Racism is an ugly and repulsive belief that millions of people around the world still believe in this poisonous mentality. Therefore, it is always good to hear of stories of people who took a stand against racism despite what people thought of them. Today’s story is about two professional baseball players. One that had to face the evils of racism everywhere he went…and another who decided to show people how he felt about racism and be a friend to his teammate.
Jackie Robinson was the first black to play major league baseball. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.
Same story different version: One example of friendship remains with me as vividly as the moment I first heard of it as a boy. In his first seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play Major League baseball, faced venom nearly everywhere he traveled–fastballs at his head, getting spiked on the bases, brutal epithets from the opposing dugouts and from the crowds. During one game in Boston, the taunts and racial slurs seemed to reach a peak. In the midst of this, another Dodger, a Southern white named Pee Wee Reese, called timeout. He walked from his position at shortstop toward Robinson at second base, put his arm around Robinson’s shoulder, and stood there with him for what seemed like a long time. The gesture spoke more eloquently than the words: This man is my friend. ~ Willie Morris, Parade Magazine
These are great stories of a special man that wasn’t just a leader but also an unconditional friend to someone else that was going through unimaginable circumstances. There are many people who are lonely, made fun of, and need someone to stand up for them…regardless what others say. So, be a friend… a real friend to someone today!