Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Jackie Robinson in Montreal

 

"It is ironical that America, supposedly the cradle of democracy, is forced to send the first two Negroes in baseball to Canada in order for them to be accepted." (Chicago Defender editorial, April 13, 1946)

 

Delormier_Stadium
Delorimier Stadium (1950), home of the Montreal Royals, top farm team to Brooklyn/LA Dodgers and Jackie Robinson's first pro team.


Manny McIntyre, a black athlete who excelled at both baseball and hockey and was prominent in Quebec sporting circles during the 1940s, passed away on June 13, 2011. His death came almost 60 years to the day when he first stepped onto the playing field at Sherbrooke's Stade du Parc as a member of the Sherbrooke Canadiens, a baseball team in the newly formed Class C Border League, and became one of the first half-dozen black players, and the first Canadian, to traverse Organized Baseball's demonic colour barrier. Regardless of his other accomplishments, and they were many, McIntyre will always be remembered as a courageous baseball pioneer who successfully cracked through an impenetrable, albeit invisible, barrier, one so hostile it had prevented men of colour from playing baseball at the organized level ever since the game's early development.

 

larger_robinson
Jackie Robinson - 1946


Indeed, the year 2016 marks the 65th anniversary of the integration of professional baseball in America. When Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play a regular game on an otherwise all white diamond, entered his first game wearing a Montreal Royal's uniform in April of 1946, he established a precedent and opened a door that could never again be closed. The integration of baseball had begun...

 

Chicago Cubs – 0 
Cleveland Indians - 6

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson
The Past Whispers
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