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Saturday, April 13, 2013

New Yorker: Jackie Robinson Again

Roger Angell remembers a moment of rage:

(Jackie) Robinson, a Dodger base runner, had reached third and was standing on the bag, not far from me, when he suddenly came apart. I don’t know what happened, what brought it on, but it must have been something ugly and far too familiar to him, another racial taunt—I didn’t hear it—that reached him from the stands and this time struck home.

Del B. Vista Posted: April 13, 2013 at 10:52 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, history, jackie robinson

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   1. Perry Posted: April 14, 2013 at 12:57 AM (#4413554)
Been wondering if I'd ever read another Angell piece, however brief. He's 92 now. Christ, I think I'll miss him at least as much as Scully when he's gone.
   2. Steve Treder Posted: April 14, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4413556)
Christ, I think I'll miss him at least as much as Scully when he's gone.

Big time. Ever read his memoir, Let Me Finish? Terrific.
   3. Hecubot Posted: April 14, 2013 at 01:17 AM (#4413560)
I used to count how many times he'd use the word "effulgent" - never more than once an article, but almost certainly once a year.

Still - "The Web of the Game" is not only the best baseball article ever written, but it's probably my favorite piece of nonfiction ever. And "In the Country of Baseball" isn't far behind.
   4. Perry Posted: April 14, 2013 at 01:27 AM (#4413564)
Big time. Ever read his memoir, Let Me Finish? Terrific.


Thanks for the tip. I was aware of it but haven't gotten around to it, the only Angell book (or collection) I haven't read yet. I'll put it on the ol' Amazon shopping list right now.
   5. Textbook Editor Posted: April 14, 2013 at 01:28 AM (#4413566)
Well, this one was fairly easy to track down; the Dodgers only played 3 games at the Polo Grounds in June or July of 1948, and in only one of them was Sid Gordon at 3rd base, this one.

In the top of the 7th, with Sheldon Jones pitching, Robinson gets a single to drive in two runs, with Robinson going to 2nd on the throw. Hermanski is intentionally walked to get to Shuba, who flies out to CF but Robinson tags and goes to 3rd on the play. Edward is HBP, loading up the bases for Campanella, who fouls out to 3rd base.

Now... the curious thing is that in the top of the 8th (after the Giants go down 1-2-3), leading 8-3, Robinson singles to left with 2 out (he goes into 2nd on the throw trying to get Reese going to 3rd), and is pulled for a PR (Eddie Miksis).

Granted, the Dodgers were up 8-3 at the time and it was the 8th, but the fact Robinson was pulled for a pinch runner in that spot seems to confirm Angell's whole story, especially since the other details from the piece check out (at the Polo Grounds, June or July 1948, Gordon at 3B).

   6. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 14, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4413567)
This essay is only 507 words and it is the best baseball-related essay/article I've read in a while.
   7. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: April 14, 2013 at 04:30 AM (#4413578)
This essay is only 507 words and it is the best baseball-related essay/article I've read in a while.


For real. That was a beautiful short piece. In a sparkling, perfect world, that is what blog form could do.

This is worth reading. It'll just take a minute, and you won't regret it.
   8. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: April 14, 2013 at 08:06 AM (#4413582)
I have never regretted the time spent reading anything Roger Angell has written.
   9. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 14, 2013 at 08:46 AM (#4413591)
There's a typo in the last line. How do you let a typo through a 500 word essay?
   10. AndrewJ Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:18 AM (#4413597)
Hmm. In an essay from Angell's collection Five Seasons, written just after Jackie Robinson died, Angell tells of watching a similar incident seated behind third base -- Jackie briefly losing control during a Dodgers-Giants game, being questioned by the third-base coach and umpire. However, Angell had him playing third base.
   11. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4413601)
There's a typo in the last line. How do you let a typo through a 500 word essay?

I blame it on The New Yorker's hiring of men to do what used to be exclusively a woman's job. (/ducks)
   12. Arrieta, Gentile Arrieta Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:50 AM (#4413606)
He did us proud, but at a cost beyond the paying.

I read this sentence over and over, and see no typo. Where is it?
   13. Publius Publicola Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:52 AM (#4413607)
I used to count how many times he'd use the word "effulgent" - never more than once an article, but almost certainly once a year.


Wasn't his stepfather E.B. White? That might explain it.

In his prime, his prose was so fluid and compact and elegant all at the same time. If he had decided to write about politics or military history, he'd be more famous and admired, IMO.
   14. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: April 14, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4413622)
I read this sentence over and over, and see no typo. Where is it?


The last line was fine. I assumed 'zop actually meant the second-last line:

... no matter what taunts or trash came at him from enemy players out of the stands.


Unless the enemy players were taking in a game as paying customers on an off-day, there is an "or" missing.
   15. bobm Posted: April 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4413625)
[10] Hmm. In an essay from Angell's collection Five Seasons, written just after Jackie Robinson died, Angell tells of watching a similar incident seated behind third base -- Jackie briefly losing control during a Dodgers-Giants game, being questioned by the third-base coach and umpire. However, Angell had him playing third base.

It is also told in a similar way, with a similar conclusion.

It was something that happened during an insignificant weekday game between the Giants and the Dodgers back in the nineteen-fifties.  Robinson,  by then an established star, was playing third base that afternoon, and during the game something happened that drove him suddenly and totally mad.  I was sitting close to him, just behind third, but I had no idea what brought on the outburst.  It might have been a remark from the stands or from one of the dugouts; it was nothing that happened on the field.  Without warning, Robinson began shouting imprecations, obscenities, curses.  His voice was piercing, his face distorted with passion. The players on both teams looked at each other, uncomprehending.  The Giants' third-base coach walked over to murmur a question, and Robinson directed his screams at him.  The umpire at third did the same thing, and then turned away with a puzzled, embarrassed shrug.  In time, the outburst stopped and the game went on.  It had been nothing, a moment's aberration, but it seemed to suggest what can happen to a man who has been used, who has been made into a symbol and a public sacrifice. The moment became an event--something to remember along with the innumerable triumphs and the joys and the sense of pride and redress that Jackie Robinson brought to us all back then.   After that moment, I knew that we asked him to do too much for us.  None of it--probably not a day of it--was ever easy for him.
   16. Morty Causa Posted: April 14, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4413856)
Yes, The New Yorker was a hotbed of nepotism. E. B. White was Roger Angell's stepfather, and Katharine Angell White, his mother, was an imposing figure on the editorial side of things (and contributed pieces). Thurber called her "the fountain and shrine of The New Yorker." Editorially, only Ross himself outranked her. White (and Thurber and Gibbs and a few others) set the gold standard for style and tone. That excerpt quoted in #15 is reminiscent of Updike's piece on Ted Williams--Updike was very much stylistically informed by Thurber and White.
   17. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 14, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4413943)
Just adding my voice to those saying this is a grat piece well worth the short read.
   18. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: April 15, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4414440)
Roger Angell is the best baseball writer I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Red Smith was a distannt second, with Fred Lieb close to Red in third (and I have never read any of Lieb's newspapwer work, only his 1970's memoir "Baseball As I Have Known It.")
   19. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 15, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4414467)
If that moment isn't in the film, it should be.

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