April 20, 2024

Ben Chapman and Jackie Robinson

April 20, 2013 by · 23 Comments 

(Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Seamheads.com in March 2010. With the release of “42” I thought it appropriate to re-post it—ML).

Ben Chapman or “Chappy” as I was instructed to call him, (see my previous article for my introduction to him) was born and reared in the Deep South during a time when racial segregation was the norm. He played baseball during the segregated years as well. What is interesting to me is how he is portrayed in most of the online biographical entries. Some of the stories just don’t measure up to how Chappy told them to me. I must admit my own bias from the start. I loved Chappy and his stories. Whether they are true or not, they were very entertaining to a college guy who loved baseball. I don’t have any reason to doubt Chappy believed his side of the story. When I knew him, he was already an old man, far removed from the limelight and the need to embellish or sugar-coat his own legacy. Given that he told us some of his less than self-flattering stories, I believe he would have told us the straight up truth about his issues with race. I know that he, like most of his generation, was plagued by bigotry on some level. It was hard to live in the South in those days and escape some form of racial prejudice, although it wasn’t just in the South where this was an issue.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways others have portrayed him in their biographical entries and then I’ll unfold for you Chappy’s side of the stories that seem to mar his otherwise stellar baseball career.

The Wikipedia entry for Ben Chapman contains the following paragraph:

It was in New York that the extent of Chapman’s bigotry first surfaced. He taunted Jewish fans at Yankee Stadium with Nazi salutes and disparaging epithets.[1] In a 1933 game, his confrontation with the Washington Senators’ Jewish infielder, Buddy Myer, caused a 20-minute brawl that saw 300 fans participate and resulted in five-game suspensions and $100 fines for each of the players involved.

While I know that almost anyone can put almost anything on Wikipedia, the article is quoting a 2008 article in the New York Times by Chris Lamb regarding the Nazi salutes and disparaging epithets based on his research of articles published at the time of his trade. As for the brawl with Myer, that is the issue that is at hand. Combining these two statements paint the picture that the brawl was started because Myer was Jewish. This incident is painted in a different light by the writer of the Baseball Page entry about Chapman in which the fight began when Chapman slid into Myer’s legs followed by Myer kicking Chappy in the thigh and Chappy responding with several punches. The incident really escalated when Chappy was forced to walk through the Senators’ dugout and got into it again with pitcher Earl Whitehill, who Chappy knocked out. Chappy’s teammates came to his rescue through the spectators that had spilled onto the field.

Chappy’s version of the events of that fateful day was more along the latter rather than the former. He didn’t like to talk about it, but it was always about the game policing itself rather than about the race of the guy at second base. He was a hard-nosed player in an era where guys didn’t show each other up because they knew either they would get beaned or their teammate would and when you didn’t wear a helmet, a high and tight fastball carried a lot of incentive to keep your celebrations in check. It was the way of the game, the unwritten code if you will, and the players all knew and respected it as such. Baseball was a lot like Hockey in those days. The players took care of it on the field without having to worry about suspensions and huge fines, although Chappy got both for his involvement in that momentous brawl.

But the bigger issue I have with the way most portray Chappy is his involvement in the Jackie Robinson issue. The above referenced Baseball Page entry begins with this paragraph:

Ben Chapman would have been more at home playing twenty years earlier than he did. He was a fierce base runner with skills to scratch out runs, but he played for the powerful longball-hitting Yankee teams of the 1930s before bouncing around with six other teams in both leagues. The outfielder led the American League in steals four times and was involved in some of the most vicious baseball fights in history. Later, as a manager in the National League, his southern prejudices reared their head when Jackie Robinson integrated the game.

The article never goes into any detail about how that happened or lists any quotes by Chapman. The Wikipedia entry states, “In later years, his playing reputation was eclipsed by the role he played in 1947 as manager of the Phillies, opposing the presence of Jackie Robinson on a major league team on the basis of Robinson’s race.” Later it states that “Chapman instructed his pitchers, whenever they had a 3-0 count against Robinson, to bean him rather than walk him.”

Chappy may have been the most vocal of those who opposed the integration of baseball, but he certainly wasn’t the only one. Most of the players shared his position at the time; a position that seems untenable to those of us alive now. But even recently the issue of race continued to be a current one in baseball with the allegations made by Milton Bradley about Chicago Cubs fans and maybe even management. I don’t think anyone can argue that Chappy was a racist at the time, given when and where he was born, but the point can be made that it wasn’t just about race that made him the villain in so many eyes. Let me unfold for you, his side of the story.

I asked him why he left baseball when he got fired by the Phillies and his side of the story is very different from the one told by most. The short version was that he was fired because his pitcher threw at Robinson. The longer version is a much more interesting story. The history of the harsh treatment of Robinson by the Phillies under Chappy’s leadership is well documented. So much so that he was forced by the league to have a photo taken with Jackie to give the appearance that African-American players would be accepted in Philadelphia.  As you can tell from the photo, I don’t think Chappy was fully invested in the effort.

I asked him how he felt about Robinson playing in the league and he said at the time he didn’t think a black man should play in the big leagues. He told me they tried to get under his skin to see if they could get him rattled. It obviously didn’t work the way he thought it would.

Chappy said the league was protecting Robinson and had sent word that anyone who threw at him would get the manager fired. Whether that was all teams or just the Phillies was never made clear, but it was clear to him. His pitchers asked him what he wanted them to do and he said his reply was “I don’t care what color his skin is, if you need to knock him down, do so.” I asked him if his guys knocked him down, and he said yes. He then told me that when he came in the next day, there was the pink slip on his desk that said he had been fired. He gathered his things and walked away from the game.

He made one more attempt at a career in baseball as a coach with the Reds, but he said he didn’t like the way the game was headed with players making too much money and the league having too much power, so he walked away for good. He came home to Alabama and started in the insurance business. Growing up in Birmingham, I never heard anything about Ben until I met him on the field at Samford. Even though he was a four time all-star, the first batter for the AL in the first all-star game, at that time he was still second on the Yankee’s all time stolen base list, and had played the game with some of the best players in history. My guess is that the last episode with Robinson has tainted his image so much, that with all the other bad press Birmingham had received during the Civil Rights Era, the city had no place for one of its most colorful sports legends.

Ray Robinson quoted Chappy in a 1994 article in The Sporting News after his death as saying, “A man learns about things and mellows as he grows older,” Chapman began. “I think maybe I’ve mellowed. Maybe I went too far in those days, when I thought it was OK to try to throw guys off-balance and upset them with jockeying. I’m sorry for many of the things I said. I guess the world changes and maybe I’ve changed, too.”  Robinson went on to say, “Ben Chapman sounded sincere to me. People can change. Whether in that brief exchange he was seeking some vague absolution for forgiveness from an intruder into his life, I do not know.”

He didn’t need absolution from Ray Robinson, he already had that from his relationship with Jesus Christ. It was just the reflections of a man who had grown to see the folly of his youth. He was a far different man from the one who had led the charge to make life difficult on Jackie Robinson. This was the Ben Chapman that I had come to know and it is a shame the rest of the baseball world never had a chance to know that Chappy.


23 Responses to “Ben Chapman and Jackie Robinson”
  1. jerry stern says:

    Eddie Gilley calls Ben Chapman’s racism “the folly of his youth.” I thought was reserved for stealing penny gum from the local candy store. Gilley quotes Chapman’s rationalizations about trying to “rattle” Robinson and invents the lie that that the National League said they’d fire any manager whose pitchers threw at Robinson in 1947. Robinson was hit so often that there must have been a lot of managers fired (that we don’t know about). C’mon, Eddie, you were close to the guy in the last years of his life, but stop wearing rose-colored glasses. There were a lot of racists playing ball in 1947, including a dozen on the Dodgers, but Chapman is in a class of his own. He was especially vicious, and regardless of what anyone wants to think today, Chapman was a poster boy for the worst racism that Jackie Robinson faced.

  2. Mark says:

    Ty Cobb – He was a product of racist Georgia. Enos – He was a product of his environment. Cap Anson – He was a product of Iowa, a slave state. Ben Chapman – He was a product of the times…STOP. These were disgusting grown men who were racists. Stop apologizing for their choices and behavior. Not everyone was a Ty, Ben, Cap or Enos. Ben Chapman stood out. So what if he or Ty or any of the rest bought a kid an ice cream. They deserve to have their bios defined by their actions and racism defines them. Tough Luck. I wish they were better people but they were not. If we ignore their racism, we minimize Jackie Robinson, MLK Jr. and everyone else who fought and died to make the USA a better place for all people.

  3. Steven A. Royston says:

    I am a Christian as Mr. Gilley implies he is by his reference to Mr. Chapman’s redeemer being Jesus Christ. As far as Mr. Gilley’s comment goes about Mr. Chapman not needing any absolution from writer Ray Robinson is concerned,I agree but I have to wonder about any absolution granted to Mr. Chapman by the redeemer, to the extent that I may borderline blasphemously muse on such a thing.

    Back in 1994 I took Mr. Robinson to task about any changing or mellowing Mr. Chapman may have experienced before his 1994 death. I did so because Mr. Robinson’s article found Mr. Chapman’s change to be due to his son finding comfort in coaching “colored boys” in Mr. Chapman’s words, in football in the ’90’s. He took pride in the idea that his son was raised differently than he was. The Sporting News printed my letter about a month later and I was pleased it chose to do so.

    I concluded then and I do now that a man who had truly changed over forty seven years would not have had a problem referring to a group by a name it chose for its recognition–Blacks; African-Americans–over a racist relic like “colered boys”, a grossly offensive term on both of its words “colored” and “boys”.

    Mr. Chapman would have known this if change had moved him and if he had truly changed. It did not and he had not. He simply developed a more sinister mask where the old one would no longer do.

    (Can you imagine his reaction today upon seeing President Obama’s likeness over the word “Change” on one of those popular T-shirts of two years ago!? I shudder.)

    I concluded rather sarcastically that at Mr. Chapman’s change rate over nearly fifty years, maybe had he lived longer he would have refered to us as Negroes instead of niggers as he did during his life because that was his life in Tennessee, Alabama New York, Phildephia, Cincinatti and Birmingham, Alabama, where I am sure you know, Mr. Gilley, before the Civil Rights era, Willie Mays Day and a public parade there, and a scheduled integrated barnstorming basball game of major leaguers and local Negro leagues players was cancelled in 1951 following that Black Native Son’s successes in the bigs instigated by a fellow named Eugene “Bull” Connor who would become famous for other things about ten years later.

    I understand change. I also understand revisionist history and attempts at it. I understand love for an old, unreconstructed friend of yours true to his creed to the end.

    I feel sorry for persistently ignorant people. Branch Rickey once said words to the effect that ‘a man who will reason is a bigot, a man who will not listen is ignorant and a man who will not learn is a fool’. All of us fall in these snares from time to time but the Christ in us shakes us out of these sins.

    Don’t fool yourself, Mr. Gilley, if you claim to differ in attitudes from your late friend; he was what he was his entire life and there’s nothing shown suggesting to me that any absolution was merited.

    Mercy? Who knows? Jesus knows and He is merciful.

    Thank goodness for real change and mercy and the demise of attitudes like his in people of good will as time marches on….. I am 56 and I can’t wait to see the generations behind me coming up during these times that are a’ changin.

  4. Eddie Gilley says:

    @Steven A. Royston – Mr. Royston as you are 56 you are a few years older than me and since you didn’t state where you grew up I have no way of guessing what you went through during your childhood regarding racism and the negative effects it has had on our country. I have no way of knowing what Ben would have said about President Obama’s likeness. I have no way of knowing if he would have changed his choice of words if he had lived longer. I know he called us “boys” when were players and in my presence with him for two years and lots of travel, he never demonstrated the racism that had marked him during his earlier years. I can only write about and comment on what I experienced with him. If you had personal dealings with Ben then you can surely elaborate. If you did not, then you are responding to what others have written, either fairly or not, about him and you have made your mind up about his character and faith based on presuppositions relayed to you by third parties. I did not know his history during the time I spent with him. I was a 20 year old playing ball and living the college life. Had I known, I would have asked him about it and any regrets he might have had from his actions. But growing up in the state that you quote about, I know firsthand the hatred and bitterness that was so much a part of that era. I am in no way defending the horrible things done to Negroes or Black Men and Women, or African-Americans, whatever the appropriate name may be at the moment. We all share a common ancestry and should treat one another as better than ourselves. I suspect that it was difficult for your grandfather to trust a white man if he grew up in the south during that era as well. Thank goodness the times are changing and I long for the day when the topic of baseball will only be addressed with the play on the field and not the color of the skin of the player or what they put into that body! I would only suggest that you examine your own preconceived ideas about a man that you didn’t know and his ability to change, (maybe not to the degree that you or I would have liked), because to judge someone without knowing them is to return to the root of the issues that you protest against.

  5. Steven A. Royston says:

    Even though I never met the man and indeed have reached my conclusions from what others have writen about him, I don’t think it is being too judgmental to conclude that he, minimally, had a problem with respecting our decision about what to call ourselves in 1947 and in 1994 by his words. Take a look at Roger Khan’s The Boys of Summer (1971), his book The Era 1947-1957 (1980), and Jackie Robinson, An Intimate Portrait, by Rachael Robinson (1994) for information on his doings by eyewitnesses.

    It is beyond reasonable dispute that for centuries the power of deciding how to describe Black people in America rested with white people. Therefore, the importance Blacks determining how to describe themselves for themselvesfand for the world to acknowledge is lost on most white people because many never had that problem having come here,their histories and names intact, by and large voluntarily and revered as America’s “Founding Fathers”.

    Getting back to Mr. Chapman. A person may reasonably be objectively known by what he or she does or says. The Word procalims “As a man thinketh, so is he.” If one spews hurtful or cutting words, he or she is probably a hater or a divider whether they subjectively know it or not.

    I could not have known Mr. Chapman subjectively as you did because when you hung around him as a player, his entire frame of reference for you, a white guy and a Birmingham resident and fellow Southerner, would have been entirely different from what it would have been for me, a Berkeley California integrated society reared Black guy, later a UCLA grad who loved Jackie Robinson since he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962 even though I never met him. (Go Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers!!)

    I know Mr. Robinson, who was my father’s age (born 1919) from what he did in life, on the UCLA playing fields, and from the words he said one saying of which roughly was ‘a life lived is not very important except to the extent it improves the quality of life for others.’

    It appears to me from your words that unfortunateley you too have a problem with Black folks determining and letting the world know how we shall be described as well by referring to us with the phrase “Negroes….or whatever…” as if self-determined change over time diminishes the change.

    Dismissive words hurt and reveal.

    This is more than a “whatever”… it’s about respect and understanding. As that old saying goes, even a dog knows the difference between when it is tripped on and when it is kicked.

    What Mr. Chapman subjectively and objectively meant to you is obviously different to you under the circumstances than what he means to me under either measure not based on what others have written about him, but because of what he did and said and as he lived his life insofar as respecting Black people as he respected himself is concerned.

    But the Good News is like I said, the great leveler is Jesus Christ who loves us all the same despite our own stupidly imposed differences.

  6. Jeff Brockelsby says:

    Chapman was a racist. Of that there is no question. Yes, there have been many other racists in baseball and professional sports, especially in that era. But what sets Chapman apart is not just his racism but his cruelty. Hopefully he did have a change of heart later in life. But that doesn’t change the historical record.

  7. Bill Wahl says:

    Mr. Chapman served more than forty years in his personal hell for the deeds he committed in the name of race hatred. He paid the price for a lot of other racists. Did he truly change? Only he and God know and that is the way it should be left. If critics choose to play games with semantics because Mr. Chapman, in his old age, used the words colored or Negro instead of Black or Afro-American, then they do not understand much about the human condition. Mr. Chapman was born in 1908 when attitudes were much different than they are today. For him to move his vocabulary from NIGGER to “colored people” is quite a journey in one lifetime.

    Ben Chapman long ago paid the price for what he believed. I don’t believe that he was right or that his sins should be overlooked, only that we should remember that he was a human being like the rest of us, trying to get a handle on this journey that we call life.

    Were all those stories that he told Eddie Gilley true? I would say that we all flavor our memories with our own seasonings and ballplayers of that generation knew how to revise a story in order to make their audience happy. I know because I have heard a few sitting at the feet of men such as Lloyd Waner, Frankie Frisch and Max Carey. I learned to take the stories for what they were worth. I enjoyed each and every one of them but I don’t know that I would have included them in anyone’s biography. We all like to remember our journey in our own way, using our own particular set of eye glasses. And in the end, the fact is, that it is only necessary that we were true to ourselves. Good or bad, God rest to Ben Chapman. He paid the price for his mistakes in his lifetime. It is not our to judge, only to understand.

  8. Joe Sullivan says:

    Chapman’s behavior was despicable, he earned his reputation as a ignorant, bigoted racist, son of a b____… but I can’t help thinking how, in the end, his ignorance cost him the opportunity to be a Hall of Famer. He’s got Hall of Fame stats. He was a superior player… but sadly, he will always be remembered as that racist loudmouth yelling the N word at Jackie Robinson. If he did “evolve” towards the end of his life, I wonder if he realized what his bigotry cost him. I can’t help feel sorry for folks whose hate and prejudice ultimately dominates their lives. He ruined his career all by himself.

  9. kylez says:

    So Mr. Chapman regretting his earlier actions means nothing? He lived 84 years and an ugly episode with Jackie Robinson, and some of his other behavior related to the prejudices he was likely raised with, are the only thing in his life that were important? The only things that define him, forever?

  10. kylez says:

    so are you going to lobby the NAACP to change its name? I’m sure you know what the “C” stands for.

    “colored” was a common term at the time, and one Mr. Chapman would have been used to as a descriptor. no offense intended. and “boys” means they were kids, or very young adults.

    and perhaps if more people shuddered at Obama and his “change” our nation would be in a better spot now.

  11. kylez says:


    Iowa was not a slave state, being north of the Missouri Compromise. though in its territorial days there were some whites who brought slaves there, but that is long before Cap Anson.

  12. Russell says:

    It amazes me how people will use the same tired excuses to defend racism. No, he was not the only person to oppose Jackie Robinson, but being part of a group does not make his action any less objectionable. I don’t feel any more sorry for him than I do for the guy on death row who decides to be so changed when the needle is about to go in his arm. Bullies tend to be “changed” when they are no longer in position to pick on others. He made his own legacy. he joins the long list of people who behaved so despicably that whatever positives they did before or after gets buried by the shear weight of that one ugly thing they end up being defined by. Chapman is no exception. Damn near every serial killer is described by his friends and neighbors as “a nice guy”. Gacey was a pillar of the community but we will always know him for that small percentage of his actual life that he did his cruelty. Chapman’s deeds are not as directly heinous, but he fueled the fire and hatred that often lead to acts just as ugly.

  13. Luis Guajardo says:

    Luke 6 : 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
    I surely hope that Mr. Chapman truly repented and filled his heart with love for other people, besides people from his own race.

  14. Duane says:

    He was a racist… The funny thing is I noticed after the movie was made the comments started Happening a lot more into 2013 After people like myself watched the movie and then looked up Ben Chapman. I wanted to watch it with my six-year-old son and I’m glad I didn’t because I don’t want to have to explain to him how bad it was. I’m white my son is white and I just don’t think he would understand and I don’t think he needs to know how messed up people were back then. I think N word was used more in this movie then Django Unchained.
    Go Rays!

  15. PhilinFlushing says:

    Great article Ed. It’s a bit ironic that a movie themed on the idea of tolerance and breaking barriers would make a villian out of an individual and desecrate his legacy with some over the top scene based on no actual evidence. There is no transcript or recording of what Chapman said that day. It doesn’t matter how he felt about particular races or religions. Many will now judge him by his portrayal in this movie. Most people are idiots nowadays and will accept Hollywood embellishment of events as fact. The PC infection that permeates society is evident in the poster who compares Chapman to a deathrow murderer.
    I could care less how Chapman felt about Blacks. He was a good ball player, not an ambassador. Most people dont even know the definition of racism. If they did, they would be up in arms over the self segregration that led to the formation of national borders, little Italy’s, China towns, Harlem, etc, etc, etc,.
    I would rather live among my White European ancestors than in South central LA. or Chinatown. Does that make me a racist? Of course it does. That’s because self segregation is a natural, biological human function.
    History always corrects itself.
    The current fad of self flagellation over America’s past is quickly losing steam and only those who cling to emotion based ideologies are left hanging on.


  16. DennyHocking says:

    I played for 3 big league teams in MLB Twins,Rockies and KC. I’M SORRY FOLKS!! their is no room for racism,I played with many great white,black,latino’s which included Kirby Puckett,Dave Winfield and a great number good people and great players. Chapman and guys like Dixie Walker,who was a teammate of Jackie’s have to be scorned and yet forgiven!! yes!!!! but their historical legacy should not be changed, even if their daughters,son’s,grandchildren look at the shame that they themselves have a hard time realizing that their loved ones brought into our nations past time!!! I was fortunate to have been coached in the MLB and MINOR LEAGUES by a number of old retired players who played with Jackie and “YES” he was actually taunted with those deplorable words including “NIGGER”,very despicable terms, which make my skin crawl!! during spring training the great “TED WILLIAMS” told me of the taunts that Jackie played with from some fans who would never relent!!! the great Ted Williams told me that his mother was mexican american from Santa Barbara,Calif and his dad was a white guy from Pa. and when he was growing up in San Diego he went by his moms last name, of Verzon (which is mexican), but in 1939 when he broke in with Boston, racism and hate was alive and well, because even guys like Lefty Gomez and any player who had an ethnic name,no matter if you looked white, like he did, it didn’t matter!!!! whenever I walk into a MLB PARK today as a fan, I could be brought to tears for the love of the game and the feeling of knowing what its like to have worn a MLB jersey for 12 seasons and the sadness I have today knowing that with age is wisdom, but my youth as a player is no more!!! I can work the count better today,than when I faced Nolan Ryan or the big Unit,Randy Johnson. Oh by the way? Ted Williams told me me that he considered himself mexican american ,then white!! very simply because his mom spoke spanish and made beans and tortilla’s and chile verde like my wife,who’s mexican american. Denny Hocking, lifetime BA. of 272.

  17. Wiliam Green says:

    note to Mark re Cap Anson- Iowa was not a slave state.

  18. kwabena sankofa says:

    men know in their hearts what is right and wrong, so to make excuses for such totally despicable pieces of existence like Cap Anson, Judge Landis, Tyrus Cobb (who once went into the stands after a disabled fan), Dixie Walker and Chapman, saying they were the “product of their times” as if they were somehow “victimized” by the very pathological hatred they created (Anson is known to have yelled across from his dugout to the other team fielding one of the last black major league players before Robinson, in the 19th Century, no less, demanding they, “Get that n**ger off the field”) based ultimately on completely irrational and unfounded fear, is as inexcusable as their behaviour itself;

    people need to remember major league baseball would’ve gone out of business but for the revenue generated by loaning their parks out to negro league teams in the 1930s, when the MLB teams were out of town, particularly the revenue generated by Negro League All-Star games, which often exceeded a month of revenue taken in by MLB teams, and all in just one afternoon;

    Chapman having “evolved” in later life, long after all the damage he and others from under his rock had done, reminds of what Brother Malcolm once said, that sticking a knife in your back six inches, then pulling it out two is NOT an improvement;

    retiring Robinson’s number in all of baseball and then everyone wearing it one day every season is a fitting tribute to a man as important to his time and this country as President Obama is to this time and our country;

    even though their politics are completely opposite, no way would the latter exist without the former;

  19. kwabena sankofa says:

    please do not confuse segregation with out-and-out pathological racism;

    fruits and vegetables are segregated in every grocery store in the world, as are women’s shoes fro men’s shoes in every clothing store, perfumes from colognes in every department store, indoor and outdoor paints in every hardware store;

    who wouldn’t want to live with family over strangers?

    you NEED to care about Chapman’s racism, because he was one who was ignorant enough to express it openly as Ty Cobb and Cap Anson, and their exact words and behaviour most certainly are a matter of public, historical and verifiable record;

    Chapman calling Robinson a monkey and other epithets is no different than Ted Nugent today calking the sitting president a “mongrel”, when it is a provable fact that then as now there are no “pure” races in the world and everyone in this country came from immigrants–EVERYONE;

    that implication of a “superior” race by such as Cobb and Anson, Chapman and Nugent should send chills down your spine because the logic can easily be extermination, “ethnic cleansing” and other applications of genocide that will invariably consume you as well as i in its ultimate vortex if allowed to run unchecked as in countless examples, from Fort Pillow to Nanking, Buchenwald to Wounded Knee, Attila to Hitler to Pol Pot to today;

    in other words, if you don’t start caring soon if they send the boat for minorities or poor people or women or homosexuals or what have you, rest assured one day you will be defined as a minority and they will send the boat for you…

  20. Jenny says:

    I have found time and again that baseball fans are an usually thoughtful, analytical sort, and these comments prove that.

    First, I watched “42” without much knowledge of the true journey that Jackie Robinson made. Funny how so many think that this story is simply that he was the first black player in the all white league, hooray, the end. To watch such a meaningful movie about such an important time in history also tells us something important about our humanity, and how ignorant and hateful some people can be.

    Second, there were people in the south, from the same place Ben Chapman was raised, who did not use such vile language or have such ignorant attitudes about Jews or African American. His mistakes do not “define” every thing about his soul – as this is rarely the case with anyone – but it tells a bigger story that we cannot make excuses about.

  21. Richard Allen Wright says:

    @DennyHocking – I am 65 years old grew up in Cleveland Ohio my parents were from Georgia and came to Cleveland in 1945 because of the racial situation there.I now and always loved Baseball played the sandlots in cleveland but my calling was in the Christian ministry.Out of all my parents went through in Georgia being born in the early 1900s, I never ever heard them say one evil word about white people when they possibly had a right to. They loved baseball, and was glad to see someone who looked like them play the game they so loved.Jackie Robinson was chosen by God to do something with great sacrifice to help make America just a little bit better and it did. Thanks Mr. Hocking for making this great game better. God Bless

  22. Terry Aulich says:

    I can’t believe you defended Chapman. Racism is racism, even if that good old boy Chapman didn’t (supposedly) know any better. Sport is really a way of bringing different races and ethnic groups together. There were lots of people from the South who were never as awful as Chapman.

  23. Eddie Gilley says:

    Terry I appreciate your perspective. I wrote from what I know. There were also lots of people from the north who were racists too during that turbulent period of our country. Racism isn’t unique to the south.

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