A new year, a new focus

redding

Cannonball Dick Redding, more than qualified for the Hall.

Greetings all … Many, apologies for not posting for almost two weeks. The holidays, as I feared, knocked me out a bit in terms of time and discipline to put toward this here humble operation.

I was also contemplating and planning new directions and goals for this blog for the New Year. Instead of dedicating it to research, I’d like to zero in on advocacy, to have a purpose being my own little, often sequestered historical studies, whims and article development.

I want to try — again, in my own modest way — to make a difference. I want to start and pursue — with any help y’all are winning to provide — a heightening of Negro Leagues preservation and recognition of the men and women of segregation-era African-American baseball. Much still needs to be done, I feel, to sufficiently honor these legends and their legacies and influence on both modern baseball and society as a whole.

To that end, I’d like to, with this blog, concentrate of two main goals.

The first one is pushing to rectify the fact that multi-talented Hall of Famer Cristobal Torriente — a native of Cuba who was one of the greatest and most admired segregation-era players during the first two decades of the 20th century — might very well lay in a mass, unmarked grave in a New York City cemetery and could be the only Hall of Famer whose burial location is anonymous and unidentified.

torriente

Cristobal Torriente

A few of us in the baseball research community have been batting around the exact location of Torriente’s grave and how, once that’s determined, to help make right this deplorable situation. Actually, the vast majority of the recent efforts toward this goal have been undertaken by Ralph Carhart, Gary Ashwill and John Thorn, with Ralph doing a yeoman’s job in the project. In fact, Ralph wrote a fantastic blog post here on his Hall Ball page about his mammoth task and adventure if the search for Cristobal Torriente.

The second goal is to, quite simply, work to open the Baseball Hall of Fame‘s doors to segregation-era, African-American players, managers, owners and executives, an injustice that has been sustained by the Hall since 2006. That insult is especially heightened by the fact that the HOF retains a “Pre-Integration Era Committee” that continue to elect white historical figures and not black ones, thereby further skewing the ration of Major League personalities to those of Negro Leaguers.

malarcher

Does Gentleman Dave Malarcher belong in the Hall?

Several blackball enthusiasts, such as my Malloy conference roomie Ted Knorr, have pretty successfully quantified this inexcusable inequity, a situation he detailed in this post on Home Plate Don’t Move. Others have striven to do much the same, and as their efforts bear out, the legendary figures of the Negro Leagues and Negro Negro Leagues are overwhelming underrepresented in an institution that purports to enshrine the best, most accomplished and most influential baseball figures ever.

We all know that such a claim is, at best, ignorance personified and, at worst, a flat out lie, a denial of justice, the galling equivalent of Hall officials covering their ears and shouting, “Nah nah nah nah nah I can’t hear you!”

This absolutely must change, and all of us in the blackball community must band together to make this change, to strive for fairness, to rectify a stubbornness that perpetuates prejudice and exclusion.

I want to do my own small part in this, and I know that one person can’t do it alone, and I hope a few of you will climb on board as well. If you’d like to help the effort, feel free to post a response to any of my blog posts and/or two email me at rwhirty218@yahoo.com.

We can do this, and we must do this if justice — true justice — will ever be served.

Many thanks in advance for anything you can do to this end.

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2 thoughts on “A new year, a new focus

  1. Pingback: A mass grave for a beisbol legend? | The Negro Leagues Up Close

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