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A.B. Chandler Says He Is Truly Happy About Letting Robinson Play in '47

April 18, 1987|United Press International

VERSAILLES, Ky. — Former baseball commissioner A.B. (Happy) Chandler says he never regretted the decision to let Jackie Robinson break baseball's color barrier in 1947, even though it might have cost him his job.

Chandler said Friday that he made the decision to let Robinson play for the Brooklyn Dodgers while sitting on the back porch of his farmhouse here.

"I thought about this thing a great deal," he said. "I remember thinking I'm going to have to meet my maker someday and if he asks me why didn't I let this boy play, and I said because he's black, that might not be a satisfactory answer.

"Numerous owners got mad with me about it, and I don't know to what extent it caused me to lose my job in '51, but I never have regretted the fact that I gave blacks the opportunity."

Chandler, who became commissioner in 1945, said his experience as a member of the Senate Military Affairs Committee convinced him to overrule a 15-1 vote by the owners just three months earlier to keep baseball all-white.

"I had an opportunity to see red men, white men, black men and yellow men offer to fight and die in the trenches for the freedom of mankind, then when they came back over they were told they couldn't play the national pastime," Chandler said.

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