On August 27, 1946 — At the Owners’ Meeting, a committee formed to study integration, which includes Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, delivers its secretive report defending the covert color barrier which exists in professional baseball. The absurd reasons given why blacks shouldn’t be allowed to play in the big leagues include an absence of skills due to inferior training and lack of fundamentals as well as the need to respect existing Negro League contracts, but another lesser known motivation may have been profit, as revealed later in the report: “The Negro leagues rent their parks in many cities from clubs in Organized Baseball (and) Club owners in the major leagues are reluctant to give up revenues amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars every year” and the fear white fans would be driven away if black players attracted more minorities to the ballpark.
The Red Sox, became the last club to integrate despite the wealth of talent available to sign the club ultimately waited for Pumpsie Green and Earl Wilson, signed in 1953, to work their way through the farm system. Green debuted twelve years after Jackie Robinson’s rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers and two-and-a-half years after Robinson’s retirement. Robinson would later call Yawkey “one of the most bigoted guys in baseball”.
Red Sox inaction in this area cost them dearly on the field – as so many black stars entered the game in this period –and the taint of their delay haunted them for decades after.
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