A distinguished alumnus of Princeton comments on the University’s long descent into leftism and its disturbing practice of pandering to infantile race-mongers:

The recent events at Princeton University are the culmination of the leftist takeover of Princeton that began in the late 1960s with the rise of people like William Bowen (Provost 1967 to 1972, President 1972 to 1988), Shirley Tilghman (long-time professor, President 2000 to 2013), and many others of the leftist faculty-industrial complex. Princeton is really no different than other universities in this regard.

Over the years, beginning as early as the 1960s and 1970s, Princeton loaded up its faculty with liberals, socialists, Marxists, and other fellow travelers, and more recently, with people like Paul Krugman, Peter Singer, Cornel West, and Sean Wilentz. The collective groupthink was evident in 2012, when the student newspaper determined that “99 percent of donors from Princeton [gave] to Obama” during that year’s presidential campaign. It did not seem to occur to anyone at the university that there was anything wrong with such an imbalance.

The university points to one well-known conservative professor, Robert George, as if to say, “see, we have a conservative on the faculty.” In fact, Mr. George is a token conservative. The university routinely honors alumni who are liberal public officials and figures, like former Senator Paul Sarbanes, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. At the same time, Princeton typically ignores conservative public officials (e.g., Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito).

The alumni generally fall into a few different camps: (1) liberals who approve of everything the administration does; (2) moderate and conservative alumni who keep their mouth shut about the university’s tendencies, donate a lot of money, and hope that their silence, donations, and support will enable their children to gain admission; (3) indifferent alumni who are more focused on earning a living and putting their Princeton experiences out of their mind; and (4) conservative alumni who fire off occasional letters of protest and otherwise generally view the school as a name that looks good on their resume despite its far left administration and faculty.

At the same time, alumni are keenly aware that Princeton’s admissions office has increased “diversity” at the expense of “non-diverse” candidates. Princeton now identifies 55% of its students as minority and foreign or “international” students. Princeton also established theFields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, the Institutional Equity and Diversity at Princeton program, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center, a Women’s Center, a “Queering the Color Line Series,” and several other diversity-related initiatives, faculty, and programs.

The latest episode in President Christopher Eisgruber’s Nassau Hall office illustrates the prevailing sentiment among certain segments of the school. This is especially true of thecomment by one student, captured on videotape, that Woodrow Wilson “is a murderer. We owe him nothing. This university owes us everything. I walk around this campus understanding that this was built on the backs of my people and I owe none of you guys anything. We owe white people nothing. If not for the evilness and of white hatred in this country…we would not have to be fighting for our rights.”

That Mr. Eisgruber would tolerate the invasion of his office by students and then negotiate an agreement with the invaders says a lot about his leadership.

Mr. Eisgruber’s agreement to study Woodrow Wilson raises another question: why limit any examination to Woodrow Wilson? Princeton’s alumni include slaveholders like James Madison and many others whose views are out-of-step with contemporary norms and whose names appear on university buildings and elsewhere throughout the university. The answer to the question appears to be that the protesters demanded the annihilation of Mr. Wilson’s memory and Mr. Eisgruber signed an agreement with them to buy time, defuse the situation, and “study” the issue.

That he and the university would consider race-based “affinity housing” is particularly troubling. Perhaps he plans to delay until the protesters leave for the summer or graduate. At bottom, though, Mr. Eisgruber’s decision to negotiate and reach an agreement about studying Woodrow Wilson’s legacy, affinity housing, “cultural competency training, “amnesty” for those who spent the night in Mr. Eisgruber’s office, and other diversity-related demands sets a disturbing precedent.

Fortunately, some students and alumni object to the university’s actions. Whether these objections will matter remains to be seen.

The Gun Powder Plot Defused, Thankfully

It is Guy Fawkes night in Great Britain, here is the story of the Gun Powder Plot, This is interesting history.

Catholic Conspiracy and the Gunpowder Plot

By Pat Horan

“Remember, remember!

The fifth of November,

The Gunpowder treason and plot;

I know of no reason

Why the Gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot!”

On Nov. 5, as Americans absorb the results of the midterm elections, those in the UK will be celebrating Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes Night) with firework celebrations. The day marks the 409th anniversary of the 1605 “Gunpowder Plot” to blow up the British Parliament and assassinate King James I.

Elizabeth I of England had died without an heir in 1603. Since King James VI of Scotland – son of Mary, Queen of Scots – was the great grandson of Henry VIII’s sister, Margaret Tudor, he was considered to be most fit to be heir to the English Crown. With his coronation, James united the Kingdom of England and Ireland with the Kingdom of Scotland, proclaiming himself, “King of Great Britain and Ireland.” The Protestant Elizabeth’s succession is rather ironic as she had her cousin and James’ mother, the Catholic Queen Mary, beheaded after Mary was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth! Although the son of Catholics, James was raised as a Protestant.

James was more moderate toward Catholics than his predecessor, who had declared all Catholic priests to be guilty of treason, but after he discovered that the pope had sent James I’s wife a rosary, James denounced the Roman Catholic Church, ordered its priests to leave the country, and reimposed fines on those guilty of not attending Anglican services.

The plot to destroy Parliament and assassinate the king is believed to be the brainchild of Robert Catesby, a Catholic veteran of the Earl of Essex’s rebellion against Elizabeth. To implement this plan, Catesby recruited several men, including, Guy (Guido) Fawkes, who had fought for the Spanish against Protestant Dutch rebels in the Netherlands. As a man with military experience, Fawkes was the one to handle and set off the gunpowder. Catesby and the conspirators intended to kill most of the Protestant aristocracy along with the king during his address before the House of Lords and then kidnap his young daughter, Princess Elizabeth. A Catholic uprising would then install the child as the monarch.

Parliament was set to re-open in February 1605, but the threat of plague delayed this until the fall. During the summer, Catesby met with the Jesuit superior of England, Henry Garnet, and received reconciliation from another Jesuit, Oswald Tesimond. Tesimond learned of the plot and approached Garnet, asking for his advice. Garnet determined that the seal of the confessional prevented him from revealing this to English authorities, but he urged Catesby not to use violence.

As details of the conspiracy were finalized, several of the plotters became increasingly concerned about the safety of Catholic members of Parliament that might be present. British historian Antonia Fraser recounts that an anonymous letter was sent to the Lord Monteagle. Monteagle read the letter that warned him not to attend the State Opening of Parliament as it would “receive a terrible blow.” The letter made its way to the King.

On the night of Nov. 4, a search was conducted underneath Parliament. The search party discovered and arrested Fawkes, who was dressed in a cloak and hat, with barrels of gunpowder underneath the House of Lords.

Although Fawkes insisted he acted alone, English authorities traced the plot to Catesby and the other conspirators. Catesby and three other plotters were killed before they could be arrested. The other members of the inner circle were captured and brought to the Tower of London along with Fawkes, where they awaited being tried with treason. One of them, Thomas Bates, implicated Father Garnet, Father Tesimond, and a third Jesuit, Father Gerard. Gerard and Tesimond escaped the country, but Garnet was captured.

As he was interrogated, Garnet admitted he had learned of the plot under the seal of confession, but he rebutted the accusations of treason made against him. He had even attempted to stop the plan. Despite the weakness of the prosecution, Garnet was convicted and eventually hanged, drawn, and quartered. Robert Cecil, an important adviser to both Elizabeth I and James I, is believed to have influenced the prosecution to foster anti-Catholic sentiment. Although the priests probably were not involved in the creation and implementation of the plan, the Gunpowder Plot is sometimes nicknamed the “Jesuit Treason.”

The captured members of the attempted regicide were also convicted and executed by the same means.

While the events of 1605 are generally not at the forefront of people’s minds nowadays, Nov. 5 is still a night of celebration in Britain. The 2006 film V for Vendetta, based on the 1982 graphic novel of the same name, has made the “Guy Fawkes” mask a common feature of protest movements across the world. (The film’s protagonist is a freedom fighter who dons the masks, but it neglects to mention that the real Fawkes was intent on installing a Catholic monarchy.).

Author’s note: I’d like to thank Fr. Thomas Worcester, SJ; Fr. Thomas McCoog, SJ; and my friend, Lee Evans for sharing their knowledge of this subject with me.

If Tom Hanks Managed The Mets!

In the Movie, “A League Of Their Own” about the women’s’ professional baseball league in the 1940’s, Tom Hanks played the manager. In the iconic scene of the movie, with a player crying over some event, he said, “Crying? There’s no crying in baseball.” There is a reason for this. Baseball does not lend itself to sentiment.

Last night in game 5 of the World Series, the Mets, behind the Royals three games to one, led 2-0 in the ninth inning. Mets pitcher Matt Harvey had been dominant through 8 innings.

Mets manager Terry Collins was about to remove Harvey for the Mets star closer. Harvey went after Collins saying, as we lip read the confrontation, “there’s no way you’re taking me out. It’s my game, I’m staying in.” He was highly emotional, pleading. The Mets fans were chanting Harvey, We want Harvey!” So Harvey, hubris flowing, dreaming of a shut out in game 5, preserving his team’s chances to win the series, Took the mound to pitch to Lorenzo Cain in the top of the ninth.

If the team won, they had a chance to win it all with pitchers deGrom and Syndegaard scheduled to pitch games 6 and 7. They very well may have beaten the Royals.

Facing Cain in the top of the inning, Harvey, glory in his eyes, concrete in his elbow, walked Cain. Baseball unwritten rules say that you never walk the lead off hitter anytime. Now Harvey had to pitch out of the stretch to Eric Hosmer. Hosmer hit the ball off the base of the left field wall. Cain scored and Hosmer was on second with the tying run. Collins replaced Harvey at that time. It was a long walk to the mound for Collins and longer to Harvey to the dugout and ignominy.

Mike Moustakas, a left-handed hitter, hit the ball to the Mets first baseman, Duda. Hosmer took third and the magnificent catcher Perez came to the plate. He was beaten with a ball that jammed him and he hit a short shot to third baseman David Wright. Hosmer watched as Wright prepared to throw to first, and when he did, Hosmer broke for the plate. Duda at first had to hold his position to catch the ball while touching the base. With Hosmer streaking down the third baseline, he came off the base after catching Wright’s throw and had to throw across his body to home. The ball was wild, Hosmer scored the tieing run.

Both of the batters Harvey faced scored in that inning. It would have been different if he threw one more strike to Harvey or a better strike to Hosmer, but he didn’t. The Royals scored 5 runs in 12th to win the World Series. It is a wonderful team. but this game was lost because Collins allowed Harvey’s cry to overwhelm his judgment.

If Tom Hanks managed the Mets, we would probably see game 6 tomorrow night and deGrom just might have been victorious. Maybe.That’s why there’s no crying in baseball, Never.

The Movie “TRUTH” is a Lie, Pure and Simple

Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker are friends of mine.. This article, from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, details the movie’s lies. The Rather documents were a hoax, shamelessly put forward for partisan political reasons’

iPlaying now in theaters across the country is a film called “Truth.” If truth-in-labeling laws applied to Hollywood, the film would be called “Lies” — or the producers would be trying to work out a plea agreement to avoid jail time. Starring Robert Redford as former CBS News anchor Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as former CBS News producer Mary Mapes, the film purports to tell the story behind the “Rathergate” scandal from the inside.

The film premiered to favorable reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 12 and to mixed notices when it opened in New York and Los Angeles on October 16. Some reviewers take the film at face value. That is a mistake.

The episode known as Rathergate represents one of the great journalistic frauds of our time. The scandal erupted from a “60 Minutes Wednesday” segment rushed to air on the evening of Sept. 8, 2004, in time to influence the approaching presidential election pitting George W. Bush against John Kerry, as it was clearly intended to do. The segment consisted of two parts that didn’t quite fit together except in their antipathy to Bush.

In the first part, based on an interview with Ben Barnes, the former Texas lieutenant governor — and at the time vice chairman of Kerry’s national finance committee — Rather essentially claimed that political influence had been brought to bear to secure Bush’s admission to the Texas Air National Guard as an interceptor jet pilot in 1968. In the second part, based on documents supposedly from the “personal file” of Bush’s commanding officer, Rather reported that Bush had defied an order to take a physical necessary to maintain his flight status and, among other things, thus failed to discharge his military obligations. The segment was produced and written by Mapes.

In researching the story, Mapes had interviewed witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the Texas Air National Guard’s personnel needs. She was told that they needed pilots at the time and that no influence would have been necessary to secure Bush’s admission.
The documents on which Rather based the second segment proved to be fabricated on Microsoft Word in the computer era, not typewritten in the early 1970s by Bush’s commanding officer or anyone else. The content and format of the documents also betrayed their fabrication.

The story began to fall apart within a few hours of its broadcast. On Sept. 20, 12 days later, Rather extended an apology “personally and directly” to viewers for his inability to authenticate the documents.

To investigate what happened, CBS commissioned a panel chaired by former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh and former Associated Press President Lou Boccardi. The report, released in January 2005, provides evidence proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the entire segment was false and/or fraudulent. It finds that CBS News was at the least grossly negligent in airing the story. As CBS puts it, the report finds that “CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the Sept. 8, 2004 broadcast.”

Mapes was promptly fired, as were three other executives with responsibility for the story. Rather stepped down from “CBS Evening News” in March 2005 and was let go from the network the following year.

Both Mapes (“Truth and Duty,” 2005) and Rather (“Rather Outspoken,” 2012) have written memoirs standing by the story. “Truth” is based on Mapes’s memoir. Despite Mapes’s responsibility for perpetrating a shocking journalistic fraud, the film portrays her as a heroic figure. Mapes not only gets a stellar actress to play her, she is portrayed as a martyr to the First Amendment and a victim of corporate cowardice.
Calling the film “Truth” suggests confidence that public memories have faded. The lapse of 11 years is apparently sufficient time to allow for the rewriting of history.

Back in 2004, writing about the “60 Minutes” segment on the morning after the broadcast on the Power Line site, I posted a brief item linking to the “60 Minutes” story and the PDF copies of the documents that CBS had made available with the online version of the story. Thinking there might be something more to be said about it than what “60 Minutes” had reported, I called my post “The 61st Minute” and published it on Power Line at 7:51 a.m.

Together with my colleague John Hinderaker, I updated the post with additional information provided by readers and fellow bloggers through the early afternoon. By noon, anyone following along online could see that the “60 Minutes” segment had been based on fabricated documents and thoroughgoing falsehoods. The segment, reported with great earnestness by Rather, had been produced by knaves or fools or both.

Rather and Mapes nevertheless persuaded CBS News to stick with the story for nearly two weeks before Rather rendered his on-air apology. Now Rather reveals that he apologized with fingers crossed behind his back. He didn’t mean it; both he and Mapes stand behind the story and the authenticity of the documents. In a Bartlett’s-worthy quote, Mapes asserted before a festive audience convened by the New York Times last month in Manhattan, “I think we were within the normal journalistic range of bungle.”

Andrew Heyward was president of CBS News at the time of Rathergate. He hasn’t spoken much about the scandal for public consumption, but he talked about “Truth” to the New York Times last month. Heyward told the Times that the film “takes people responsible for the worst embarrassment in the history of CBS News, and what was at the time a grievous blow to the credibility of a proud news organization, and turns them into martyrs and heroes. Only Hollywood could come up with that.”

Ben Carson Shows True Image of Conservatism

Jonah Goldberg shows the true image of Republicans as does the candidacy of Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Republicans are the inclusive, “big tent” party. This is the progressives’ nightmare.


From Jonah Goldberg.

Here’s something you may not know: Dr. Ben Carson is black.

Of course, I’m being a little cute here. The only way you wouldn’t know he’s black is if you were blind and only listened to the news.

For instance, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” — a program that often serves as a kind of artisanal boutique of inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom — host Joe Scarborough expressed consternation over Carson’s popularity. “I just don’t get it,” Scarborough said more than once. Remarking on some Carson ad he didn’t like, Scarborough said, “This guy is up 20 points in Iowa? . . . It’s baffling.”

Co-host Mika Brzezinski kept saying, “I just don’t get the Ben Carson . . .” before trailing off into in articulate exasperation.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson took a plausible stab at why Carson is popular. “They like him, they like him,” he repeated, referring to conservatives in Iowa and elsewhere who admire Carson’s dignified and soft-spoken demeanor.

True enough; Carson has the highest favorables of any candidate in the GOP field.

But what’s remarkable is that at no point in this conversation did anyone call attention to the fact that Carson is an African-American. Indeed, most analysis of Carson’s popularity from pundits focuses on his likable personality and his sincere Christian faith. But it’s intriguingly rare to hear people talk about the fact that he’s black.

One could argue he’s even more authentically African-American than Barack Obama, given that Obama’s mother was white, and he was raised in part by his white grandparents. In his autobiography, Obama writes at length about how he grew up outside the traditional African-American experience — in Hawaii and Indonesia — and how he consciously chose to adopt a black identity when he was in college.

Meanwhile, Carson grew up in Detroit, the son of a very poor, very hardworking single mother. His tale of rising from poverty to become the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital is one of the most inspiring rags-to-riches stories of the last half-century. (Cuba Gooding Jr. played Carson in the movie about his life.) He was a towering figure in the black community in Baltimore and nationally — at least until he became a Republican politician.

And that probably explains why his race seems to be such a non-issue for the media. The New York Times is even reluctant to refer to him as a doctor. The Federalist reports that Jill Biden, who has a doctorate in education, is three times more likely to be referred to as “Dr.” in the Times as brain surgeon Carson. If the Times did that to a black Democrat, charges of racism would be thick in the air.

Or consider the aforementioned Eugene Robinson, who routinely sees racial bias in Republicans. “I can’t say that the people holding ‘Take Back Our Country’ signs were racists,” he wrote in 2014, recalling a tea party rally four years earlier, “but I know this rallying cry arose after the first African-American family moved into the White House.”

Wrong. Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry all used the slogan incessantly when George W. Bush was in office.

How strange it must be for people who comfort themselves with the slander that the GOP is a cult of organized racial hatred that the most popular politician among conservatives is a black man. Better to ignore the elephant in the room than account for such an inconvenient fact. The race card is just too valuable politically and psychologically for liberals who need to believe that their political opponents are evil.

Carson’s popularity isn’t solely derived from his race, but it is a factor. The vast majority of conservatives resent the fact that Democrats glibly and shamelessly accuse Republicans of bigotry — against blacks, Hispanics and women — simply because they disagree with liberal policies (which most conservatives believe hurt minorities).

Yet conservatives also refuse to adopt those liberal policies just to prove they aren’t bigots. Carson — not to mention Carly Fiorina and Hispanics Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — demonstrates that there’s no inherent contradiction between being a minority (or a woman) and supporting conservative principles. And that fact is just too terrible for some liberals to contemplate.

America’s Weakening Military Strength Is Terrifying

Military Readiness: Pretty much everyone — even ex-state senator Barack Obama — says a president has no greater responsibility than national defense, protecting the homeland, its people and interests abroad. So why isn’t he?

Americans have learned over time and especially since 2009 that what an administration says are its priorities and goals may be mere words.

Remember those millions of new jobs promised for the summer of 2010? Or the $2,500 in health care savings every family would enjoy with ObamaCare that have turned into $3,000 more in expenses?

So, it’s particularly disturbing to read the Heritage Foundation’s latest annual Index of U.S. Military Strength. We’d make some kind of timely Halloween reference here, but the nation’s eroded, corroded military strength and capabilities documented therein are beyond scary. They’re terrifying. A few disheartening examples:

• From 566,000 in 2011, the Army has been cut to 490,000 on the way to 450,000 and possibly 420,000.

• Under severe budget constraints, the Air Force is retiring older planes more expensive to operate. But their replacements are late coming into service. KC-135s comprise 87% of a vital flying tanker fleet, but average 50 years old, way past 100 in human years.

• The Air Force’s tactical aircraft squadrons will soon number 26, down from 133 in the 1990s.

• The Navy stretches deployments to cover gaps. It’s one carrier short into next year. Vice Chief of Operations Michelle Howard says, “Navy readiness is at its lowest point in many years.”

• The Marine Corps, the crisis strike force, has fallen from 292,000 to 184,000. Fewer to come.

It’s one thing to not recruit foot-soldiers. It’s another to forcibly retire (even prosecute) career generals, as Obama’s done. Worse, he’s forced out hundreds of career majors and colonels. That wipes out an entire cohort of experienced officers who would have been our generals of the future.

A variety of domestic fiscal and political forces have combined over time with doubtful assumptions, wishful evaluations and lazy rationalizations to downgrade across the board the military capabilities of the country’s all-volunteer forces in size, equipment and reach.

No wonder the world’s dark sides, including Russia, China, ISIS and North Korea, take advantage of that voluntary vacuum to escalate their own rise. The U.S. can no longer handle a variety of global threats, even if the current president had the will to do so.

Remember Obama’s 2013 National Defense University speech proclaiming victory over declining terrorist forces and the end of continual wars? There’s a problem with such wishful thinking: It takes two to not have a war. It also takes two sides to reach and honor that new agreement on nuclear weapons.

Recall Obama dismissing ISIS as a JV team? That got him through a few months of news cycles. But ISIS didn’t get the memo and spread its tentacles of death far and wide before he reluctantly faced its reality. Even then, his “strategy” was a half-hearted, ineffective bombing campaign that’s produced only stalemates. And even Canada has quit that effort as useless.

The good news is Obama’s reign of error has just 446 days left; the bad news is 446 long days and nights left.

We echo the haunting words of former Vice President Cheney, who last April observed:

“If you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing.”

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True Story of Jackie Robinson’s Signing by Branch Rickey

Jackie Robinson’s Signing: The Real Story

Jules Tygiel and I collaborated on this story forSPORT magazine in June 1988. Subsequently it appeared in SABR’s The National Pastime, in several editions of Total Baseball, and in Jules’s Extra Bases: Reflections on Jackie Robinson, Race, and Baseball History. Despite this drumbeat of evidence, the legend surrounding Jackie Robinson’s signing has persisted. Jules and I believed that the real story was not only more interesting than the schoolboy version but also made Jackie’s pioneering mission even more heroic.

October 1945. As the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs faced off in the World Series, photographer Maurice Terrell arrived at an almost deserted minor-league park in San Diego, California, to carry out a top-secret assignment: to surreptitiously photograph three black baseball players.

Terrell shot hundreds of motion-picture frames of Jackie Robinson and the two other players. A few photos appeared in print but the existence of the additional images remained unknown for four decades. In April 1987, as Major League Baseball prepared a lavish commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of Robinson’s debut, I unearthed a body of contact sheets and unprocessed film from a previously unopened carton donated in 1954 by Look magazine to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. This discovery triggered an investigation which led to startling revelations regarding Branch Rickey, the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and his signing of Jackie Robinson to shatter baseball’s longstanding color line; the relationship between these two historic figures; and the stubbornly controversial issue of black managers in baseball.

The popular “frontier” image of Jackie Robinson as a lone gunman facing down a hostile mob has always dominated the story of the integration of baseball. But new information related to the Terrell photos reveals that while Robinson was the linchpin in Branch Rickey’s strategy, in October 1945 Rickey intended to announce the signing of not just Jackie Robinson, but of several other Negro League stars. Political pressure, however, forced Rickey’s hand, thrusting Robinson alone into the spotlight. And in 1950, after only three years in the major leagues, Robinson pressed Rickey to consider him for a position as field manager or front-office executive, raising an issue with which the baseball establishment grappled long after.

The story of these revelations began with the discovery of the Terrell photographs. The photos show a youthful, muscular Robinson in a battered cap and baggy uniform fielding from his position at shortstop, batting with a black catcher crouched behind him, trapping a third black player in a rundown between third and home, and sprinting along the basepaths more like a former track star than a baseball player. All three players wore uniforms emblazoned with the name “Royals.” A woman with her back to the action is the only figure visible amid the vacant stands. The contact sheets are dated October 7, 1945.

The photos were perplexing. The momentous announcement of Jackie Robinson’s signing with the Montreal Royals took place on October 23, 1945. Before that date his recruitment had been a tightly guarded secret. Why, then, had a Look photographer taken such an interest in Robinson two weeks earlier? Where had the pictures been taken? And why was Robinson already wearing a Royals uniform?

I called Jules Tygiel, the author of Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy, to see if he could shed some light on the photos. Tygiel knew nothing about them, but he did have in his files a 1945 manuscript by newsman Arthur Mann, who frequently wrote for Look. The article, drafted with Rickey’s cooperation, had been intended to announce the Robinson signing but had never been published. The pictures, Jules and I concluded, were to have accompanied Mann’s article; we decided to find out the story behind the photo session.

The clandestine nature of the photo session did not surprise us. From the moment he had arrived in Brooklyn in 1942, determined to end baseball’s Jim Crow traditions, Rickey had feared that premature disclosure of his intentions might doom his bold design. No blacks had appeared in the major leagues since 1884 when two brothers, Welday and Moses Fleetwood Walker, had played for Toledo in the American Association. [In recent years an earlier African American major leaguer has been identified: William Edward White, a one-game first baseman for Providence of the National League in 1879.] Not since the 1890s had black players appeared on a minor-league team. During the ensuing half-century all-black teams and leagues featuring legendary figures like pitcher Satchel Paige and catcher Josh Gibson had performed on the periphery of Organized Baseball.

Baseball executives, led by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, had strictly policed the color line, barring blacks from both major and minor leagues. Rickey therefore moved slowly and secretly to explore the issue and cover up his attempts to scout black players during his first three years in Brooklyn. He informed the Dodger owners of his plans but took few others into his confidence.

In the spring of 1945, as Rickey prepared to accelerate his scouting efforts, advocates of integration, emboldened by the impending end of World War II and the recent death of Commissioner Landis, escalated their campaign to desegregate baseball. OnApril 6, 1945, black sportswriter Joe Bostic appeared at the Dodgers’ Bear Mountain training camp with Negro League stars Terris McDuffie and Dave “Showboat” Thomas and forced Rickey to hold tryouts for the two players. Ten days later black journalist Wendell Smith, white sportswriter Dave Egan, and Boston city councilman Isidore Muchnick engineered an unsuccessful ninety-minute audition with the Red Sox for Robinson, then a shortstop with the Kansas City Monarchs; second baseman Marvin Williams of the Philadelphia Stars; and outfielder Sam Jethroe of the Cleveland Buckeyes.  In response to these events the major leagues announced the formation of a Committee on Baseball Integration. (Reflecting Organized Baseball’s true intentions on the matter, the group never met.)

In the face of this heightened activity, Rickey created an elaborate smokescreen to obscure his scouting of black players. In May 1945 he announced the formation of a new franchise, the Brooklyn Brown Dodgers, and a new Negro League, the United States League. Rickey then dispatched his best talent hunters to observe black ballplayers, ostensibly for the Brown Dodgers, but in reality for the Brooklyn National League club.

A handwritten memorandum in the Rickey Papers at the Library of Congress offers a rare glimpse of Rickey’s emphasis on secrecy in his instructions to Dodger scouts. The document, signed “Chas. D. Clark” and accompanied by a Negro National League schedule for April-May 1945, is headlined “Job Analysis,” and defines the following “Duties: under supervision of management of club”:

1. To establish contact (silent) with all clubs (local or general).

2. To gain knowledge and [sic] abilities of all players.

3. To report all possible material (players).

4. Prepare weekly reports of activities.

5. Keep composite report of outstanding players . . . To travel and cover player whenever management so desire.

Clark’s “Approch” [sic] was to “Visit game and loose [sic] self in stands; Keep statistical report (speed, power, agility, ability, fielding, batting, etc.) by score card”; and “Leave immediately after game.”

Clark’s directions, however, contain one major breach in Rickey’s elaborate security precautions. According to his later accounts, Rickey had told most Dodger scouts that they were evaluating talent for a new “Brown Dodger” franchise. But Clark’s first “Objective” was “To Cover Negro teams for possible major league talent.” Had Rickey confided in Clark, a figure so obscure as to escape prior mention in the voluminous Robinson literature? Dodger superscout and Rickey confidante Clyde Sukeforth had no recollection of Clark when Jules spoke with him, raising the possibility that Clark was not part of the Dodger family, but perhaps someone connected with black baseball. Had Clark himself interpreted his instructions in this manner?

Whatever the answer, Rickey successfully diverted attention from his true motives. Nonetheless, mounting interest in the integration issue threatened Rickey’s careful planning. In the summer of 1945 Rickey constructed yet another facade. The Dodger president took into his confidence Dan Dodson, a New York University sociologist who chaired Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s Committee on Unity, and requested that Dodson form a Committee on Baseball ostensibly to study the possibility of integration. In reality, the committee would provide the illusion of action while Rickey quietly completed his own preparations. “This was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make while in office,” Dodson later confessed. “The major purpose I could see for the committee was that it was a stall for time. . . . Yet had Mr. Rickey not delivered . . . I would have been totally discredited.”

Thus by late August, even as Rickey’s extensive scouting reports had led him to focus on Jackie Robinson as his standard bearer, few people in or out of the Dodger organization suspected that a breakthrough was imminent. On August 28 Rickey and Robinson held their historic meeting at the Dodgers’ Montague Street offices in downtown Brooklyn. Robinson signed an agreement to accept a contract with the Montreal Royals, the top Dodger affiliate, by November 1.

Rickey, still concerned with secrecy, impressed upon Robinson the need to maintain silence. Robinson could tell the momentous news to his family and fiancee, but no one else. For the conspiratorial Rickey, keeping the news sheltered while continuing arrangements required further subterfuge. Rumors about Robinson’s visit had already spread through the world of black baseball. To stifle speculation Rickey “leaked” an adulterated version of the incident to black sportswriter Wendell Smith. Smith, who had recommended Robinson to Rickey and advised Rickey on the integration project, doubtless knew the true story behind the meeting. On September 8, however, he reported in thePittsburgh Courier that the “sensational shortstop” and “colorful major-league dynamo” had met behind “closed doors. . . . The nature of the conference has not been revealed,” Smith continued. Rickey claimed that he and Robinson had assessed “the organization of Negro baseball,” but Smith noted that “it does not seem logical [Rickey] should call in a rookie player to discuss the future organization of Negro baseball.” He closed with the tantalizing thought that “it appears that the Brooklyn boss has a plan on his mind that extends further than just the future of Negro baseball as an organization.” The subterfuge succeeded. Neither black nor white reporters pursued the issue.

Rickey, always sensitive to criticism by New York sports reporters and understanding the historic significance of his actions, also wanted to be sure that his version of the integration breakthrough and his role in it be accurately portrayed. To guarantee this he persuaded Arthur Mann, his close friend and later a Dodger employee, to write a 3,000-word manuscript to be published simultaneously with the announcement of the signing.