Thanks, Ted

Just a short post today. I want to give a shout out to Ted Williams, not for anything he did on the ball field, but for something he did after he retired. I think it is arguably his greatest contribution to the game.

In 1966 Williams received a ticket to the Hall of Fame. He used the occasion of his acceptance speech to wonder aloud why such important Negro League players as Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson weren’t already remembered on the plaques that graced the Hall. The speech, occurring in the midst of the modern American Civil Rights movement, caused a stir. A lot of people began asking the same thing. Baseball’s answer was “Well, we don’t know a lot about the Negro Leagues.” Williams and others answered. “Well, find out.” And because it was Ted, By God, Williams, the powers that be did so and in short order the elite of the Negro Leagues achieved enshrinement. Others were to follow, including executives and writers.

The Negro Leagues owe Williams a great debt for bringing the subject to the front burner. So do the rest of us. Thanks, Ted.

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