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Robert F. Kennedy Newsbeat

Monday, June 07, 2021

How baseball’s response to RFK’s death inspired some players to fight back and sit out

Robert Kennedy was a senator representing New York by the time of his presidential run, and the New York Mets took the most vocal stand after his death. With the backing of Manager Gil Hodges and chairman M. Donald Grant, Mets players voted unanimously not to play their game against the Giants in San Francisco on the day of RFK’s funeral….

“The Houston players have decided that their convictions are very much the same regarding the recent tragedy, but because of very extreme economic pressures applied by the general manager we are forced to play Sunday afternoon,” Giusti said.

That was a reference to a comment by team publicity director Bill Giles that the players would pay for any refunds to fans rather than management absorbing those costs. Astros GM Spec Richardson declared that “Kennedy would have wanted us to play” and docked a day’s pay for Staub, the team’s leading hitter, and Aspromonte.

Pirates third baseman Maury Wills also sat out the game, which he spent in the visiting training room reading RFK’s book, “To Seek a Newer World.”

And in Cincinnati, on the night of RFK’s funeral, Reds pitcher Milt Pappas resigned as player representative after arguing with Manager Dave Bristol that the team shouldn’t play because Kennedy hadn’t yet been buried. Pappas said most of his teammates preferred not to take the field, but he lost the argument. The next day, Reds fans at Crosley Field booed Pappas when he came into the game from the bullpen. The team traded him two days later.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 07, 2021 at 09:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: robert f. kennedy



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