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International Journal of the History of Sport

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Integrating America: Jackie Robinson, critical events and baseball black and white
John Kelly

To cite this Article Kelly, John(2005) 'Integrating America: Jackie Robinson, critical events and baseball black and white',

International Journal of the History of Sport, 22: 6, 1011 1035 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/09523360500286742 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09523360500286742

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The International Journal of the History of Sport Vol. 22, No. 6, November 2005, 1011 1035

Integrating America: Jackie Robinson, Critical Events and Baseball Black and White
John Kelly

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Jackie Robinson, breaking baseballs colour barrier, gathered more attention than any other gure in the history of US civil rights struggles. The uncanny relationships between sports, society and politics are discoverable by pursuit of critical events, asking why specic sports events become centrally important when and where they do. As event theorists Tambiah, Das and Sahlins have emphasized, important events unfold as expressions and potential resolutions of crisis, the observed edge of change, at what Tambiah calls dialectical tension points. Events then embody much larger social relations and forces, and express, even test new resolutions. The integration of Organized Baseball was the proving ground for most US citizens for the prospect of black and white races integrating into one nation. Enduring a carefully planned campaign of stoic suffering, Robinson became the rst black closely observed by most white Americans, and known as one of us rather than one of them.

Baseball took up the cudgel for Democracy, and an unassuming, but superlative Negro boy ascended the heights of excellence to prove the rightness of the experiment. And prove it in the only correct crucible for such an experiment the crucible of white hot competition. (Joe Bostic, a leading black journalist) [1] Throughout its long history, Major League Baseball has operated under the premise that no single person is bigger than the game no single person other than Jackie Robinson. (Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig) [2]

Why is Jackie Robinson so important? In the United States, pressures favouring racial integration built massively in the 1940s. During the Second World War, the Roosevelt administration ordered non-discrimination in war-related industries. It was, in part, responding to pressure. In the spring of 1941, A. Philip Randolph organized a massive

John Kelly, University of Chicago. Correspondence to: johnkelly@uchicago.edu ISSN 0952-3367 (print)/ISSN 1743-9035 (online) 2005 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/09523360500286742

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march on Washington, in protest against racism in the defence industries. His march was forestalled by the governments creation of the Fair Employment Practice Committee. Randolph was head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, an all-black union, and was increasingly inuential in the AFL (American Federation of Labor) more generally. Later in 1941, it was the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations), not the AFL, that began to reverse national policies on black scab workers moving northward in the US, and sought equal wages rather than the exclusion of black workers. [3] In 1948, US President Harry Truman ordered the integration of all parts of the US military, theretofore segregated by unit in most branches and racially exclusive in many functions. In between, in 1946 and 1947, Jackie Robinson garnered the most sustained public attention to any event in the history of struggle against discriminatory employment in US history. Roosevelts order was important. Randolphs campaigns were signicant, not only for labour movements but also as precursors of the civil rights movement generally. Trumans desegregation of the military worked a fundamental change with global implications. But none of them were as controversial in their time, or as famous now, as Jackie Robinson and the integration of Organized Baseball. Jackie Robinson was the rst black American known by most of white America. His were the struggles observed, understood and embraced. His campaign reoriented public culture and the body politic. Maybe. This essay, and a companion essay to follow, focuses on Jackie Robinson and the desegregation of US Major League Baseball as a critical event. While this essay examines the signicance of Jackie Robinson breaking the baseball colour line in US history, the next essay reconsiders Robinson and the desegregation of Major League Baseball from the perspective of world history. In both cases, what is under discussion is also the place of sports in social and political history more generally. The uncanny relationships between sports, society and politics can be discerned with a different kind of precision by way of critical event theory. To be clear, let me describe the road I will not be taking. One way to consider sports in society and history would be to discern a general relationship between sports and the rest of society to nd the place of sports, generally, in a larger social landscape, manifold or fabric. [4] This goal is reasonable, and while the quest for a general theory of sports is well under way, there is much room for more academic theory and research on general issues relevant to this study, such as the nature of the activity of spectatorship and its forms of identication and participation, and the culture of games for pleasure in societies in a global capitalist economy structured by competition. We could use a general account of spectacular competitions as a kind of capitalist rite, reconsidering the relation of games and rituals in Faustian capitalist culture. But here, in these essays, I want to tack in a different direction, away from quests for general structures of sport. I want to look at critical events in sports history. Rather than seeking a theory of a general relationship between sports institutions, ideologies and practices on the one hand and the rest of society on the other, a critical-event-focused approach seeks to better understand why specic sports events, institutions and relationships become unusually, centrally, important to the rest of

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society, when and where they do. (See the quotation from Bud Selig above. Only Jackie Robinson is bigger than the game, Selig recognizes, or wants us to believe an issue I will have to reconsider below.) Especially in complex, heterogeneous social elds (as Veena Das [5] has pointed out), some events gain uncanny importance as they unfold, becoming expressions of crisis and sometimes proffering potential resolutions, on the observed edge of real change what Stanley Tambiah [6] has called dialectical tension points. Specic events then embody much larger social relations and forces. They not only express the terms of crisis but test new resolutions. Critical events can be tests of strength for new realities (as Bruno Latour [7] uses the phrase). This is the thesis in this rst essay: that the critical event of Jackie Robinson breaking the colour line was the test of strength for a new, post-war Pax Americana modality of US citizenship, and citizenship generally. All this needs more explaining, of course, and I will return soon to Das, Tambiah and Latour, as well as to other critical event theorists. But lets put the whole before the parts, with a second look at the other quote that starts this essay. Journalist and activist Joe Bostic got it exactly right, in the midst of events he helped to orchestrate. His synthesis is bizarre on many points. His use of boy to refer to Robinson is a horror to our mores, and his praise for the unassuming nature of the boy might more subtly rankle. These are signs of his times. But his observations are also strange in their smooth combination of ideas from disparate elds. Democracy needs a cudgel to be wielded (the war with the fascists was, after all, barely over, but we too now live the contradictions this image resists). This cudgel is also an experiment, in a crucible. But the experiment has not merely merit but rightness, a moral rather than a merely intellectual superiority, even a touch of the sacred when heights are ascended. Its crucible has to be white-hot competition an image of scientic, laboratory extremes with an undertone of competition with whites, and the crucible for the cudgels experiment is not only right but also correct, back to the intellectual: the critical event is taking place where it must, to do what it will. Something had to be proved that only a forced experiment in white-hot competition could prove; a Negro boy with and against white champions in the most controlled conditions could be asked to ascend the heights of excellence; this and only this could prove the rightness of something new for America. Bostic got it exactly right. And he helped make it happen. Critical Event Theory Some events come pregured. Or is it all events? There are senses in which all events come pregured. Their possibility and logic must be recognizable for them to be recognized, even when they are not otherwise foreseen. But it is for sure that some are more foreseen and more pregured than others. For example, when Rickey Henderson played for the Oakland As in 1991 he gradually and inexorably approached Lou Brocks all time record career total for stolen bases. (This all time record is irremediably corrupted by the absence of comparable totals for Negro

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League players such as Bingo DeMoss, Oscar Charleston and James Cool Papa Bell, but thats another story.) [8] The fated and feted day came against the Yankees at Yankee stadium on 1 May 1991. Henderson stole third base, with his characteristic head-rst diving slide, and hugged the bag. In fact, something bigger than that days game had occurred, and play stopped for a brief ceremony of recognition. An apparently exuberant Henderson lifted the bag up from its mooring, revealing the spike below it that ts in a pipe to hold the bag in place on the eld. Henderson held the base aloft, above his head, a conquest and spontaneous celebration of triumph. No, not actually so spontaneous: in the small ceremony that ensued, announcing and praising the new all-time record, Henderson was presented with a trophy in the form of a statue commemorating the event: a statue of Henderson, bronze, holding a base aloft, above his head, just as it had in his hands moments before. Hendersons exuberant transgression, tearing a base from the eld in the middle of a game and holding it up triumphantly, was vaguely laden with the emotional and strategic energy of the part of the game in which highly mobile base-runners desperately seek connection with the stationary bags. The transgressiveness of base stealing itself was redoubled when Henderson wrenched up the base in celebration. He was master of the basepaths, now owning and moving the base at will. But, all his pleasure notwithstanding, the sense of transgression was not further amplied, but rather strangely cancelled, when the statue was revealed that depicted the event before it happened. After all, stealing is within the rules of this game and so is the merchandizing of its triumphant moments. One approach is to see this event therefore as a fake. A more romantic approach to the event than I will recommend assigns greater reality to the least foreseen or pregured events. In the romantic extreme, real events could only be transgressions of the ordinary and pregured things of the world, the things already invested with form and meaning, the things of the world given by structure. (One could think here of Heideggers desperation for what he imagined to be being.) [9] But I think it is more interesting to understand how Hendersons kind of event is real, pregured but not exhaustively, meaningful at the moment because of the structures to which it connects, yet not a simple function of past structures and determined by them: Henderson could have been injured, never breaking the record, and so on. There isnt even reason to gure Henderson as faking his exuberance; in fact I expect quite the opposite, regardless of the staging of his self-expression. I expect that he felt awe. In any case, the world of sports, and the rest of life, is lled with the kinds of event Hendersons staged transgression makes unmistakable, events that follow storylines while breaking other records, boundaries or relationships, events that disrupt order with their own logic, that mark and begin new patterns of order out of old. I would rather start an assessment of events with Hendersons as a paradigm than any romantic expectation of true novelty. Event theory engages paradoxes, so let us begin there, not with events as the novel but as the pre-programmed novelty, the broken record setting the new record, the transgressed boundary setting new boundaries. Whether or not all events have this structure I will not fully explore here see Sahlins

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[10] for a fuller discussion. But I think we have to appreciate this dimension of key events to understand sports events (so closely related to rules) and the relationship of sports and the rest of social life (so afliatively constituted, the result of ongoing, deliberate intentions to participate or watch, always already recognizing lines on the eld). What then is a critical event? Veena Das, in her book Critical Events, launched an anthropology of critical events by demonstrating how the study of events can contribute to the study of complex social realities. [11] More recently, Marshall Sahlins persuasively emphasizes the connection of events to structures. [12] Coincidentally, Sahlins relies on a baseball example Bobby Thompsons pennant-winning home run, versus season-long dominance by the Yankees in the other Major League the same year to demonstrate how structures constitute the signicance of events, and some more than others. No one game, let alone single swing, determined the Yankees fate as they won the American League pennant, while in the National League it really was because of Thompsons single swing that The Giants won the pennant, to recall the famous recording. Das is less interested in the exigencies of structure in the constitution of situations than in the way things change, especially in complex social elds. Thus she begins her theory of critical events in the more romantic vein, following Furets 1970s denition of critical events, with the paradigm of the French Revolution, an event par excellence because it instituted a new modality of historical action which was not inscribed in the inventory of that situation. [13] Furet, Das and Sahlins all pursue the enigmas of continuity and change, and the contingencies of the eventamental for both. Their emphases differ. Francois Furets original inspiration was the historiography of the French Left and the way it had returned political energy to the memory of the French Revolution. He observed that the historians of the later nineteenth and early twentieth century had begun to lose the passions with which the history of 1789 and 1793 had to be narrated or more precisely, had begun to lose the sense that every narrative took a side and had a politics, was for or against the Republic. But then, in the twentieth century, arose a new polar politics. The Russian Revolution changed, and again charged, the relationship of historians and events. Again, one had to have a side on revolutions and their meanings, including their relations to each other. Furet resisted easy answers and embraced accounts of both continuity and break. He saw the value of the apperceptions of agents in history, and the need for accounts critical of them; scornful of Marxist interpretations he nevertheless tried to encompass them, arguing that men make history but do not know the history they are making. [14] The French Revolution, he concluded with Tocqueville, did not change the top-down character of the state and its actions. But with the many observers of break, Furet also saw novelty, a changing relation of subjects to the state, with the new principle in politics, the two-edged legitimacy of the peoples will, both licensing them and binding them to sovereignty in new ways. The French Revolution was historically important for its unique trait that was to become universal, thought Furet: it was the rst experiment with democracy. [15]

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While Furet resisted easy answers within French historiography, his comparative method is somewhat weaker, neglecting the American 1776 and myriad other democracies.[16] Das draws Furets insights into a wider comparative eld, in search of means to know the life of the nation. [17] Sceptical of an anthropology of the nation that seeks the nation by expanding in spatial scale, seeking the nation as an enlargement of family, clan and village, Das seeks to know the nation in time rather than space. Das seeks to see the means by which heterogeneous totality is assembled and contested by the state, communities and individuals arguing about the national experience, how agencies of an unprecedented kind and scale are thereby created and lived. Her Furet is the observer of the emergence of such a national scale of agency, and Das xes her version of Furets argument within a further language of great transformation, that of tradition and modernity: the critical events that shape the life of the nation are events in which new modes of action came into being which redened traditional categories and new forms of political actor emerged, from caste groups and womens groups to the nation as a whole. [18] In particular, Das traces the politics of violence against women in the traumas of Indias partition. In controversies surrounding campaigns for the return of abducted women and children, across nation-state boundaries, the actors are now the new nation states rather than families and communities. [19] The meanings of transgressions of sexuality and kinship became rst of all international matters, with new moral requirements imposed on those assigned victimhood and targeted for rescue. Dass anthropology intrinsically includes its own political mission. The nation-state tries to institutionalize collective memories (p.10) and the state tries to establish a monopoly over ethical pronouncements (pp.1415), while communities emerge as political actors trying to x memories and declare moralities in conformity with the possibilities of state power, thereby to become the national voice. Thus, despite their cultural texture, the communities move not to and from the life-world of individuals but rst of all to and from the ofces of the state; community is emerging in Indias political culture as a political actor which seeks to reshape not so much the face-toface intimate relations of the private sphere, but control over law and history in the predominantly public sphere of life (p.17). In this conjuncture, when the terms of national honour or communal valuation reshape the memory of events and occlude actual experiences, we should when constructing an anthropological text, recover these lost moments (p.8). In this kind of anthropological text, the destruction of meta-narratives has a relation of consubstantiation with the truth of the victim, not because it is more persuasive or closer to the structure of the world, but rather because it provides us with new possibilities of justice (p.207). Das reaches into critical events to move against the grain of their coordination as moments in collective social life, to nd what has been lost, and especially to bear witness to sacriced suffering (p.210). The approaches toward critical events of Tambiah, Sahlins and Latour each in their own way contrast with that of Das in basic matters of both method and intrinsic ethics. All three (most amboyantly Latour, but most systematically Sahlins) resist

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great divide theories, and none locate critical events, as do Furet and Das, with novel, post-traditional kinds of agency. Their critical events happen throughout history, not only in a period of modernity. In Tambiahs terms the structures of all societies have dialectical tension points, recurrent sites of social movement and conict. Sahlins shows how specic kinds of social structures can force specic kinds of transformative events into existence. Latour calls his theory an associology, in effect imagining all relationships negotiated, even those not between people but between people and things. In Latours universe there is nothing surprising about events changing structures, and more to be explained about how institutions hold together. Bruno Latour is rst of all an anthropologist of knowledge or historian of science. Thus where Das sets her sails in opposition to the states monopoly on ethical pronouncement, Latour seeks everything silenced by the establishment in science. But where Das seeks the role of recoverer of the lost, Latour does not cast the anthropologist as hero. His favourite stories are those of things and people beginning weak and becoming strong above all, Pasteur and the rise of biology. Latour tells real stories of power in knowledge, and lays open the heterogeneity, contingency and drift in the real history of complex institutional networks, but with heroes among the engineers rather than the victims. If critical events are important tests of strength, tests of strength are the politics of culture and nature. Finally, in the works of Stanley Tambiah and Marshall Sahlins, I return to an anthropology of events and critical events that is also an anthropology of structure. Each sees histories constituted by agents acting within the possibilities and limits of specic social structure: people making the kinds of history they know how to make, when and where they can, a fact making change all the more interesting, especially where it is an intended consequence (as it was in the case of Jack Robinson). Latours world of symmetries, actants and endless transactions is, to Sahlins, nature and culture rendered in the social forms of capitalism. Tambiah commits himself as completely to the measure of events in South Asian politics as does Das, but Tambiahs concern for violence and victims leads him to seek new means to democratic peace, not new modes of justice. The study of critical events has become, for the anthropologists, historians and others taking up the questions, a mode for reconsideration of fundamentals of political process and possibility. How and why do things really change? Can ideologies change the future, the past or the present? Can we know what is happening, or what has happened, or what will and is this only because of the role of our ideas in the events themselves? My own view of critical events in general is in line with Tambiah and Sahlins. I agree with Latour in what he calls anti-anti-fetishism, in other words scepticism about the forms of scholarship he labels anti-fetishist, those that propose to know better than those involved the real terms of the events of history, those whose scholarship is founded, as above with Furet, on the principle that the agents who make history do not know the history they are making (unintended consequences and overlooked developments notwithstanding). Das is right to be concerned with the sacriced and silenced, and to address the shaping of memory and its

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consubstantiation with morality I will return to what Bud Selig is up to, at the end of this rst essay and she is right that the nation, a heterogeneous whole in all its manifestations in the era of nation states, is a creature of time, not space, made out of memory, a reworked fabric of moralized narratives, and thus that the politics of national narrative and ritual is a vital subject for scholars (on which see also Kaplan [20]). But with Tambiah and Sahlins, above all, I see the conditions of political possibility within the tensions of perduring structures, and in their modes of selfextension and self-transformation. The core of the story of Jackie Robinson lies in his suffering. His suffering was real, no doubt more difcult and more awesome, for Robinson and others, than Rickey Hendersons base-stealing. But from beginning to end, from signing to the last night of celebrations and prizes, it was also more planned, projected, anticipated and then celebrated than was Hendersons record. A condition of possibility of its role as a critical event was that Jackie Robinsons story had a script. Okay, not everything goes as planned, as when ABC News invited Robinsons old teammate Al Campanis to discuss Robinsons legacy on an anniversary date: Campanis explained baseballs lack of black managers and executives by alleging that blacks lacked the necessities for jobs requiring brainpower. Regardless of such accidents or better, constitutive of them and tested against them the Jackie Robinson story was set to follow a particular vision of possible progress. I dont mean this abstractly or vaguely, and I am not just talking about Branch Rickey. Consider, for a shortcut to the point, the observations of Clark Grifth, owner of the Washington Senators, in a 1938 interview with the Washington Tribune, a Negro weekly:
There are few big-league magnates who are not aware of the fact that the time is not far off when colored players will take their places beside those of other races in the major leagues. However, Im not sure that time has arrived yet. . . . A lone Negro in the game will face caustic comments. He will be made the target of cruel, lthy epithets. Of course, I know the time will come when the ice will have to be broken. Both by the organized game and by the colored player who is willing to volunteer and thus become a sort of martyr to the cause. [21]

Grifth would be more prescient if he wasnt actually one of the big-league magnates himself. He had a clear image of an event to come: not only that it was coming but how it would come. A lone Negro, facing cruel lthy epithets, would have to volunteer and then become a sort of martyr to the cause. Why not teammates or a team or black players joining many different teams in the same spring training? Why the lonely man? And why Jackie Robinson? Why Him? Who was Jack Roosevelt Robinson? A great deal has been written about Jackie Robinson and the breaking of baseballs colour line. The large number of biographies and thematic studies is only

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overshadowed by the extraordinary number of childrens books that have been published, especially in the last decade, on one of the hottest topics in US public culture. [22] I draw here from those sources, mostly the adult ones. Jackie Robertson was signed into Organized Baseball by General Manager Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Thomas Gilbert summarizes Rickeys quest and his concerns, quoting Rickeys own retrospective comments:
Rickey feared that if he picked a man who was too sensitive or had too short a temper, the result would be ugly racial confrontations on the eld or in the stands and that this would give racist owners the perfect justication for maintaining the color line. I had to get a man, Rickey said, who would carry the badge of martyrdom. The press had to accept him. He had to stimulate a good reaction from the Negro race itself for an unfortunate one might have solidied the antagonism of other colors. And I had to consider the mans teammates. What he meant by that was that the player had to be acceptable to whites. [23]

In 1944 Rickey compared baseball integration with Prohibition, a cause he supported but for which he despaired. The mismanaged prohibition of alcohol by force had thrown the temperance movement back a century. If managed wrong, Rickey thought, the introduction of a Negro into baseball, even without force, might similarly throw back their cause of racial equality a quarter century or more. [24] Rickeys relationship with Robinson has been the subject of much attention in the tellings of Robinsons story. To understand the Robinson story we have to deal with this complexity in three dimensions: the celebration of pioneering black-white relationships as part of the critical event itself; the reality of this relationship as part of Rickeys plan; and the high degree to which Rickeys plan set the terms of their relationship. More than one book has a chapter on Robinson and Rickey titled Oh They Were a Pair! (a quotation from Clyde Sukeforth, the scout who signed Robinson, describing their intense rst encounter in retrospect). [25] Rickey is one of two white men now in the Baseball Hall of Fame who get much attention for their connections to Jackie Robinson; Pee Wee Reese, the Dodger shortstop and captain, is the other. The hall plaques for both Rickey and Reese allude to their connection to Robinson. The most famous Reese-Robinson story has Reese crossing the ineld to throw an arm around Robinsons shoulders and stare down hecklers in the opposing dugout: this story is highly focalized and transvalued, i.e. stripped of contextual details and laden with transcendent symbolism, though not entirely apocryphal. [26] But the equally dramatic and more incredible story of Rickeys rst meeting with Robinson is likely to be substantially true. [27] Jackie Robinson, then a promising rookie shortstop for the Kansas City Monarchs, the leading team in the western half of the Negro Leagues, rst met Branch Rickey in his darkly panelled ofce in Brooklyn, with portraits of Abraham Lincoln and Leo Durocher on the wall. Brought in perhaps to discuss a contract for a new Brown Dodgers team in a new, whiteowned Negro League, Robinson was grilled by Rickey about his personal life and strongly advised to marry. Robinson observed the difculties involved with his

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travelling and uncertain career, but Rickey insisted. Robinson should marry, if he had found the right woman. He would need the support of a good wife, since a dangerous challenge was at hand. Then Rickey revealed his plan, and Robinson understood it. Never was an agent more imbricated into a role, nor more ready for it. Rickey, as we shall see, chose well as Robinson seems to have understood. Rickey revealed to Robinson his intention to sign Robinson to a contract for the AAA Montreal team, his plan to make Robinson the rst black in Organized Baseball, and if he performed to capacity, the rst black in the white Major Leagues. Robinson was already well scouted, and was Rickeys choice. I know you are a good ballplayer, Rickey spoke with deliberate bluntness. What I dont know is whether you have the guts. Rickey then began acting out the kinds of abuse he expected Robinson to face, enacting Jim Crow, as a rude hotel clerk, a snide waiter and a crude train conductor. The churchly teetotaller put the vulgar epithets of the ball eld in Robinsons face, even swung a st at his head and evoked a base-runner sliding spikes up to cut Robinsons leg or hand, sneering How do you like that, nigger boy? The theme, continually, was that the rst man across the colour line could not ght back. He had to have the courage to take abuse, again and again, to suffer the indignities and injuries, even the spikings and knockdowns, without antagonistic response. For the experiment to succeed, its protagonist had to remain the victim of injustice, never the agent of confrontation. The year before, as Rickey knew, Jackie Robinson had endured a court martial following a sequence of confrontations with racists on a notorious Texas army base, Camp Hood. (The camp was named after a Confederate general. At Camp Hood the outhouses were not divided between white and colored, but into three: white, colored and Mexican a detail pointing at themes for my second essay.) One night at 11.0 p.m., Lieutenant Jack Robinson boarded the bus for town, an hour away. He knew that Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson, athletes like himself, had recently been embroiled in Jim Crow bus controversies in Alabama, and that the month before a black soldier had been killed by a white bus driver on a bus in North Carolina (the driver was soon to be acquitted). He also knew that the Army had announced bans on segregation in its own transportation after the soldiers death. But his motive for sitting in the middle rather than the back of the bus was not to confront the driver. He sat down to accompany and support the wife of a fellow black ofcer, Virginia Jones, whom he found sitting in the middle of the bus. The driver, a white civilian, misunderstood the situation, mistaking the fair-skinned Jones for a white woman. Robinson refused the drivers order that he go to the back of the bus, and a heated argument ensued. A white woman also on the bus asked for Robinson to be arrested, and the driver called his dispatcher. When the driver called Robinson a nigger making trouble, Robinson told the driver to stop fuckin with me. An MP arrived (a corporal) and brought Robinson to the bases military police guardroom where, according to Robinsons version of events, both the private and sergeant on duty also called him a nigger. When the captain on duty and then the captain who

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commanded the bases military police arrived, neither spoke to Robinson to seek his version of events, and repeatedly ordered him out of the guardroom and continued to discuss the case with the MPs within. In the end, the Army preferred charges in Robinsons court martial only regarding his conversations with the captains and his response to their orders. The captains testied that Lieutenant Robinson had a bad attitude and was disrespectful and impertinent to superior ofcers, his conduct unbecoming to an ofcer in the presence of enlisted men. Robinson testied that the captains did not seem to recognize me as an ofcer at all. [28] When Robinsons own battalion commander refused to endorse the charges, the captain in command of the bases military police arranged for Robinson to be transferred to another battalion and charged and arrested the same day. Robinson was acquitted of all charges in his court martial, and shortly thereafter was discharged honourably from the Army. Injuries from his football career had led him to inactive status already (and were connected to his reasons for being on a bus to town). Perhaps to end the matter entirely, the Army relieved him from all duty by reason of physical disqualication. Robinson left the Army, in the midst of a world war. Im looking for a ball player with guts enough not to ght back, Rickey is said to have told Robinson during their rst meeting. [29] Jackies wife, Rachel Isum Robinson (he did take Rickeys advice and married shortly after signing), remembered well Jackies equanimity as the court martial approached, his reliance on reasonable argument, his restraint, his calm and his willingness to act on behalf of another black ofcer in a similar case even while his own was pending. She connected it to Jackies relationship with God. Less devout, she was struck by his conviction, grounded in nightly prayer, that God would take care of you. . . . An ordeal like the court martial was a sign to Jack that God was testing him. And Jack just knew that he would respond well, that he would come through, because he was a child of God. [30] Rickey liked being called the Mahatma. Rampersad connects the conversation between Rickey and Robinson to Gandhi and satyagraha and the historical sweep that would culminate in Martin Luther Kings adaptation of Gandhian principles to the civil rights struggle in the US. But at its core the conversation between Rickey and Robinson drew from the well of Christian radicalism (which was, after all, a major source for Gandhi). As Rampersad shows, Rickey spoke to Robinson as one Methodist believer to another:
Rickey offered Jack a copy of an English translation of Giovanni Papinis popular Life of Christ and pointed to a passage quoting the words of Jesus what Papini called the most stupefying of His revolutionary teachings: You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: But whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [31]

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Rarely would Rickey, or Robinson, directly invoke a Christian image in their discussions with the press. Neither adorned himself with Christian symbols. But both

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had a strong grasp of the narrative of martyrdom, and by 1946 both felt called to a task. Robinson had chafed on the Monarchs, even though he was grateful to become a professional athlete. Rickey called his orchestration of Robinsons breaking of the colour line the most important thing he ever did. As we shall see, by the time he signed Robinson, Rickey had been in conversations about the need to integrate baseball for years, and had been working closely with a New York sociologist planning exactly how to do it for more than a year. But the most signicant part of the narrative that organized events for them was not something either relied upon merely instrumentally. Much has been written about Robinsons anger and aggression (as in the basepaths) and about Rickeys real motives (as in signing the best black players when integration was clearly coming; wanting above all to win). Rickey was clearly no Mahatma, spending his adult life seeking baseball pennants. But I dont doubt that both he and Robinson practised the kind of episodic, self-centring quest to be an instrument of Gods will that sharply distinguishes US Protestant devotion from truly disciplining Protestantisms; that both believed that this was their moment in Gods plan, their great test and their chance for great purpose. Rickey needed someone who could see it, and he could see that Robinson did. Robinson was ready to respond to Rickeys recognition. He trusted the man, keeping his signing secret even from Rachel until Rickey said it was time, yet making life plans around the promises of a single session. More than that, he revelled, because Robinson was, in fact, born to the role he played. There was an intensity to Robinsons actions in the crucial years that was palpable because it was real. Roy Campanella, the great young black catcher who joined Robinson on the Dodgers, in 1948, also a Hall of Famer, was said to genuinely feel the wisdom of going along with Jim Crow rules, while Robinson always saw and felt the indignities. Satchel Paige, the great pitcher in the Negro Leagues, had seen and done enough that he was ambivalent about joining the white leagues. Rickey and Robinson connected the banalities of discrimination with mythos. Rickey had other reasons to nd Robinson the best choice among the many candidates he reviewed. Rickey looked at great players in the Caribbean, especially in Cuba, who were clearly talented enough, and considered breaking the colour line with a perhaps less threatening foreign player. He looked at Paige and Campanella and many other Negro League players, young and old. Robinson had two other objective features in his athletic background that recommended him. While young in baseball terms, being in only his rookie professional season, he was no rookie in the world of big-time sports. Before his years in the Army, Robinson was a sports star in California, the starting running-back on the UCLA Bruins College football team. This gave him the measure of fame that, along with his clear competence, smoothed the way for the draftee to become an ofcer in the US Army. His football background gave the Dodgers two grounds for comfort. First, he was no rookie in mixed-race locker rooms. College football had never been segregated, but black players were rare, and Robinson had played without incident on a very white team. Second, because UCLA football was, in California, a very big deal, Robinson was no rookie with the media. Rickey could see that he knew well how to handle celebrity.

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Fated maybe, chosen at least by Rickey and cast in a planned role denitely, but not by mere schemers. Enough about Rickey and Robinson. Yes, all right, what a pair. But more was going on. Why Then? The Race War and the Great Migration This cudgel for democracy and all the talk of experiments and also of grand purposes are very much the stuff of the times. Not for nothing is one of the leading general histories of the period called Great Expectations. Many have written about the sense of vindication in the US for faith in technology and democracy, and of the senses of sober urgency that characterized the period after the war. The Democrats clearly remembered Woodrow Wilsons failure to win the peace after winning the First World War and the failure of a US Congress dominated by Republicans to join and support his new League of Nations. Even as early as the late 1930s the Roosevelt White House put great energy into planning the post-war new world order. [32] Much of the impetus for global decolonization came from US foreign policy, with implications I will examine more closely in the next essay. Here, I want to focus on the connection of wartime idealism, especially in the sense of a struggle for democracy versus fascism, with the building crisis over race and civil rights in the US. Many have pointed out the connection between the Second World War and the emergence of the race-focused civil rights movement in the US. There are two dimensions of the war years, however, that are not commonly remembered even so, and I want to underline them. The rst is the point made most forcefully by John Dower: the Second World War was a race war. [33] As Dower shows, the Holocaust and its horrors have led to their own focalization of the history of racial justication for war. After the war, with justice the Nazis became the paradigm of the evils of racism, and the evidence of its insanity. And Americans began to forget the degree to which their own war effort, especially in the Pacic, was itself openly racist, not only in distant justications and images, but in concrete practices, including the famous unwillingness of soldiers on either side to become prisoners. The Pacic war was fought to the death, to the point where kamikaze attacks could help justify Hiroshima. [34] The mobilization necessary for large-scale war effort calls forth justications, and from early in the war major efforts were launched to transcend narratives of mere self-interest. The call to make the world safe for democracy was renewed and amplied by Roosevelts four freedoms. The tension between such high idealism and domestic racial realities was increasingly uncomfortably visible. While sociologists, led by Gunnar Myrdal in his 1944 American Dilemma, [35] sought to dene the contours of the dilemma, political movements left and right sought new angles to follow from resolving it (and Republican Wendell Willkie best known for his prediction of a rising global call for national freedom in his book One World did surprisingly well against Roosevelt). Meanwhile, generations of American blacks chang under the humiliating and possibly even amplifying routines of Jim Crow

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were voting with their feet, moving north, and by the end of the war the trickle was a ood, sometimes called the Great Migration, and the US north had its own substantial black populations. Yet still most northern whites had grown up in an environment without blacks and had no rst-hand unmediated knowledge of black people. Even in urban centres the mass of black workers met a labour system with many racially marked segments, with blacks thought great for manual and servile work, train porters at the pinnacle. It was the golden era for the Negro Leagues. A further symptom of the time and its tempers was that even before the race war of the world war, what we might call race play was becoming increasingly popular in baseball. While both the big leagues and the Negro Leagues did good business, separate and in fact not equal, neither paid its players enough for the players not to wish for work in the off season. So-called barnstorming, travelling to play exhibitions, had long been the players source for supplemental winter income. In fact, barnstorming into and around the Caribbean had been popular since the late nineteenth century, with the Caribbean teams clearly competitive all along, a theme for my next essay. But what emerged as world race war approached was a new kind of barnstorming. It turned out that you could draw really large crowds if you pitted a white all-star team against a black all-star team. Most famously, in 1930s, Satchel Paige and Dizzy Dean, and later Paige and Bob Feller, took teams on tour, each great pitcher pitching a little each game against each other. Clark Grifth, owner of the Senators, envisioned a future World Series pitting white versus black, Major Leagues champion versus the champion of the Negro Leagues. [36] In 1934, a black-versus-white all-star tour of North Dakota and Canada was called off short, [37] because the white players had to catch up with another tour of Japan, the soon-to-be enemy in the race war, toured successfully by Negro League stars the year before. Holway has compiled data on the outcomes of these racialized games, and nds that overall, the black teams won slightly more than half the time. [38] It is sometimes noted in newspaper accounts that the white teams were drinking while playing. But I nd it very hard to believe that, in the American South in the era of Jim Crow, the white players didnt care who won. There was ample evidence to anyone paying attention that black players and teams (and Caribbean, especially Cuban players and teams) were capable of championship calibre play. Organized baseball had a commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who claimed bizarrely that there was no ban on black players playing in the Major Leagues, while every winter the players found the best income in almost endlessly reiterated racial test matches, and the world careered into race war and new democratic utopianism. Some argue that the whole story hinges on biography the biography of Landis and that the integration of baseball as inevitably followed his departure from the commissioners ofce as his presence forestalled it. [39] In any case, the emergence of pressure for integration, and its intertwining with politics, is clear from the many forestalled efforts to integrate Major League teams. Fears of Communist inuence were matched by the efforts of American Communists to push for racial integration

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and labour rights. In 1936, the Daily Worker opened a sports section to address racial injustices in professional sports, and meet their readers other needs. The Communists were radical integrationists long before the CIO, let alone the AFL. In 1941, the Daily Worker wired all 16 Major League franchises requesting tryouts for Negro League players. Leading black sportswriter Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier became their key ally they reprinted his columns, though he never worked for them and they helped Smith campaign. Such campaigns grew in force and number as the CIO, the wing of the AFL listening to A. Phillip Randolph, and the Roosevelt White House pushed legal reforms and created institutions of inquiry. When, in 1942, the Los Angeles correspondent of the Pittsburgh Courier brought Jackie Robinson and another black player to the Pasadena spring training camp of the Chicago White Sox, the team simply refused to let them on the eld. [40] More sustained pressure was put on the Pittsburgh Pirates by the Courier, but repeated team promises to give tryouts were never kept a tryout for Roy Campanella and others, scheduled for 4 August 1942, was cancelled after the Daily Workers stories put it on the Associated Press wire and led to national discussion. The Pirates owner sought to disassociate himself from any communist-sponsored effort; [41] Wendell Smith disassociated himself a few years later, when he went to work for Branch Rickey as black Jackie Robinsons black roommate and condant in 1946. Smith later concluded that the Communist Party did more to delay the entrance of the Negroes into Organized Baseball than any other factor. [42] But ardently anti-Communist sportswriter Sam Lacy had no better luck in his efforts to move Clark Grifth and the Washington Senators over the same period. Perhaps the rst actual tryout, sort of, was given to Jackie Robinson and two other Negro League players with the Boston Red Sox in 1945. [43] The Red Sox were forced by liberal city councilman Isadore Muchnick to give black players a tryout on threat of losing their right to a liquor licence on Sundays. They gave a 90-minute tryout the day before opening day to three Negro League players assembled by Wendell Smith. Red Sox manager Joe Cronin either watched and said nothing, or didnt even watch, explaining much later in life that there was no hope of the players ever playing at the Red Soxs AAA farm club in Louisville. [44] Not for one minute did we believe the tryout was sincere, Robinson later remembered. [45] The Red Sox also refused an invitation to scout and sign Willie Mays the same year. But they werent the only team turning down direct invitations. Interestingly, the Dodgers were also in the fake tryout business in April 1945. Here then is some interesting evidence for the degree to which Rickey and baseball orchestrated a specic kind of integration. New York legal reforms in 1945 made the Major League teams in New York particularly vulnerable to legal challenge for their racial exclusivity. New York citys Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia forced the teams to send representatives to a committee to plan their own integration. Rickey participated on the committee and was glad to recruit the help of its chair, sociologist Dan Dodson, as he made his plans, but he kept his actual plans secret from most of the rest of the committee. Then Rickey faced a crisis when Joe Bostic, a writer for Harlems Peoples

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Voice, arrived at the Dodgers spring training camp with two Negro League veterans. Rickey overruled his own employees, who had refused to schedule workouts for the players, and put them into Major League uniforms to work out with the rest of the Dodgers for a day. But he berated Bostic for creating the confrontation. And Bostics players were not great prospects. Both in their late 30s, those were the only two . . . I could get who were willing to face the wrath of the man, Bostic later explained. [46] Rickey wanted the tryout forgotten. He feared that connection of the project with leaders such as Joe Bostic would give it an aura not of martyrdom but of left-wing politics. [47] Despite the fact that baseballs integration was the paradigm of a segregated industry confronting its problem, baseballs management wanted the story as far away from labour rights issues as possible. But even this paradox a break in fundamental rules for the labour market, to be portrayed above all beyond the politics of labour does not fully address the specicities of the plan chosen. The most interesting failure of baseball to integrate before Jackie Robinson is on an entirely different basis. Once and future team owner Bill Veeck developed a simple plan in 1942. The talent base of the Major Leagues was thinned out by the war, and the teams had great trouble making ends meet at the same time. The ethics of attending sporting events during total war were unclear at best; things such as playing patriotic songs helped, but only so much. Teams were close to bankruptcy. From 1942 into 1944, Veeck tried to buy the Philadelphia Phillies and planned to rebuild the team with Negro League veterans. It would be both cheap and interesting, and he thought he could win the pennant. As Veeck told the story in his autobiography, Landis engineered the sale of the team to others in order to block his plans. His account might be overstated [48] but the plan reveals a road not taken. Satchel Paige, among others, resisted the idea of integration by lone individuals (himself, for instance), and thought that one or two black teams should have been added to the major leagues. The pressures were building. Something had to be done. Something in particular. The Walls Come Tumbling Down? Or, Just the Urban Stadiums? The Walls Come Tumbling Down is another favoured title. [49] Major League baseball now seeks to amplify the Jackie Robinson story, especially in the tenure of the current commissioner. A kind of nostalgia around Robinson is palpable, even getting a bit hysterical with Robinsons number retired on every team in Organized Baseball, major and minor league. On 15 April 2004, Commissioner Bud Selig said:
When you look at the history of our game, Jackie Robinson coming into baseball theres no question in my mind that April 15, 1947, was the most powerful moment in baseball history. . . . It transcended baseball. It was a precursor to the civil rights movement by 15 or 16 years.

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There is more than a little that is odd about this. Something has shifted concretely, and that something is who is doing the talking about the racial signicance of

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Robinsons career. Selig now considers making 15 April a day of commemoration throughout baseball every year, and you get the feeling that he wouldnt mind a national holiday. It did not start out this way, white and establishment voices babbling with enthusiasm for the signicance in race politics of the event of Robinsons play in Organized Baseball. It began with black voices demanding integration, black journalists calling for change, the baseball establishment nervous where it was not appalled. Red Barber, the famous Dodger broadcaster, is said to have made literally no references to Robinsons race through the rst year of his play with the Dodgers, no references to history being made. [50] The leading New York newspapers were attentive to the racial history being made but did not report on quotidian racial incidents. This ofcial squeamishness is visible, particularly, on Robinsons Hall of Fame plaque, as Tygiel, Rampersad and others have observed. Jackie Robinsons plaque makes no reference to his breaking the colour barrier. Other plaques, in turn, show the transition now culminating in Seligs virtual euphoria. Pee Wee Reese was elected to the Hall of Fame the easy way, by the Veterans Committee in 1984, after being passed over by the sportswriters for many years. Shortstop and captain, his plaque begins, citing his intangible qualities of subtle leadership on and off the eld. It concludes: Instrumental in easing acceptance of Jackie Robinson as baseballs rst black performer. Robinson and the race issues are openly adduced (and Organized Baseball is rendered synonymous with baseball generally). Branch Rickey, elected in 1967 also by the Veterans Committee, has a plaque concluding: Brought Jackie Robinson to Brooklyn in 1947 almost a direct reference to race. From Robinsons to Rickeys to Reeses plaques, to Seligs pronouncements, the theme of integration waxes. The walls come tumbling down? On 5 February 1947, the Dodgers hosted a banquet for Brooklyns black leaders. Branch Rickey spoke after the dinner. He did not promise that Robinson would play in the major leagues, but he told them that if Robinson did, the biggest threat to his success is the Negro people themselves. Rickey made predictions: Every one of you will go out and form parades and welcoming committees. Youll strut. Youll wear badges. Youll hold Jackie Robinson Days. . . . Youll get drunk. Youll ght. Youll be arrested. . . . Youll symbolize his importance into a national comedy . . . and an ultimate tragedy. Above all, Rickey warned, if any individual, group, or segment of Negro society depicted the event as a symbol of social ism or schism, a triumph of race over race, I will curse the day I signed him to a contract and make sure that baseball is never so abused and misrepresented again. [51] From Rickey to Selig, the lords of Organized Baseball have always had very denite plans for the symbolizing of the Robinson story, and if Selig now urges, a bit desperately, the holding of Jackie Robinson Days, it is with at least as much arrogance in his insistence on the denition of events. Of course, critical events, while scripted by key agents, do not just go as the key agents please, a theme I will be developing in the next essay. Here, the main point is that Rickeys insulting message was largely accepted, even embraced, by its elite black audience eager for progress in integration.

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Bostic was present at the speech, and was disgusted by it. [52] But the message took hold. At Rickeys urging, Dont Spoil Jackies Chances became a campaign slogan, above all, for black fans at the ballpark, and committees were organized in every National League city to insist upon restraint in black celebration of Robinsons successes. [53] Bud Seligs thrill at the story of Jackie Robinsons integration of baseball is shared with crowds in Major League stadiums that are increasingly Asian and Hispanic, but above all white and strikingly not African-American. Attendance records have been set and set again since 1947, and especially in new suburban stadiums. Not only do urban-dwelling African-Americans attend the games infrequently, but also, in the late decades of the twentieth century, white fans made it clear that they preferred not to attend games in urban stadiums. Though this trend has since begun to reverse, together with trends in housing, a major theme of the late twentieth century was white ight from the inner cities. With automobiles making suburban life easier, wealthy and then middle-class white families ed to urban perimeters. And they took their baseball stadiums with them. What, then, is Selig celebrating? The facts are also incongruous in another dimension. The percentage of Major League players who are African-American rose, by the 1970s and 1980s, to over 25 per cent of the Major League rosters, but it has since declined to under ten per cent. (That would be the percentage of the rosters that are African-American US citizens, to be clear.) In the space between Jackie Robinsons breaking of this colour line, something has come and gone from Major League baseball, and something else has come, or appears to have come, that actually was always already there. To fully clarify this will take another essay, but put it this way: there is something nostalgic about the subtitle of Holways excellent book, The Complete Book of Baseballs Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History. And like all nostalgia, it simplies the past. Conclusion: Organizing Organized Baseball and the Nation-State I noted above that the Second World War had two dimensions relevant to us that are not commonly recognized. The issue of race war came rst. The second point is what followed victory in, and rejection of, race war. After the Holocaust critical event beyond comparison there could be no more innocence about race war. The race games, the black-versus-white barnstorming, lost their favour in the post-war era. One could not imagine, in this day and age, reorganizing baseballs all-star game into a black-white format (even apart from where to put Ichiro). Yet one does hear talk that the game would be more interesting if it pitted US citizens versus the world. And there are very real plans, well along, for a baseball World Cup organized on a national basis, virtually replacing the already existing Olympic tournament. The nation-state is thinkable in a way that race is not, for agonistic fun. Martha Kaplan and I have written elsewhere, in great detail, about the shifts in denition of nation and the practices of nationalism that have followed in the era of

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Pax Americana after the Second World War. [54] Along with the rise of the UN and the rapid decolonization of the European empires, a new idea was born, that of nation-building, on the premise that nations were made and not born. In the major dictionaries of the English language the rst denitions of nation shifted. Nations moved from being races or peoples, sometimes controlling their own state, to nations as sovereign peoples, sometimes sharing language, culture or race, but always sharing the control, or desire to control, of a state of their own. A new locution rose within the English language, nation-state, rst coined in reference to Wilson and Versailles, and present in no major English dictionary before 1950 and found in all of them by 1970. [55] Historian James Sparrow has written about the American experience of the Second World War that makes entire sense in this context. [56] The war, Sparrow argues, integrated the US in unprecedented ways, made it function culturally and structurally as one nation for the rst time. The soldiers, above all, were the core national citizens, taking their identication from the whole before the parts, with a mythos of rainbow divisions reiterating the story of warfare integrating the nations disparate elements. Systems of communication and transportation radio and air travel were making swift, real connections coast-to-coast and beyond a reality. It was possible to integrate people, news and cultural information in unprecedented ways. And an integration of national culture was in fact under way. In this process of identication, especially identication mediated by the new technologies of communication, [57] race posed a major potential barrier. Racial differences were different in North and South, but the great migration was in fact changing and mixing the distribution of blacks among the locales of white America, and segregation was as real in the North as in the South and beginning to entrench. It was a dialectical tension point, separate but equal versus un-separated, integrated. Where, when, and above all how was one nation to emerge? Critical events abounded on the lines of this dilemma. Across the South, state politicians began to face and resist federal judicial and executive mandates to integrate schools and public facilities. Civil-rights campaigns arose to force the question. Early in the post-war history, via the critical event of Robinsons breaking of the colour barrier, baseball emerged as the paradigm of proper integration. Grifths image of a black-white World Series was rejected. Pee Wee Reese put his arm around Jackie when the cameras arrived, and Jackie put his elbow on the smaller mans shoulder. Sports historian and social theorist John MacAloon has written about the hermeneutics of spectatorship. [58] To the observer, the famous athlete is not someone they know personally. But the athlete is not unknown either. MacAloon argues that the second point dominates: the athletes one identies with, the athletes one roots for, are not-not-known to us all. We identify virtually, have a relationship unlike others in its texture of connection: we win and lose with our teams and players. Branch Rickey insisted to Jackie Robinson, in spring training in 1947 (just weeks after warning the black leaders not to spoil his chances by making their connection to Jackie visible): I want you to win the friendship of people everywhere.

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You must be personable, you must smile, and even if they are worrying you to death, make the public think you dont mind being bothered. [59] Jackie Robinson was the rst black man most US whites ever really knew, or at least the rst they ever did not not-know. The rst who was not one of them but one of us. The rst black person they identied with. The rst through whose eyes they chose to see the world. In his story, the pleasures and pains of his struggle redoubled the pleasures and pains of the dramas intrinsic to the Dodgers pursuing the championship, and the integration of fan with player was also the integration of the races in the nation. Herein lay the core of the critical event, fully accomplished when it becomes unconscious, when Robinsons standing as one of us becomes wholly natural. Scott Simon [60] is moved that one day, casually, spontaneously Red Barber started calling Jack Robinson by a nickname in his radio broadcasts, not Jackie but Robbie. Barber gave his own nicknames to his players. From 1947 to 1959, all Major League teams introduced black players to their rosters. But Major League baseball integrated more than race in this period. By 1959, the Dodgers and Giants had gone West, and were based in California. The Braves were on their way South, to Atlanta. In the same years that all white Major Leagues became white and black, those Major Leagues stretched to ll the geography of the whole nation-state. What was once exclusively east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line went national. Expansion was around the corner, to better ll the spaces. And if the Negro Leagues were done in by the process, the Southern Association and the Pacic Coast League survived only in diminished form: minor leagues increasingly controlled in a system of Organized Baseball that was increasingly organized. The racial integration of baseball was a story of black and white coming together into one organization of the sport. It was a national integration possible only when air travel could do what trains could not, when radio could bring a new intimacy throughout that required new kinds of identication and recognition. It recongured sympathies and recognitions, who was us and not us, for a newly unied nation with a sober consciousness of the horrors of race war, and built new national institutions that were, surely, appropriate for the new world order of self-determining nation-states in a United Nations. But what did this national integration of the game, the national organization of Organized Baseball, mean for baseball players outside the US? What could the Jackie Robinson story, and all its concomitance, mean for players from Cuba, Japan or the Dominican Republic? These questions will require another essay, in which baseball is not just black and white. Acknowledgements These essays have grown out of fruitful discussions with many people, including Benjamin Eastman, Dennis Hutchinson, John MacAloon, Boria Majumdar, Alan Sanderson and Holly Swyers. I thank Majumdar for suggesting the project and for his

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encouragement and astute advice throughout. Eastmans forthcoming ethnographic studies of Cuban baseball (socialist and post-socialist) are likely to redene the topic, and I am sure my essays would have been much stronger if his works were already available. Similarly, I hope and expect Swyers to set new standards for us all in the study of spectatorship, in her forthcoming ethnography of the Wrigley Field bleachers. The rst versions of these papers were classroom lectures in Hutchinson and Sandersons course on Sports, Science and Society in the New Collegiate Division of the University of Chicago, winter of 2004, and the second version a presentation to the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, University of Chicago, spring of 2004. Both audiences provided challenging and helpful feedback, for which I am grateful. Finally, Martha Kaplan has edited and improved every draft, and my daughter Nory Kaplan-Kelly has also proved a erce and astute critic and a wonderful ally in pursuit of details of baseball history and culture. Notes
[1] Amsterdam News, 27 April 1946. [2] Bud Selig, 17 April 1997, speaking on retiring the number 42, Jackie Robinsons number, throughout Organized Baseball. [3] Robert H. Zieger, The CIO 19351955 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1995) pp.5455. [4] John MacAloon, This Great Symbol: Pierre De Coubertin and the Origins of the Modern Olympic Games (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981); J.A. Mangan, The Games Ethic and Imperialism: Aspects of the Diffusion of an Idea. (New York: Viking, 1986). [5] Veena Das, Critical Events: An Anthropological Perspective on Contemporary India (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). [6] Stanley J. Tambiah, Leveling Crowds: Ethnonationalist Conicts and Collective Violence in South Asia (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996). [7] Bruni Latour, The Pasteurization of France (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988). [8] See John Holway, The Complete Book of Baseballs Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History (Fern Park FL: Hastings House Publishers, 2001) for an extraordinary success in gathering available information. The problem with awarding Henderson all time status is not merely the absence of records for the games played by DeMoss et al. It is of course the absence of game opportunities for them. [9] Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (New York: Harpercollins, 1977, [1927]). [10] Marshall Sahlins, Apologies to Thucydides: Understanding History as Culture and Vice Versa (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004). [11] Das, Critical Events. [12] Sahlins, Apologies to Thucydides. [13] Das, Critical Events, p.5, summarizing Furet; her emphases. [14] Francois Furet, Interpreting the French Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p.22. [15] Ibid., p.79. [16] Furets argument needs no rescue if we simply add the implied in France, and remember that French social theorists are virtually required to write a universal history from French origins; in his unique French origins to the universal he has after all distilled French imagination as well as memory. Tambiah more acutely cites a history of memories of experiments with democracy that runs long and deep before American or French revolutions, and Tambiah

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poses the question rather as one of forgetting: before the French and American revolutions, the knowledge passed down readily to the likes of Madison and Montesquieu that democratic institutions lead to mobs, street violence and chronic instability. How democracies can generate chronic, endemic patterns of violence is the theme of Tambiahs Leveling Crowds, a book that carries further the study of critical political events in South Asia. Tambiah shows how, in processes he calls focalization and transvaluation, quotidian acts of violence are stripped of all their local contingencies and mitigating complexities and re-narrated with agents and victims streamlined into ethnic or religious identications, thereby connecting local events to chains of events on a regional or national scale. Das, Critical Events, p.198. Ibid., pp.56. Ibid., p.6. Martha Kaplan, Neither Cargo Nor Cult: Ritual Politics and the Colonial Imagination in Fiji (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995). Quoted in Robert Peterson, Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), p.176. Two studies deserve particular mention: Jules Tygiels Baseballs Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and his Legacy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983, revised and expanded, 1997) and Arnold Rampersads Jackie Robinson: A Biography (New York: Ballantine, 1997). Tygiel (who drew from Bostic the title of his rst chapter, The Crucible of White Hot Competition) has written an excellent, detailed social history of major league baseballs integration, while Rampersad writes with particular nuance about Jackie Robinsons life experiences and responses to many varieties of racism. Two excellent studies of the business side of the game also cross our period, from opposite ends: G. Edward Whites Creating The National Pastime: Baseball Transforms Itself 19031953 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), and John Rossis A Whole New Game: Off the Field Changes in Baseball, 1946 1960 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1999). Other important resources include Robinsons autobiography I Never Had it Made (as told to Alfred Duckett New York: HarperCollins, 1995 [1972]), Adelsons history of the integration of the minor leagues, especially in the US South, Brushing Back Jim Crow: The Integration of Minor-League Baseball in the American South (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1999), and several excellent recent studies of the Negro Leagues: Holway, The Complete Book of Baseballs Negro Leagues; Neil Lanctot, Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004); Brad Snyder, Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball (Chicago: Contemporary Books, 2004.). Lanctot provides a particularly thorough and insightful account of the connection of the war years to pressures for integration of baseball, from the vantage of the Negro Leagues and their consequent decline. Snyder brilliantly intertwines the stories of the Homestead Grays seasons playing in Grifth Stadium in highly segregated and increasingly black Washington, DC, with the failed efforts of sportswriter Sam Lacy to persuade Senators owner Clark Grifth to be the rst to integrate the major leagues. Finally, I want to mention one of the many books written for young adults, Thomas Gilberts Baseball at War: World War II and the Fall of the Color Line (New York: Grolier, 1997), which also captures, astutely and concisely, many of the key connections in these events. Gilbert, Baseball at War, p.112. Quoted in Tygiel, Baseballs Great Experiment, p.54. See ibid., chapter 4, and Scott Simon, Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), chapter 6. It made a good story years later, which was when people, including Reese and Robinson, rst began telling it. But the story did not appear in Robinsons rst, 1948, book as told to Wendell

[17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22]

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[23] [24] [25] [26]

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Smith My Own Story (New York: Greenberg, 1948). Reeses version, and most other versions date it to 1947; Reece and most place it in Cincinnati, while Robinsons own later accounts put it in Boston in a September, perhaps 1948 (See discussions in Simon, Jackie Robinson, p.139, and especially Rampersad, Jackie Robinson, pp.1823). The rst published account is probably a newspaper article based on an interview with Robinson in 1949, which does not yet put Reeses arm around Robinsons shoulders but otherwise gets the point across clearly, including Reeses power and Robinsons gratitude. Robinson was quoted as saying, Pee Wee kind of sensed the sort of hopeless, dead feeling in me and came over and stood beside me for a while. He didnt say a word but he looked over at the chaps who were yelling at me through him and just stared. He was standing by me, I could tell you that. . . . I will never forget it. (Washington Post, 28 Aug 1949, quoted in Rampersad, Jackie Robinson, p.183). Pee Wee Reece became Robinsons closest friend on the Dodgers. Especially after Robinson moved from playing rst base to playing second, they were constantly together on the eld. Many photographs from later years show Reeces left arm around Robinsons back, and Robinsons right elbow casually on Reeses left shoulder. But this on-eld story, especially when moved up from September 1948 to early 1947, and to Cincinnati, just across the river from Reeses native Kentucky and in front of his relatives, streamlines a part of the story that the Dodgers would not want remembered: in the rst spring trainings, almost to a man, the Dodgers were cold to him. Certainly no one was encouraging. In this respect, Rickeys plan was not working (Ibid., p.163). Not only did Dixie Walker and other veterans begin a petition against Robinson joining the team hearing of it, manager Leo Durocher held a midnight meeting out of sight, in the kitchen of the Dodgers 1947 spring training camp and, he later remembered, told his veterans Well, boys, you know what you can do with that petition. You can wipe your ass with it (Leo Durocher, Nice Guys Finish Last (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975), p.167) but Reese was one of four leading veteran players who had joined Walker, as Southerners, to complain directly and unsuccessfully to Rickey before the petition effort (at least according to Kirby Higbe, another member of the delegation; see Rampersad, Jackie Robinson, p.164). Reeses good works on Robinsons behalf perhaps began after this meeting. He certainly refused to sign Walkers petition, along with Eddie Stankey and Pete Reiser, and their refusals along with Rickeys pressure and Durochers contempt put an end to the player protest. Rampersad, Jackie Robinson, pp.1257, Tygiel, Baseballs Great Experiment, pp.657. Quoted in Rampersad, Jackie Robinson, p.103. Ibid., p.126. Quoted in ibid., p.105. Ibid., p.127. See, e.g., Richard M. Freeland,. The Truman Doctrine and the Origins of McCarthyism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972). John Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacic War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986). Here I pass over signicant complexities, also. Emiko Ohnuki-Tierneys brilliant recent historical ethnography of the Japanese suicide pilots shows how complex the agency of soldiers can actually be. Far from the zealots they were imagined to be by the US, both public and ofcial, the pilots were actually ex-university students, their deferments cancelled, bullied into the role, Christian in large number, many disbelieving the core claims of their own government, and often taking solace in Western philosophies of sacrice and martyrdom. No valuable combat-experienced pilot ever took up the role of kamikaze. Yet the fantasy of heroes for the nation was as important in Japan as was the story of unreasoning fanaticism for the Americans. While the apparent grace of the gesture consolidated Japanese national will to ght, its extremity consolidated US belief in Japanese inhumanity, quashing any chance of negotiated surrender. What brought Japan solace about its own character was also part of

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what brought later horror a lesson for the contemporary US and any other power selfindulgent in good warfare. See Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002). Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (New York: Harper and Bros, 1944). Snyder, Beyond the Shadow of the Senators, p.75. Holway, The Complete Book of Baseballs Negro Leagues, p.314. An earlier count by Michael M. Oleksak and Mary Adams Oleksak (Beisbol: Latin Americans and the Grand Old Game (Indianapolis, IN: Masters Press. 1991), p.22) found major leaguers in a 32321 tie with black and Cuban teams in barnstorming games. Holway has records of far more games, and his nal tallies have white big leaguers at 6789 against black big leaguers and 5240 against Cuban teams (The Complete Book of Baseballs Negro Leagues, p.471). If you wonder about the problems dening, compiling and evaluating such a statistic, you probably havent spotted half the issues. See Holways thoughtful explanations of his data, selection principles and exclusions. (For an example, he excludes the records he has of spring training games, when Cuban and black players coming out of winter league seasons won 12 of 18 games against white teams rounding into shape.) Of course, the incompleteness of the data and the corrupt nature of the games themselves are connected parts of the social history. Legal scholar Dennis Hutchinson is particularly persuasive on the inuence of Landis (personal communication). Landis died in ofce in 1944. As Snyder details (Beyond the Shadow of the Senators, pp.177ff), Landis balked at any signs of racial progress, banning exhibition games between major league teams and Negro League teams in the early 1920s, and occasionally intervening to block other barnstorming events as well. When Sam Lacy and other black journalists pressed their case and asked to be invited to the December 1943 annual meeting of the Major League owners, Landis invited Paul Robeson to address the owners also, to underline the presence of Communists in the black media. Calvin Grifth and Connie Mack, inuential in the major league establishment, were quoted in the black press in 1942 arguing, as one article summarized it, that the pressure to integrate was a Communistic plot to overthrow baseball to create confusion between the races and, nally, to overthrow the government (quoted in Snyder, Beyond the Shadow of the Senators, p.180). Contemplating such events, Lanctot (Negro League Baseball, p.250) concludes that Landis was hardly the major cause for the failure of the integration ght between 1933 and 1944 . . . the aggressive protests waged by blacks and whites failed to sway an essentially conservative industry, despite wartime gains in some other industries. Lanctot, Negro League Baseball, p.232. Ibid., p.235. Quoted in Snyder, Beyond the Shadow of the Senators, p.193. See especially Howard Bryant, Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston (New York: Routledge, 2002). The Red Sox were the last team to hire black players, and by all appearances deserve the attention they get for their continuing racial problems. Employing strikingly few black or foreign players beyond a couple of big stars, they still seek to cowboy up rather than pursuing the best players available. They have undoubtedly spent the most money for the least success of any major sports franchise, and mystify their failure as a curse. Bryant, Shut Out, pp.312. Lanctot, Negro League Baseball, p.257. Ibid., p.254. Shouldering Bostic aside, largely ignoring Lacy and converting Smith into his own employee, Rickey succeeded in the detachment of Robinsons story from the black activist press and its attachment to his own story; I have largely gone along with this to this point. But Wendell

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Smith deserves credit as an author of the story, also. It appears likely that a lot of Rickeys research on Robinson was actually supplied by Smith, and one wonders whether it wasnt Wendell Smith, really, who rst chose Robinson to be the lonely man. Note that Smiths paper attempted to get Robinson a tryout with the White Sox in 1942 and with the Red Sox in 1945 before Smith was there to help the Dodgers and even become Robinsons roommate in 1946 and 1947. See also Chris Lamb, Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinsons First Spring Training (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press) for more on Robinsons very rocky rst spring training in organized baseball in 1946, including details of Robinsons relationship with Smith as he rst crossed the line. The whole story has been recently disputed, but Lanctot presents compelling evidence that Veecks plan was real, that he took steps to try to implement it. Whether Landis really blocked it for segregationist reasons is not clear (Lanctot Negro League Baseball, pp.236, 444). But even if he did not even if Veecks plan was never fully serious the question remains, why not? Why didnt any team seek the pennant by these means? This is a better question, when one learns that Clark Grifths 1944 Washington Senators included 11 Cubans. All were alleged to be of Castillian descent, true Spanish and therefore white enough, but the claims were met with much derision around the league and anger from black Washingtonians (Snyder, Beyond the Shadow of the Senators, pp.72ff). Why werent the 1944 Senators a memorable breaking of some kind of barrier or were they, remembered where and how? Questions for the next essay. It appears for example as the title of Part 3 of Peterson, Only the Ball Was White. It is also the title of Frank Fitzpatricks And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: The Basketball Game that Changed American Sports (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), a book on another critical event of sports and race in the US. The rst and only college basketball national championship game between an all-white team and an all-black team took place in 1966, when Adolph Rupps Kentucky team was shocked to lose, and lose soundly, to Texas Western. Kentucky, Duke and many other programmes began to recruit black as well as white players thereafter. Simon, Jackie Robinson, p.134. Quoted in Tygiel, Baseballs Great Experiment, p.162. Ibid., p.163. Ibid. John Kelly and Martha Kaplan, Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001). Ibid. James T. Sparrow, Fighting Over the American Soldier: Moral Economy and National Citizenship in World War II (Ph.D. thesis, Brown University, 2002). On the history of which see Paul Starr, The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communication (New York: Basic Books, 2004). John MacAloon (ed.), Rite, Drama, Festival, Spectacle: Rehearsals Toward A Theory of Cultural Performance (Philadelphia, PA: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1984). Quoted in Tygiel, Baseballs Great Experiment, p.192. Simon, Jackie Robinson, p.134.