Tuesday, April 17

Great Day for Rain

Never in Phillies history has there been a more timely rain out. Sixty years to the day that uber-legend Jackie Robinson was honored in every Major League Baseball stadium, the Phillies sat idle, and their #42 jerseys never saw the light of day. While it came at the cost of keeping Ryan Howard, the game's greatest (non-Dominican) black player off the field, it was pure justice against the most hate-ridden organization pro baseball has ever harbored.

Most of the atrocities committed by the Phillies have been washed away from the public psyche since the day Jackie stepped on the field, but no passage of time should allow our organization to forget from the shameful actions of our mid-century ballclub. Not only were the Phillies the last team to play a black athlete when the signed John Kennedy in 1957, they were the undisputed heavyweight champions in the fight to keep Jackie off the diamond and to make every moment he spent on it a 9-inning ordeal.

To their credit, management has taken steps to atone for the team's past, but this is a circumstance when it is important to remember just how atrocious the club's actions were, rather than trying to trot out the p.r. bullpen to patch things up. No one would accuse the modern-day Phillies of running a racist organization, but everyone would be wise to remember just how deep a hole this club was in.

So it was fitting that on Sunday, while the rest of the league donned commemorative jerseys honoring the late hero, the Phillies were left with nothing but their bats in their hands and the horrors of their past.

2 comments:

Cameron said...

Ascribing the sins of the past to those still playing today is always an interesting proposition. None of the players currently on the roster were around during that shameful time in Phillies history. Hell, were any even alive?

At the same time, I definitely don't want to sound like the past is worth forgetting. I do believe that the burden is on the organization. In the same way that enron will always be connected with shady dealings and fake heart attacks, the Phillies could always be connected with racist sports policies. I certainly don't feel qualified to judge when they've done enough to be let off the hook. Who does?

Armando said...

you'd be amazed the number of phillies fans that don't know about this. i mentioned it on jackie robinson day, and i actually had a couple people angrily respond about how wrong i was. then i did a little internet research to prove what i already knew and they were completely shocked. obviously this isn't something the phillies wouldn't want to promote or talk about, but why not?

just because of this, i always wonder why the phillies don't have any latino stars, or asian stars, or up until ryan howard, and black stars. not that i think they're racist currently, but it's always in the back of my mind.