Yesterday the Boston Red Sox celebrated the 100th anniversary of the opening of Fenway Park with a rematch against the rival New York Highlanders (now the Yankees). The Yankees won, which was fabulous, and the throwback uniforms were fantastic, especially without the numbers and names. Everyone kept talking about what things were like in 1912 versus now, comparing shots of the stadium, but the one thing that no one commented on, at least that I heard, was the simple fact that in 1912 because of the "gentlemen's agreement" all the players were white. Yesterday obviously stood in stark contrast to that reality.
Since we were only a few days away from celebrating Jackie Robinson day (although he was not the first African-American player) it seems this would have been the obvious thing to say, but they didn't. They might have also commented on the fact that the Red Sox were the first team to scout Jackie Robinson, but became the last team to finally integrate, and when they did they brought in an inferior player so that Tom Yawkey, the owner of the team, could say that African-American players simply weren't as good as white players. (I think Pumpsie Green was there yesterday but the coverage on the MLB network was so bad that I'm not sure)
Congratulations to Fenway. It's a beautiful park, but not a great one to see a game in as many of the seats are hugely uncomfortable. Although current ownership has done a great job on doing renovations (which helps them to lower their MLB payroll taxes, so it's not totally altruistic).
But the one thing that was glaring to me was that in 1912 all the players were white, and that in yesterday's celebration they weren't. How many great players, like Rube Foster and Josh Gibson, were missed and so their greatness was never known because people simply never saw them play?