[Marxism] Fwd: Pitching Politics from the Mound | Jewish Currents

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 2 17:07:54 MDT 2017


PITCHING POLITICS FROM THE MOUND
By David Spaner on September 25, 2017.

SAM NAHEM was a right-handed pitcher with a lefty pitch.

One day in 1948, however, Sam lost control of his pitch with Roy 
Campanella at the plate. It was a year after Jackie Robinson broke 
baseball’s color line, and Sam, with the Philadelphia Phillies, was 
pitching to Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodger teammate Campanella, also one of 
major league baseball’s first black players. Campanella, Robinson and 
the other pioneering black players were facing tremendous racial abuse 
from fans and opposing players, so when Sam’s pitch went astray and 
decked Campanella, as the Dodger got to his feet he glared at Sam, as if 
to say: “Another racist asshole.”

Sam was beside himself, wanting to tell Campanella he hadn’t thrown at 
him intentionally, that he had picketed New York’s ballparks demanding 
an end to segregation in baseball, that he had managed one of the first 
integrated ball teams when he was in the military. Sam, though, was the 
opposing pitcher in the midst of a ball game, so he kept quiet.

Battling baseball bigotry was only one part of Sam’s long life of 
activism. “I was left,” he told me in an interview a few years before he 
died in 2004. “I marched. I contributed to the Republican side in the 
Spanish Civil War, gave fundraising parties, was involved in the fight 
around the Rosenbergs, was chairman of the negotiating committee for the 
union at the Standard Oil plant in Richmond, California.” He was the 
most unusual of baseball players: Shakespearean scholar, lawyer, 
linguist (Arabic and French as well as English), Beethoven aficionado, 
Syrian Jew, Communist, union organizer — and with that integrated 
baseball team he managed won the armed forces World Series of 1945.

full: http://jewishcurrents.org/pitching-politics-from-the-mound/



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