Baseball Has Always Been Political

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Say it ain’t so, Peter.

Shorter: IOKIYARMFers.

“Baseball is the most traditional and conservative of America’s major sports…”

I think if you did a survey of the political views of the fans, baseball would be one of the more liberal sports.

So today’s Republicans are the offspring of Ty Cobb and Marge Schott?

I always thought football was worse, and its labor relations more feudal.


I mean, really, Jackie Robinson, pretty much says it all.

I love watching Hank Aaron’s 715th home run trot around the bases, and those two white guys, in cords and wallaby’s it looks like, that ran out onto the field and patted Aaron on the back all happy and then ran off the field.


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Nice article. While Mitch was complaining about companies getting involved in Politics. I’m trying to remember, the pillow guy was in the Oval Office, trying to get Trump to declare Martial Law. Did Mitch complain or any Republicans.? It escapes me, I guess the memory is going south. Anyway cheers all.


Baseball Has Always Been Political

Everything with a reach beyond one’s neighborhood has a political component. Every time the National Anthem is played at some event, be it sports or otherwise, the event becomes a propagandized, political rally. We don’t notice it because it is so very common.
Ask yourself this: If a first grader pledges allegiance to the flag on Monday morning and does it again Tuesday, did it expire at midnight?


attention Pete Rose fans

Former MLB Commissioner Faye Vincent took a similar tone. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he argued that “baseball must stand above politics” to avoid alienating fans.

I wish that i only knew about Vincent, because of his role in the Pete Rose investigation.

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Decent article, but incomplete without a mention of Curt Flood, who challenged and broke MLB’s standard contract reserve clause, which until then had the players as essential sharecroppers in the system (“you can take the next one year contract we give you (which also had a reserve clause), or go play for some other league”). Flood, like Kaepernick, was an above average player blackballed out of the league for challenging the status quo, except it happened around 1970 and has resulted since in about 10 billion dollars of player contracts over what they would have gotten if the reserve clause were still in place.

MLB (and the NBA) have strong players unions. The NFL does not, thus the paucity of guaranteed contracts in the NFL, and the successful blackballing of Kaepernick. I’d argue that the NFL is by far the most conservative of the “major” league sports in the US. How many Black QBs have you seen the past 10 years?

MLB former players also started the practice of (somewhat) tell-all books debunking sanitized sports mythology: Ball Four, The Bronx Zoo, Me and the Spitter. The NFL equivalent coming to mind also was written by a player: North Dallas Forty, but there weren’t nearly as many NFL tell-alls.


Jackie Robinson also got roughed up at the 64 Republican convention as a brawl ensued between the Rockefeller faction and the Goldwaterites.

Kevin M. Kruse

Replying to


The 1964 Republican National Convention was so racially ugly that Jackie Robinson, a lifelong Republican, said "I now believe I know how it felt to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.” (From


's piece here:…)


10:08 AM · Jun 28, 2019·Twitter Web Client


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I’m with you about Curt Flood, as I wrote in The Nation:


I think at some point, we need to acknowledge that Baseball didn’t start as a segregated sport, it BECAME segregated when some of the better White players refused to against teams that had African American players and the Pennsylvania State Convention of Baseball refused to let an African American team play. That was baseball players using their power to force Jim Crow onto the sport.

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I’ve certainly read that about Cap Anson of Chicago. Who else?

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Bud Fowler played minor league ball and Moses Walker played major league ball in 1884 until 1887 when all of baseball followed Jim Crow.

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I meant which white players, besides Cap Anson, pushed baseball into Jim Crow policies?

Sorry, misread your question. I don’t know the names of other White players, but I find it hard to believe that one player could have convinced the league and owners to go along with this. The PA State Convention had already banned African American teams by the time Anson pulled his stunt.

I want to read up on it, but I’d guess it ties in to the rise of the klan and the end of Reconstruction.