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Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand
Monday, September 01, 2014
Lester Rodney was a crusader for equality and instrumental in integrating baseball as sports editor with the Daily Worker in the 1930s, says ESPN in a recent video on its website. The Daily Worker is the predecessor to this news website, peoplesworld.org.
At the time African American players were banned from the major leagues, says the mini-documentary. It was Lester Rodney that had a “simple but seemingly impossible dream” - to end more than a half-century of segregation in the big leagues, says ESPN’s Outside The Lines program. For Black History Month, OTL reported on this white Communist sportswriter who “crusaded for baseball integration a decade before Jackie Robinson broke the color line.”
He was at the center in the fight for baseballs integration, said sports historian Larry Lester in the video.
“There was no one in the main stream press promoting the integration of baseball like Lester Rodney was,” he said. “He was a soldier and the press was his sword and he was able to galvanize masses of people.”
At age 25 Rodney was hired as the Daily Worker’s first sports editor. He immediately launched a relentless campaign to end the Jim Crow policy that kept baseball segregated….
Rodney, the Daily Worker and supporters led petition drives, rallies and demonstrations for baseball’s integration. Rodney reported about white players and managers who also admitted it was time to integrate. In the face of skepticism Rodney persisted and millions joined the cause….
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