Are There Any Players/Managers Who Refused To Play With/Against Jackie Robinson, Or Were Openly Hostile To Him, In The Hall of Fame

That’s pretty much it. I know Robinson got a lot of hate in his day. Did any players/managers who went on the record against him make it to Cooperstown?

I was going to say, though they weren’t contemporaneous players, I imagine Ty Cobb had a hostile reaction to Robinson breaking the color barrier. Then I did some googling and was pleasantly surprised to discover this:

Higher up in the same Ty Cobb Wiki entry:

Of major league stars of the 1940s and 1950s, he had positive things to say about Stan Musial, Phil Rizzut, and Jackie Robinson, but few others.

As that Wikipedia article also notes, there were several writers, particularly Al Stump, who penned very negative (and unfair) portrayals of Cobb after his death; those portrayals have been largely discredited, but still linger in the public’s perception of Cobb.

And I had shared in that lingering public perception until now. Not the first time that looking up a cite to support a perception I had, put a pin in it and popped it. Ignorance fought!

Cap Anson, though, would have almost certainly been rolling in his grave

To be fair, from what I’ve read in recent years, Cobb was, indeed, an intense competitor, and wasn’t exactly beloved by many of his fellow players. In modern terms, he seems to have been the kind of guy that you love to have on your team, but hate when he’s on the other team (see: A.J. Pierzynski).

Moving from FQ to the Game Room, where this will probably fit better.

Enos Slaughter reportedly didn’t want to play against Jackie and tried to organize a boycott against the Dodgers (along with other Cardinals players).

But other sources contradict this claim. And Slaughter himself denied spiking Robinson intentionally later in life: Enos Slaughter wants to make peace with baseball writers. The... - UPI Archives

More background here: The ‘Strike’ Against Jackie Robinson: Truth or Myth? – Society for American Baseball Research

Joe Garagiola had an incident with Robinson in 1947. Garagiola spiked Robinson in the foot and there was some verbal back and forth next time Robinson came to the plate (Garagiola was a catcher). A friend of mine claims Garagiola harassed Robinson and other African American players with disgusting bigoted language all the time and that he witnessed this during Garagiola’s last season with the Giants. He said it went far beyond normal baseball trash talk.

Garagiola isn’t a Hall of Famer, though. Although he did win an award from the Baseball Hall of Fame for his announcing, so maybe that counts.

I’m not sure how I read the thread title initially, but I didn’t pick up on the HOF requirement. I’ll go with the announcing award since it’s there.

As had I. I blame Kinsella.

I haven’t seen anything about how Tris Speaker reacted when Robinson made it to the Dodgers (Speaker, according to sportswriter Fred Lieb, once told Lieb that he was a member of the Klan). But Speaker, at the request of Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck, worked with Larry Doby (first black player in the AL) to help convert him from a second baseman to an outfielder. Doby reportedly credited Speaker with getting him to the major leagues.

Here’s a cite that mentions Dodgers players Dixie Walker, Bobby Bragan, Hugh Casey and Carl Furillo. None of them made the HOF. Walker and Robinson had an uneasy truce throughout 1947, and Walker was traded at the end of the year. Walker went on to be a hitting coach, and Bragan later became a manager.

Enos Salughter in St. Louis was rumored to be one of those who would refuse to play against Robinson. Slaughter spent the rest of his life angrily denying it. As JasO9 cited upthread, the published report of a possible strike by the Cardinals may have been exaggerated. It’s known that team captain Terry Moore, player representative Marty Marion, and star Stan Musial all were opposed to the idea of a strike. Slaughter eventually made it into the HOF in 1985, and complained that the rumors had kept him out for 20 years.

Phillies manager Ben Chapman was the only manager/executive who publicly opposed Robinson. Chapman. Chapman defended himself by insisting that racial and ethnic slurs were common in baseball at the time, and implied he felt unfairly singled out for his taunting of Robinson.

There are also stories that a Cubs shortstop spiked Robinson in a play at second base. The player was never named, but the Cubs had two players at that position that year, and neither made the HOF.

Doesn’t the Ken Burns Baseball documentary have the old view of Cobb as a die hard racist from the Stump book and that’s why so many people still believe it to this day?

Personally, I had “Ty Cobb is a racist,” in my head thanks to the movie from the '90s.

The Ty Cobb ‘racist and generally hateful person’ stories were all I ever saw or heard starting in the 1960s. The notorious incident where he attacked a spectator with no hands was never fleshed out in detail. Turns out the man was planted to harass the visiting team and the home team refused to expel the man. At the urging of the crowd and his teammates Cobb went up into the stands to assault the man with the intent of shutting him up. Not a glorious moment for Cobb, but far different from the story that he attacked a disabled man for no reason just because he was the meanest son of a bitch that ever lived.

Missed the edit window: It was at least the mid-80s before I heard anything different about Cobb, a much more complicated character than his portrayal.

To “flesh out” the story in a bit more detail, the fan was actually missing five fingers on one hand and two fingers on the other, something Cobb may not have noticed when the attack started. And he’d been harassing Cobb for a year (the racial venom was apparently new).

Look, we know exactly what the man said to bait Cobb and everyone on the team said that he was justified in attacking. The man out-and-out said (and I won’t use the exact term here) his mother whored herself to black men. It was an attack that Cobb couldn’t stand.

Note that the team sat out the next game in protest of Cobb’s suspension and only came back after Cobb told them to end it.

I read Leerhson’s book as well as both of Stump’s biographies.

  1. Never trust a biographer who has a need to trash other biographers. Leerson’s spends an inordinate amount of time trashing Stump, as though the facts don’t speak for themselves.

  2. Leerhson’s account of Cobb’s upbringing and early life is far superior, going into far more detail.

  3. His accounts about events on the field never contradict anything Stump says. He also failed to mention the reason why Cobb attacked the man in the stands. Further, years ago I checked several of the stump stories about Cobb against the original sources and they all matched Stump’s version.

  4. Stump’s books are generally favorable to Cobb, who is portrayed as an admirable (though flawed) figure overall. If you only read Leerhson, you’d think Stump treated Cobb the same way Leerhson treats Stump.

  5. Leerhson doesn’t even mention one of Cobb’s most impressive achievements – when he told the press that he could hit home runs if he wanted to; he just didn’t want to. To prove it, the next two days he swung for the fences and set an AL record for most home runs in two games (5) that lasted for decades. (And, yes, I looked at the original newspaper reports).

I get the distinct impression the Leerhson never actually read either of Stump’s books and only knew them by reputation.