Saturday December 31, 2022
Cullum's Column's Conjecture
In my research for the HBO Willie Mays doc—particularly the stuff the doc missed, the Minneapolis reaction to losing Willie when he was called up to the New York Giants after two months with the Millers—I came across sports columnist Dick Cullum writing about Mays' departure. Researching anything like this, you brace yourself for all kinds of bad. It's a white man writing about a black man more than 70 years ago, at a time when Major League Baseball had been integrated for all of four seasons. Martin Luther King was still getting his Bachleor of Divinity degree from Crozer and Emmett Till was still alive.
But what I got was a pretty good description of what playing center field in the Polo Grounds was like, and how great players either rose or fell with the challenge, and how would Mays do?
Sure, Cullum couches what he writes: either/or; worst or best. But he seems to be leaning toward the positive: “...it will make him a hero faster than any other area could do the job...”
He wasn't wrong.