Friday, October 29, 2010

Handle The Men

This morning Manager Von der Ahe held a private consultation with Gleason, the short stop of the team, and informed him that he was going to New York, and that he should handle the men. Von der Ahe's visit to the metropolis is understood to be for the purpose of settling the Cuban Giant affair. The club was to have played this aggregation at West Farm on Sunday, but failed to fulfill their engagement because the players entered a protest against playing with colored people and declined to visit West Farm. Von der Ahe, from all accounts, does not favor a suit, which is threatened, and wants to amicably adjust matters.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 14, 1887

Just one more thing and I'm going to let this go and get back to the 1887 series.

I think the Globe did a poor job of covering "the Cuban Giant affair." When compared to their coverage of the fixing scandals of 1877, they were rather lax in covering what, in retrospect, turned out to be a rather significant event in the history of baseball. I think they did a decent job in reporting the event itself but, once that was done, they basically let the matter drop. The event was only mentioned in passing a few times after that. There was no follow-through and they basically gave the players a free pass on their actions. I would very much liked to have heard from the players themselves. But we didn't get that from the Globe. They mentioned the International League and a few individual black players but I would have liked to have seen the Browns' decision put into a contemporary context.

I know this is unfair but imagine if this had happened today. Pick a team. Pick a group of people that they refuse to play against for racial or political reasons. Add the instantaneous media. Stir. How long would we be hearing about it? That story would get covered from every angle possible until we were sick of it. But this is a different day and age and you can't hold the 1887 Globe to the standards of the modern media.

My point, I guess, is that there are a lot of unanswered questions pertaining to this story and the Globe was remiss in not pressing those questions.

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