Category: Sports Written by NNPA News Service
SAM LACY (AFRO Photo)
(NNPA)--The hit movie "42" talks plenty about Jackie Robinson, baseball’s color barrier and fair play but snubs Afro-American Newspapers’ legendary sports editor Sam Lacy, who played a key role in the baseball integration saga.
Included among those who believe Lacy, a leader in the media push in the 1940s to integrate baseball was low-balled by the flick, are Jake Oliver, AFRO publisher, and Lacy’s son, Tim, who called the omission “a travesty.”
Lacy, who is enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., was the one of the first Black reporters to be inducted into the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Lacy traveled throughout the U.S. and to a number of foreign countries with Robinson. He suffered many of the same indignities faced by the baseball star because of his color.
He was also the only sportswriter and the only Black on the four-man committee established to explore integration of Major League Baseball but was not mentioned in the film.
During the rockiest moments of Robinson’s first year with the Dodgers, Rickey allowed Lacy to work from the Dodgers dugout.
Lacy was in his mid-90s when he published his life’s story, Fighting for Fairness,” 1998. He was born in Mystic, Conn., but he spent most of his career in Washington, D.C., his home until his death at age 99 in 2003.
42 boasts a solid cast with Chadwick Boseman as Jackie; Harrison Ford as Rickey; Nicole Beharie as Jackie’s always supportive wife Rachel; and Andre Holland as Wendell Smith, the Pittsburgh Courier and daily Chicago American Hall of Fame writer.
Lacy and Smith often got together to map strategy.
The stage was set for breaking baseball’s color barrier in the 1940s. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the 1942 federal fair employment practices legislation, New York in 1945 had the Quinn-Ives anti-discrimination law and a Boston councilman was threatening to block the Red Sox and Boston Braves from getting licenses required for Sunday play unless Blacks were given an opportunity to make the squads.
New York Voice sports editor Joe Bostic took two players to the Dodgers’ Bear Mountain camp and demanded tryouts. Wendell Smith arranged tryouts for three players, including Jackie Robinson, with the Red Sox. None was accepted.
Meanwhile, Lacy took his case for integration directly to the then-16 team owners, according to the sportswriter in his book.
Lacy spoke to Major League Baseball Commissioner and all the team owners in Detroit.
A four-member committee on baseball integration was set up: Rickey of the National League, Larry MacPhail of the Yankees, American League; Magistrate Joseph H. Rainey of Philadelphia; and Lacy.
Lacy met twice with Rickey in the Dodgers offices. MacPhail never showed, so no official business could take place.
However, Lacy and Rickey talked about Black players, including Jackie Robinson.
Rickey soon told Lacy he wasn’t waiting any longer for MacPhail. At the April 1945 meeting Rickey had set off angry, alarmist reactions when he announced his decision to act, although he hadn’t selected the player.
Rickey’s earth-shaking announcement and the signing of the newly married Jack Robinson to a contract with the Dodgers’ AAA Montreal Monarchs touched off dramatic and often bitter racial conflicts.
42 captures much of the on-and-off field drama that covered brutally tense events involving Jackie’s fellow teammates as well as racist threats and efforts to harm him on the diamond. Ben Chapman, a manager in Philadelphia, was the most vocally nasty, but Robinson singled out Baltimore as the place where he was most surprised by the level of venom.
Not only did 42 snub Lacy, it didn’t always do justice to its hero. It makes clear that Robinson, as a U.S. Army second lieutenant, was court-martialed while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas for refusing to move farther back on a military base bus and loudly objected to the use of the N-word in his presence. But the movie does not make clear to viewers that Robinson was acquitted of all the charges against him.
There also were instances in the film when after a particularly good play, the actor portraying Jackie seemed to clown and showboat, demeanor not typical of the serious Robinson.
Situations involving kids provide some of the meaningful moments in 42.
Once when Jackie was feeling down, Rickey boosted his spirits by talking about “a white boy who was pretending to be you…pretending to be a Black man.”
On the other hand, there was the young white boy who after hearing his father yell racial slurs at Robinson, started doing the same thing.
Moses J. Newson, is a veteran AFRO civil rights journalist. Having served as executive editor of the AFRO, Newson also chronicled the Civil Rights Movement including the trial of Emmett Till, and is one of four journalists who rode along with the Freedom Riders in 1961. Among his many accomplishments Newson co-authored "Fighting for Fairness: The Life Story of Hall of Fame Sportswriter Sam Lacy." In 2007 Newson was inducted into the Maryland D.C. Delaware Press Association Newspaper Hall of Fame.
Reprinted from the Afro American
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 April 2013 12:43
Category: Sports Written by Bill Neal
:10 As the NBA playoffs tip off, and yes, as my Lakers take one on the chin right out of the gate, let’s have a flashback moment and remember the top ten killer list. These guys may not have been considered the greatest of all time, but would give you work nonetheless. Here it is in no particular order: Connie Hawkins, Pistol Pete Maravich, David Thompson, Darryl Dawkins, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Bill Walton, Moses Malone, Andrew Tony, Dave DeBusschere, and Patrick Ewing.
Send me your Top 10 “Overtime.” 416 Springdale Dr., Pgh., Pa. 15235.
:9 Speaking of memory lane, close your eyes and remember the sweet sound of The Twyne when Braddock’s own Alex “A.J.” Johnson lit up the Connie Hawkins League with that sudden death jump shot. You remember who the ladies came to see…it was “A.J.”…not Big John Marshall!
:8 Speaking of Big John Marshall, and I was, his 7’ tall son, Zeke, is about to get paid coming out of Akron University and heading to the NBA, with great credentials I might add.
:7 There you are, my man “T” Gearson out of West Mifflin. Thanks for the reminder. You’re now in the Locker Room, which is a better place to be than West Mifflin…What!?! Oh my bad. I should have kept that to myself!
:6 My Pittsburgh Pirates, not yours, just swept the Atlanta Braves, the hottest team in baseball. That’s huge! But be careful now before you order your World Series tickets. There’s 145 more games to play. I’m just saying!
:5 Think I don’t know what I’m talking about huh? But three weeks ago I gave you the special story on “D.J.” Boyce, the senior superstar guard at Gateway High School and told you he was destined for greatness and the next week he wins the MVP at the W. Pa. Champions High School All-Star Basketball Classic at Penn Hills High School against the best senior players in Western Pa.…say what…hello…I can’t hear ya…that’s what I thought…now shut up!
:4 Five Starr Corporation and Champion Enterprises, along with Rayco “War” Promotions, want to remind you once again to not miss “Harlem Nights,” the No. 1 spot to be for an old school classic good time. Every last Friday and coming at ya again this Friday, April 26th at 3 Lakes Golf Club in Penn Hills, 6700 Saltsburg Road, 412-628-4856 or 404-721-2174, for more information—free parking— $10 Admission across the board—cash bar—cash kitchen till 11 p.m. – 50/50 – cash prize for the best dressed man and woman—yes, this is dress to impress.....you must go to the closet and break out your “Spring thing” gear—half off admission—doors open at 8 p.m.—quality vendors—“Par-Tay” goes until 1:00 a.m.—police security—celebrity guests—and this month’s special…a Mother’s Day thank you half off admission to the first 25 ladies to the door—“The Legend” Sly Jock is your D.J.—NOW LET’S DO THIS!!!
:3 Champion Enterprises is looking for Concerned Citizens to Help Make a Difference. Volunteers, executive staff, models, vendors and board members. BE-A-PART-OF-THE-SOLUTION-NOT-THE-PROBLEM…Call 412-628-4856…C’mon man!!
:2 If you want to really make a difference in the future of this city, I need you to do two important things for me.
No. 1 Please grab your children tonight while you still can. Hug them…tell them you love them…and “make” them understand that violence is not the way. Please!
No.2 You better get in the Mayor’s Race and help pick the best man for the job...or stop complaining!
:1 Hey ya’ll…only 17 weeks till Steelers season…yea, I know, me too!
:00 DOUBLE OVERTIME
I know you’ve heard it before, but be reminded that the best and safest time to be had in Pittsburgh is at The Savoy. From the moment security valets your car to the great food and tremendous atmosphere, especially Monday, Jazz night and Friday and Saturday, show time nights. If there are three better cats in town, then Chuck, “J.B” and Gary, I don’t know where they’re at. And that my friend you can take to the bank. (Hey, do me a favor and don’t tell Stephan Broadus I said all this. He’s told me 1,000 times about that free Savoy promo!)
~ GAME OVER ~
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 April 2013 11:09
Category: Sports Written by Genea Webb
SENIORS—The departing seniors with some of the coaches. (Photos by J. L. Martello)
Many members of the Clairton Bears team have been playing some form of football together since they were kids.
Those years of playing together mixed with the shear determination and desire to win led the team to accumulate some amazing statistics: 42 consecutive conference wins, 613 all-time wins, 335 shut outs in four years, four consecutive PIAA titles, nine WPIAL titles, and four PA state titles.
All of these accolades have given the Bears the best four-year record in the state and the number one all time wins in Allegheny County.
“The team chemistry is why we are so good," said Robert Boatright, a senior defensive end/fullback that has been on the team for three years. "Other teams have to recruit and we don't have to do that. We know everyone's personality and we're like brothers.”
“It's a real blessing to have such wonderful players. It's amazing what these guys have done. This couldn't have been done without the players," said Clairton Bears head coach Tom Nola. "All of the 17 seniors are going to college or joining the military upon graduation.”
The team was recently honored for its astonishing season through the annual PIAA/WPIAL championship banquet. There the players were honored with championships rings to commemorate it. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was scheduled as the keynote speaker but was a no show.
“We work so hard each year and we don't want to lose the winning streak. Ever since we were young playing together we were told we were winners. I'll never play with these guys again and I love Clairton and will never forget where I am from," said senior Vincent Moody who held the team's running back position for three years.
Senior and defensive back Titus Howard, who'll be joining several of his teammates at the University of Pittsburgh next year, agrees with Moody.
“I enjoy all of this It's a great feeling to have four rings," Howard said, sweeping his arms around the Georgetown Centre ballroom during the banquet and flashing his newest ring. "But I want to show that there's something better coming out of Clairton than what people see. A lot of people don't see a lot of good coming out of Clairton. People should never give up and keep fighting. We have faced adversity but we kept fighting. “
Clairton was created at the turn of the 20th century when Crucible Steel Company purchased a large piece of land along the western side of the Monongahela River in the 1930's. Not long after, U.S. Steel erected one of the world's largest steel mill and coke production facilities there. In its heyday, Clairton had a strong and thriving business district and educational system. The City of Prayer peaked in the 1950's with a population of almost 25,000.
When the steel industry decreased in the 1980's, so did Clairton. Currently there are about 7,000 residents there. More than half are White while only two of the 40 bears football players are Caucasian.
“It's a lot going on in the streets of Clairton," said senior center/nose guard Damond Flowers. "People are fighting, but every Friday they came together as a big happy family. We bought everyone together through football.”
The underclassmen on the team plan on continuing the Bears winning streak next season.
“I don't feel any pressure," said first-year player junior Brandon Murphy. "I'm excited. Hard work and dedication is what’s needed. I think we can go all the way next year. We've stuck together and we don't talk down to each other.”
Like the team, assistant coach Remondo Williams, Sr. is ready for next year which will see three freshmen, two juniors and several sophomores returning to the Bears line up.
“You can never count Clairton kids out. I can see them all doing well academically, with sports and giving back to the community," Williams said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 10:25
Category: Sports Written by Associated Press
FASHION STATEMENT-- In this April 26, 2012 photo, quarterback Robert Griffin III, right, poses for photographs with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected as the second pick overall by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the NFL football draft in New York. Fashionistas surely will be tracking the expensive, colorful designer suits, hairstyles (think dreadlocks) and even socks of the draftees as they take the stage after being selected. (Think Robert Griffin III, the Redskins' top pick in 2012, who wore a baby blue jacket, checkered-patterned shirt, purplish tie with horizontal stripes, and burgundy and gold socks. Fashion is one of the things to watch for during the three-day NFL draft beginning Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)
by Richard Rosenblatt
NEW YORK (AP) — Since 1936, the NFL has picked the best of college football to join the pro league. From the very first pick — Jay Berwanger, who also was the first bust, never playing a down in the NFL — to last year's No. 1, Andrew Luck, the draft has always offered plenty of intrigue for teams and fans.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 16:37
Category: Sports Written by Aubrey Bruce
H’mm, let me see. The last time that I checked the word par meant equal and the word value meant worth. Okay equal worth or as the French might say, equipoise or something similar. Now let’s take the case of the city of Pittsburgh sports franchises, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Now I know the rules, Pittsburgh like many of the “blue collar” Eurocentric cities across America was founded on the principles of hard work, ya know an equal day of blood sweat and tears for a mythical day of so-called equal pay. Now, now, now, that being said let’s get busy. The Steelers recently signed Steve McLendon D-lineman/Nose tackle to a three-year contract. The deal was reportedly worth $7.25 million with $1.67 million of that in a signing bonus. McLendon is truly a product of the Steelers “homegrown system” joining the team as a rookie in 2009. According to a report by Ed Bouchette, “McLendon, projected to replace Casey Hampton as their starting nose tackle, was a restricted free agent who [recently] paid a visit to the Green Bay Packers.”
Why in the hell do the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to have a problem or some sort of macabre fetish in regards to signing players that they know are vital to their continued success. Pittsburgh knew that two years ago Casey “Big Snack” Hampton was on his way out. They should have then “snuck” in the back door and signed McLendon to a five or six year a few seasons ago. The deal should have been back loaded with performance and health clauses along with a signing bonus that could have stipulated that the “dough” be distributed in such a way that it would have little or no effect on the “cap.” It seems to me that the Steelers management rolls into the negotiating table like a bull in a china shop armed with a few cans of Vienna sausage, along with a couple pieces of Swiss cheese with a few soda crackers on the side. Hey whatever happened to the filet mignon, caviar, champagne and a bit of schmoozing? Nowadays the allure of placing a few more zeroes in the coffers of Bank of America holds a little more juice for the Pittsburgh Steelers players than strolling past six Lombardi trophies on their way to work. Why in the hell do other teams have to put bonfires under the asses of the Steelers management by riding into the Steel City on white horses armed with fat checkbooks and ink pens dripping with promise in courting the Steelers players who only have a desire to play for the Black and Gold and only wish to call the city of Steel home. I don’t understand why the management team of the Black and Gold seem to almost always get caught with their pants down or more often than not experience the “ostrich syndrome.” Oh, you say that you don’t know what the “ostrich syndrome” is? Well it means putting your head in the sand before figuring out that you cannot inhale earth, fire or water and continue to inhabit the earth; well, only with the exception of becoming part of the landscape.
Pittsburgh knew about the promise of departed wide receiver Mike Wallace. They knew that the “slew-footed” wide receiver could out run the nearest “speeding” bullet and a ten yard gain could be a reasonable yards per reception stat being as though most defensive backs played at least ten yards off of the line of scrimmage when they were faced with single coverage of Monsieur Wallace. Did Mike Wallace “dog it” and preserve himself for unrestricted free agency so that he could get paid? He most possibly could have. Did the Steelers “dog it” by calling his number less, and having him involved less and less attempting to dilute his value all the while making it appear that his less than productive year was based on his lack of effort. They most possibly could have. Wallace is just one of the latest examples of the Steelers planting the seed and nurturing the tree only to have another franchise have sweet nectar running down their chin. Now back to the desert. The Steelers allowing ex-first round running back Rashard Mendenhall to depart for the less humid desert oasis of the Arizona Cardinals after Mr. Mendenhall experienced a “less than stellar” 2012 campaign including a short term lease in the doghouse and another holiday weekend or two in the outhouse of one Mike Tomlin. What were the violations of Rashard? Well from what I can see and the snippets of conversations that I have been privy to; he was just Rashard, being Rashard, selfish, questionable work ethic, semi hands of stone. When Mendenhall was drafted along with reciever Limas “please don’t send me across the middle Boss” Sweed, I could not figure out why the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears (who were in the same market where Mendenhall played his college ball) passed on Rashard. See folks unless your name is Roethlisberger or Polomalu your chance at getting some serious dough in Pittsburgh is slim and none.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 09:35
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the New Pittsburgh Courier Digital Daily newsletter!