Let’s Talk About Myths

Scripture:  “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Reflection: My Grandpaw taught me a lot about major league baseball. We watched many games together when I was a kid and he would tell me about the greats of his era. Here’s a Jackie Robinson story I heard recently and dug a little deeper. I’m sure Grandpaw would appreciate it.

There’s a story perpetrated by television and the movies about the first African American baseball player, Jackie Robinson and his good friend and team captain Pee Wee Reese. Pee Wee has his arm around the shoulders of Jackie Robinson befriending him against the jeering crowds in the stands.  Ken Burns talks about it in his series “Baseball.” The movie version of Jackie Robinson’s story, “42”, makes it the dramatic highlight. A statue was made of the two that stands in Brooklyn. 

Apparently, it’s probably a myth. Some think they saw something. Some say Brooklyn, some say Boston, some say Cincinnati, some say 1947, some say later. No pictures exist. Nothing was written about it at the time. There was no death-defying stare into the stands. Even Ken Burns says the story ended up being myth to his regret. 

But the myth holds some truth. Jackie Robinson has recounted a somewhat similar story. He gives no date or place or even a mention of the arm around the shoulders. He did say about Pee Wee Reese, “he was standing by me, I could tell you that.” When Robinson started in the major leagues, he faced heckling in most stadiums.  When the world must have seemed to be against Robinson because of the color of his skin, Reese stood by him. A petition circulated to ban Africa-Americans from being on the team. When the petition came to Reese, he would not sign it. As the team leader, that was the end of the petition. 

By the way, Pee Wee Reese came from Kentucky, from a southern home that saw segregation as the way the world was. That may have given Reese no reason to stand up for his friend. Reese even said that he had not shaken the hand of a black man before he met Jackie Robinson. However, he knew what was right. His friendship with Jackie Robinson lasted until death. 

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Prayer: Lord, Help us to do what is good, to believe in justice, to show kindness where ever we go and to walk walk humbly with you. Amen

Resource: After a google ride, here’s some good info for the baseball folk out there:   https://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/the-embrace/

Author: Nancy Sauve

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