many years now. What I'm referring to is the glorifying talking point of, "Rather than be traded to the hated rival NY Giants, Jackie chose to retire instead." That is, in fact...a lie.

    While I'm sure Jackie didn't exactly have a lot of love for the Giants, saying that he didn't play for them because of the rivalry is a candy-coated baseball myth. He was already considering retirement and had co-authored a story for Look Magazie titled, "Why I'm Quitting Baseball". He was paid quite well for this story. After it came put, the Giants started to renegotiate a playing contract for Jackie which at first was $40,000 for one season followed by $20,000 for each of the next two seasons as a scout. So, Jackie was actually seriously considering NOT retiring when....Buzzy Bavasi (Dodgers front office) unleashed this quote on the press: "Robinson will play. I know the guy and he likes money. Now that Look's paid him, he'll play so he can collect from the Giants too." Because of that, Jackie realized that if he did play, he would look like a money-hungry phony and he would be attacked in the press for it. So....he did retire after all....but NOT because of any sort of hatred for the rival Giants. Jackie's amazing legacy certainly doesn't need this sort of myth to add to it. So, every time I heard an announcer finish his/her "sum-up" of Jackie's playing career with the false "wouldn't play for hated Giants" reference, it really irked me.

    I've attached a picture that really sums up my point. It was taken on December 13, 1956. It shows Jackie's initial reaction on being traded to the Giants. Of course, I would guess that somebody in the press brought that Giants pennant to Jackie's house...but I don't see any "I'd never play for the Giants" kind of attitude coming from Jackie. Far from it.

    Feel free to comment...
    Say hello on Twitter @BSmile & Facebook "Baseball by BSmile"

  • #2
    Good post, BSmile. I have also attempted to debunk that myth quite a while back on this forum. It's a nice story, apparently aimed at those who wish to add more fodder to the Giants/Dodgers rivalry, but it's never been true. I suppose many Dodger fans have felt smugly satisfied that Robinson chose to retire rather than play for the 'hated Giants' but, as you have said, it's blatantly false.
    Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Dodgerfan1,

      Yeah, it really bugged me to no end to hear announcer after announcer wax poetic about Jackie refusing to play for the Giants...argh! It made me wonder if they had no clue -or- if they just didn't have the time to get into the real story. I guess it's just easier (and lamer) to go with the myth.
      Say hello on Twitter @BSmile & Facebook "Baseball by BSmile"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by BSmile View Post
        Thanks Dodgerfan1,

        Yeah, it really bugged me to no end to hear announcer after announcer wax poetic about Jackie refusing to play for the Giants...argh! It made me wonder if they had no clue -or- if they just didn't have the time to get into the real story. I guess it's just easier (and lamer) to go with the myth.
        Baseball is built upon myths. This is just another one, although this one has been glamorized more than most myths.

        Reality practically makes Bavasi a villain. It's kind of strange coming from the team that traded him, as if Robinson was being disloyal by considering playing for the Giants.

        What is so bad about making a living?
        Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
        Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
        Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
        Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
        Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

        Comment


        • #5
          Volumes could be written (and have) about the cheap, anger-filled, bitter & petty nature of all too many baseball executives of that era (among others). What's so bad about making a living? Well, of course the correct answer is there isn't anything bad...especially when you consider that the players weren't exactly getting rich in that era (massive understatement). I'm sure a large percentage of the league were still working winter jobs...because they had to!

          There's no doubt that Bavasi, O'Malley & the whole Dodgers front office really came off like jerks in light of all the evidence. Actually, this may have been the beginning of angry public sentiment towards the Dodgers brass. The Brooklyn fans were obviously appalled at the thought of Jackie with the Giants...but little did they know just how angry they were about to become as O'Malley was secretly planning the move west.
          Say hello on Twitter @BSmile & Facebook "Baseball by BSmile"

          Comment

          Ad Widget

          Collapse
          Working...
          X