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Out of Left FieldJews and Black Baseball$
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Rebecca T. Alpert

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195399004

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195399004.001.0001

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Enter Jackie Robinson

Enter Jackie Robinson

(p.158) 6 Enter Jackie Robinson
Out of Left Field

Rebecca T. Alpert

Oxford University Press

The communist sportswriters continued to agitate for baseball's integration after World War II when Brooklyn Dodger executive Branch Rickey broke the unwritten ban by signing Jackie Robinson. The Daily Worker's role was hidden as Rickey, a staunch anticommunist, sought to erase their contribution. Sensing that integration would mean the end of the Negro Leagues, Abe Saperstein became the premier scout of Negro League talent for the Cleveland Indians and their owner, Bill Veeck. Saperstein and Ed Gottlieb focused their energies on basketball. Only Syd Pollock continued to promote black baseball and its comedy traditions. Jews, especially in Brooklyn, made Jackie Robinson an icon. They believed he exemplified the promise of equality in America, and Robinson himself saw a unique connection between Jews and blacks. But connecting Robinson's pioneering effort to the success of Jewish assimilation obscured the real differences between the fates of blacks and Jews in mid-twentieth-century America.

Keywords:   Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, Cleveland Indians, Bill Veeck, Jackie Robinson, Jews and blacks, anticommunism

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