I knew this program was about baseball, and about Boys of Summer, “regarded as one of the best books ever written about baseball,” according to Baseball-Reference.com.  I was really looking forward to writing a cheery post about my favorite sport.  But what WorldCat and Wikipedia didn’t tell me about the book is that it’s actually about the integration of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the struggles of a young reporter to tell it like it is.

We will not be Jackie Robinson’s sounding board.  Write baseball, not race.  

Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers, 1954

Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers, 1954

Studs says the book is “more than about baseball, [it’s about] what happens to lives of men.”  That includes Clem Labine, talking about the debilitating injury his son suffered in Vietnam; Carl Erskine, who “saw a lynch rope when he was eight or nine;” and all of the men whose professional careers had ended by age 35, who returned home to run stores, work on construction sites, and to deal with the pain that is “a condition of their lives.”

Despite the struggles the players face on and off the field, the program is essentially joyful; Studs and Roger both love baseball and that comes through loud and clear, and they are in awe of the players and proud of the work they did as athletes and as civil rights leaders during “the glory moments of their lives.”

Looking for more baseball?  Hear Studs talk to Jackie Robinson’s biographer, Arnold Rampersad.  And we’re looking forward to someday (in the next year or so) having digital copies of interviews with Doc “Moonlight” Graham and W.P. Kinsella.  Stay tuned!

Photo credit: By Photo by Bob Sandberg, Look photographerRestoration by Adam Cuerden – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ppmsc.00048.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.العربية | čeština | Deutsch | English | español | فارسی | suomi | français | magyar | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | Nederlands | polski | português | русский | slovenčina | slovenščina | Türkçe | українська | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | 中文(繁體)‎ | +/−, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32162285

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