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The importance of Pee Wee Reese embracing Jackie Robinson

Hall of Famers galore in today’s Dodgers links

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Brooklyn Dodgers’ Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson chatting Photo by Ed Jackson/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around Jackie Robinson is a famous moment in Dodgers history, and one of the most famous moments in baseball history.

It was portrayed in the movie ‘42. it was described by Red Barber in Ken Burns’ ‘Baseball’ documentary. But there has been some dispute over the years whether the moment actually happened.

Joe Posnanski at The Athletic wrote about the moment as part of his top 60 moments in baseball history, and while it may not have happened exactly as depicted, some form of Reese publicly embracing Robinson in the face of racist taunts did happen, at some point.

Posnanski wrote why the moment resonates even to this day:

Pee Wee Reese treating Jackie Robinson the way he would treat any other teammate — and this, it should be said, is all the humble Reese ever said he was doing — survives through the years only because so few others were willing to do even that. Such a plain act resonated with Robinson for the rest of his life because it was so rare, even among his teammates, even after it became clear Robinson had changed the course of baseball history.

In the face of rampant racism, a little bit of kindness went a long way.


MLB is mulling the idea of an extremely short season, maybe even 50 games, per Jeff Passan at ESPN.’s selection of all-time teams is down to left-handed starting pitcher, which for the Dodgers is the question. With all due respect to Fernando Valenzuela and Johnny Podres, this is a battle between Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax.

In another case of major league players stepping up when owners wouldn’t, news broke Sunday that the Nationals planned to cut the weekly stipend to their minor league players from $400 to $300 starting in June. Sean Doolittle and several Nationals players almost immediately got together and pledged to make up the difference out of their own pockets. On Monday, the Nationals reversed their plan and committed to pay the full $400 weekly stipend to their minor leaguers, per the Associated Press.

Craig Edwards at FanGraphs on the players’ proposal: “Baseball’s owners have become used to sharing billions in profits over the last half-decade. This season, they need to come together and share in the losses — or at least help ensure that all teams come pretty close to breaking even — so that the sport can move forward and avoid a colossally short-sighted mistake.”