Professor explores unique relationship tied to baseball

Uploaded by TempleUniversity on 03.06.2011

[Take Me Out To The Ballgame]
>>Alpert I grew up in Brooklyn as a Brooklyn Dodger's fan and Jackie Robinson was one of
my heroes as a child and I began to do some research and discovered that he wasn't just
my Jewish hero but in fact the Jewish hero of an entire generation. And as I started
investigating Jackie Robinson, that's how I discovered the communist writers and that's
how I got led into the book project. The book I wrote is called Out of Left Field: Jews
and Black Baseball and it's a subject that's not very often covered because mostly people
don't associate Jews with black baseball at all.
[natural sound]
Looking at the story of several groups of Jews who were involved in Negro League Baseball
in the 1930's and 1940's, and then what happened to them in the 1950's.
One set is a group that actually owns Negro League Teams. Probably the best known, Abe
Saperstein and Eddie Gottlieb, who is a Philadelphia local favorite, and their roles were very
complicated. They both were extremely helpful to the Negro Leagues in terms of providing
them some kind of financial security and also providing opportunities to get involved in
things otherwise they might not have been involved in. Some of them good business wise,
some of them bad like baseball comedy.
[natural sound]
There was also a black Jewish baseball team. They were called the Belleville Greys and
they were part of a black, Jewish community known as Temple Beth El in Virginia and they
had the finest baseball team in Virginia in, certainly finest black baseball team in the
late 1930's. Out of Left Field looks at the communist sports writers for the Daily Worker
who were all Jewish. And it was those sports writers who were the ultimate and significant
supporters of the integration of baseball.
[natural sound ]
Because Jackie Robinson became a baseball player and was allowed to integrate the leagues,
it meant something for the Jews after WWII, it meant that we too could be liberated. It
gave us hope. So for me this is bringing back 3 separate groups who are not normally considered
part of the Jewish Story and making them more obvious and more prevalent