hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 14 22:43:21 UTC 2014
On Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
> Back before there existed major-league baseball teams in Georgia and Texas
> and Florida, the St. Louis Cardinals were frequently adopted as the
> "Southern" team to cheer for.
Well, St, Louis - and the Cardinals - did some down-South ways. It was one
of several places denominating themselves as the "Northernmost City of the
South." Back in the day, both the Browns and the Cardinals played in
Sportsman's Park, which was owned by the Browns. When the Cardinals were
playing in the ballpark, the colored fans were confined to seating only in
This was really strange, since the Browns *didn't* segregate the seating.
That is, there was nothing to suggest that white St. Louisans demanded that
the ballpark be segregated and the owner of the team was Fred Saigh, a
Lebanese-American and not a member of the KKK or any such. IAC, the
Cardinals didn't stop segregating their fans till August Busch bought the
team. OTOH, Anheuser-Busch maintained a segregated workforce into the
'60's, leading the NAACP et al. to call for a national boycott of
St. Louis also changed the history of professional basket ball, because of
worries about local Southern-ish mores. The old St. Louis Bombers of the
NBA were the original owners of the rights to the even-then legendary Bill
Russell. However, given the reaction of the local white population to
Jackie Robinson and the fact that the team's stars were Slater Martin of
the U. of Texas and Bob Petit of Louisiana State U., it was decided that
discretion was the better part of valor and Russell was traded to the
Celtics for local-hero "Easy" Ed McCauley, native St. Louisan, graduate of
both St. Louis U. High School - my own alma mater - and St. Louis U., and
the first Celtic inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, plus a couple
of once well-known, but now-forgotten players from the U. of Kentucky,
keeping the team all-white.
The rest is history.
Russell may well have liked StL better than Boston, had he been given the
chance. He's been quoted as saying that he'd rather be in jail in
Sacramento than be sheriff in Boston, a reasonable attitude, IMO.
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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