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Saturday, October 1, 2022

‘This Is American History,’ says the Hall of Fame, after taking into consideration race

After becoming a Hall of Famer, Jackie Robinson only had a decade to live. As a result of his diabetes, he passed very suddenly in 1972 at the age of 53 after suffering from a heart attack. Twenty-five years earlier, Robinson had successfully integrated the big leagues, and he never stopped fighting for social justice.

During Glanville’s teaching at the University of Connecticut, he assigns students to read a letter Robinson wrote to Martin Luther King Jr. in 1960, urging King to intervene in the squabbling between the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. As a banker in Harlem, Robinson also penned columns for New York newspapers, and he said in his memoirs that he couldn’t endure to sing the national anthem because of his disability.

His accomplishments, in other words, extended well beyond his appearance as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, at Ebbets Field, New York. During the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s debut in Major League Baseball, the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, is doing a comprehensive reexamination of his life and achievements.

The Hall of Fame will announce on Friday that it has initiated a two-year endeavour to construct a permanent display dedicated to African-American baseball history and culture. This will take the place of the present exhibit, “Ideas and Injustices,” which was established in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s first appearance on Broadway.

There will be several former players on the project’s advisory board, including Glanville, Adam Jones, Dave Stewart, as well as Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin, and Dave Winfield, as well as historians and representatives from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Players Alliance, a non-profit organisation comprised of current and former baseball players. Current players such as Dee Strange-Gordon of the Washington Nationals, who may be involved, have also been interviewed by Rawitch.

As part of its efforts to diversify its personnel and serve a mostly white population, the Hall has also established an entirely new permanent post to assist in project coordination from a minority viewpoint.

In addition to serving on the Hall’s advisory board for the Hall’s planned permanent exhibit on Black baseball, former MLB star Dave Winfield (centre), who was inducted into the Hall with Bill Mazeroski (left) and Kirby Puckett in 2001, will also serve on the Hall’s advisory board for the Hall’s planned permanent exhibit on Black basketball. U.S. News and World Report

According to Rawitch, “we must be able to recount the narrative accurately.” We’re looking for a curator who’s lived the experience, either through their race or through their studies, or who has an idea of what it was like to go through what these guys went through, to fill that role.”

The Hall of Fame has enshrined many more Black players and officials since 1997 — more than three dozen, including pioneers like as Bud Fowler, Minnie Minoso, and Buck O’Neil in this year’s class — and Winfield said it was past time for a new look at the inductions.

At the time, Winfield was at the height of his powers, and he hopes the display will include video of stars like Griffey and Bo Jackson, as well as himself, scaling walls that seemed insurmountable, of Rickey Henderson stealing bases at rates that are unheard of today, and of Dave Parker rounding the bases with a unique flair.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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