Wednesday August 08, 2012
Your YANKEES SUCK Historical Moment of the Day
“As an outfielder with the Yankees in the 1930s [Ben] Chapman had made a specialty of baiting Jewish ballplayers, and he'd been in a huge brawl with one of them, Buddy Myer of the Senators.”
--from Jonathan Eig's “Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season,” pg. 76. Later Chapman became infamous as the race-baiting manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, who ordered his club to lob racial taunts and epithets at Jackie Robinson during a three-game series at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in April 1947. It backfired. Some credit the Phillies' behavior with helping the Dodgers finally rally around Robinson. Eig suggests it also encouraged fans to get off the fence.
I knew all of this. But I didn't know Chapman had been a Yankee. I wonder if he was the “leather-lung” Hank Greenberg referred to in Aviva Kempner's documentary, “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” who was brought up to hurl insults at hm. I certainly didn't know, until I looked it up on BaseballReference.com, that Chapman had been a four-time All-Star, who retired with a .302/.383/.440 line. Apparently he also wore No.s 6 and 7 for the Yankees. I assume there was only one other guy to do that.