Jackie Robinson and bad calls by MLB umpires

Didn’t they also have Suitcase Simpson (who led the league in triples) that season?

His contemporaries didn’t know that?

Well, Yankees GM George Weiss was definitely a racist. But he was also a brilliant baseball man.

Under his leadership, the Yankees were extremely successful, so successful that he could shrug off any arguments that he should add black players to the roster.

Bear Bryant and Alabama NEEDED a major butt-kicking from an integrated USC team see the wisdom of integration. But the Yankees were so successful for so long as an all-white team that Weiss never really saw the urgency of integrating.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be tolerated now, but 1947 was a different story. And there was plenty of racial prejudice in the North as well, though sometimes in different forms from what prevailed in the South.

The Yankees were the 12th team (out of 16) to integrate their clubhouse when Howard was brought up in 1955. They were criticized primarily because the Dodgers and Giants, who had integrated in the late 40s, played in the same city had a number of Black stars by the time Howard had been brought up. Before the amateur draft was instituted in 1965, the Yankees traditionally had the pick of all the top amateur players, but generally shied away from the top black players.

The extent of Tom Yawkey’s racism is up to debate, but the folks he hired to run the team and it’s scouting dept, were friends of his that were racist. Outside of Earl Wilson, a hard-throwing, right handed pitcher, who was first brought up a month after Pumpsie Green, in 1959, I don’t believe the Red Sox had any position starters until 1966 (George Scott and Joe Foy.) It was no coincidence that racist GM, Mike Higgins, had been fired the year before. The Boston Braves had integrated in 1950, with Sam Jethroe, who was the NL rookie of the Year, but left town for Milwaukee after the '52 season.

Walks are much more appreciated now than they were in Robinson’s day. Back then, batting average was everything, and on base percentage wasn’t even part of baseball vocabulary. Robinnson was a star even then, but modern approaches to stats show he was even better than he was thought to be.

I guess I and my source are mistaken. Simpson played with the Yankees in '57, and hit sixteen triples that year for the Yankees and the Kansas City Athletics. Lopez also came from the A’s, who I understand acted as* de facto* farm team for the Yanks in those years.

Robinson was generally regarded at the time as being one of the best players in in National League, as evidenced by his Rookie of the Year Award, MVP Award, All-Star Game selections, and getting MVP consideration eight out of ten years he was in the league. While walks were undervalued, batting average was overrvalued, and of course Robinson had very high batting averages. So it evened out. I don’t know how he could have been “thought to be” any more than he was because at the time he was an absolute superstar, worshipped by fans and sports media, and he got rich doing it.

Anyway, Robinson didn’t draw a huge number of walks, so I’m not sure why that’s seen as being a hidden part of his game. He drew 106 one year but that was a blip; he averaged 82 walks per 154 games, which is very good but not spectacular. I could argue he was actually more dominant in batting average than in walks - after all, he won a batting title but never led the league in walks. The Dodgers had lots of players who drew plenty of walks, so Robinson wouldn’t have stood out in that regard. Pee Wee Reese drew just as many walks as Jackie.

In 1947 there weren’t any teams in the South. The closest would have been the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals. The first “Southern” team in baseball was the 1962 Houston Colt .45s, six years after Robinson retired.

I’ve heard that story is told about the Red Sox. They were pretty crappy, but not disastrously so in the early 60s when they were largely (but not totally) white.

Worse yet, from an umpire’s standpoint, it would have gotten the attention of the league. Umpires are hired by the leagues, of course (nowadays by MLB as a whole).

I don’t know that the National League President (Ford Frick) and the Commissioner (Happy Chandler) were rabid integrationists in 1947, but they did back Rickey once he determined to integrate. They couldn’t very well let the integrity of the game go to pot because of pique over Robinson.

Frick famously threatened to suspend St. Louis Cardinals players who threatened not to play against Robinson. Any umpire making obvious bad calls would have been given the same treatment.

The worst an umpire could have done would have been to shade the extremely close calls against Robinson–the calls so close that the umpire’s integrity wouldn’t be questioned either way. But as others have said upthread, that’s viscerally difficult to do, and wouldn’t have been all that effective anyway.