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THE ALL STAR GAME

I love the All Star Game. It brings me back to a time, when as a child, I would hope that the American League would finally win. Twenty-two of Twenty-Four games the National League would win.

There was a simple reason, racism. It took the AL years to fully embrace integration. In the early fifties, the NL signed the likes of Mays and Aaron. It took the Red Sox until 1959 to sign Pumpsie Green. Now that's a name.

In the sixties, the AL was still signing the big lumbering outfielders, and the NL was signing Latin Ballplayers like Clemente, Cepeda and Marichal. Only the Orioles and later the Twins realized that the was a larger pool to choose from. This pool included players, who because of the weather in Latin America, played all year.

I watched a show on PBS the other night about Roberto Clemente. He was far more than a ballplayer. This was a man who died delivering supplies to earthquake victims.

Why did the AL ignore an entire group of people? Don't get me wrong Frank Howard and Harmon Killebrew were good ballplayers, but Clemente, Cepeda and Marichal were among the best.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
valknott
Jul. 15th, 2009 10:32 am (UTC)
As I drove across the Roberto Clemente bridge tonight on my way home... :-)

As a kid of course I idolized Clemente here in Pittsburgh and my favorite pitcher was Marichal with his outrageous leg kick. I followed the statistics of Cepeda, Tony Perez, etc. It didn't even occur to me as a kid that they were Latino. They were ballplayers. Same with Mays, McCovey, Stargell, Aaron. They were ballplayers. And in the 70s the Pirates fielded the first all non-white team for a game, and nobody even realized it until the media pointed it out later on. It was only in later years that I began to realize how the ballplayers were treated because of prejudice. It was baffling to me then and to some degree still baffling to me now. They were just... ballplayers. :-)
(Deleted comment)
jellomarx
Jul. 15th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC)
I know that you love Bonds. But for pure entertainment, he couldn't touch Clemente, Mays or Junior.
(Deleted comment)
jellomarx
Jul. 15th, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC)
Being a Yankee fan, Mantle was always my guy. But Willie was the best that I've ever seen.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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