MAJOR LEAGUE MANAGERS
AND BALLPLAYERS CALL
FOR END OF COLOR LINE
On the morning of Sunday, February 19, 1939, Wendell Smith, the assistant sports editor of the Pittsburgh Courier, sat down with National League president Ford Frick in the lobby of the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. If there was indeed a formal policy prohibiting blacks, Smith wanted to get that in the record. If there was not a policy prohibiting blacks from baseball, he wanted to hear that directly from Frick. When Smith asked Frick why there were no blacks in the big leagues, Frick replied that there was a misunderstanding there were no blacks because baseball did not want them. He insisted that the big leagues wanted blacks but could not add them until society became more tolerant. “Many baseball fans are of the opinion that major league baseball does not want Negro players,” Frick explained, “but that is not true.” Frick said there were no blacks in baseball, because “the general public has not been educated to the point where they will accept them on the same standard as they do the white player.”1
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Publication information: Book title: Conspiracy of Silence: Sportswriters and the Long Campaign to Desegregate Baseball. Contributors: Chris Lamb - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 2012. Page number: 133.
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