Field of Dreams : How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

The era of 'political correctness' went right over my head and I still contend most of it is BS. That being said I first thought the 'All Star Teams' were made up of white males to keep in step with the Shoeless Joe Jackson era. But that isn't entitely true because Gil Hodges was one of the chosen and his career ended in 1962. To head off criticism I do understand they were careful in the names of the players portrayed. The names of Ruth and Gehrig were not mentioned because their public persona as well as their professional stats would have overshadowed the others and that same argument could be used for leaving someone like Jackie Robinson out of the mix. But in the end there must have been a way to show an integrated team(s) without making it the focal point of the movie or even interfering with the focal point.


10/22/14 JACKIE ROBINSON CORRECTION ... GIVEN THE FACTS THAT THE GODFATHER WAS IN THEATRES (EARLY 1972) AND MANN AND KINSELLA ATTEND A BASEBALL GAME THE EVENTS TAKE PLACE BEFORE JACKIE ROBINSON DIED ... 10/24/72

The corretion above is incorrect. I received the following pointing out my error

by pepperdog61 (Sat Oct 25 2014 19:24:09) . 10/24/72Actually, only Ray's nighttime walk through Chisholm and meeting with old Doc Graham take place in 1972. The rest of the film is contemporary to the late 1980s when the film was made...

Three can keep a secret, if two are dead

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

Very simple. The movie wasn't about race. If it deals with race at all it was in the way that Shoeless Joe doesn't seem to even notice that Terrence Mann was black. he accepted him right away.



He's taking the knife out of the Cheese!
Do you think he wants some cheese?


Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

There was a scene in the movie where 'Kid' Graham is pointing out the 'All Stars'. If he had added something like, '... and that's 'John Doe'! I saw him play on one of the negro teams where he struck out ...', and if it were not mentioned again it would have made for a better subtle message.

Had it been done the way I outlined it would have quietly pointed out that baseball was segregated but race need not have been an issue.

The movie wasn't about race.

I agree with you entirely about the movie not being about race but do believe if an integrated team had been introduced it would not have taken away from the overall focus of the movie (which I think is important).

On a small note I think it necessary to point out that the Joe Jackson character tells us that Ty Cobb was excluded not because he was a racist or because he couldn't play the game to their standard but simply because they didn't like the SOB (I realize the Cobb dialogue was injected to be humorous). The Jackson character also tells us there were many others who wanted to play... I think this tells the viewer clearly that many players were excluded and possibly for reasons other than there playing ability. Keeping that in mind I have an unresolved '?' mark as to whether the team was picked without bringing race into the equation... There would have been no questions or doubts had the integrated team been introduced.

" Three can keep a secret, if two are dead "

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?


Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated? ...by guy_in_west_houston » 5 hours ago (Wed Oct 22 2014 06:38:51) Flag ▼ | Reply | IMDb member since April 2007 ... Political correctness is a joke, it's just not funny. But here's one for you... Had it been a watermelon patch instead of a cornfield - they would come.
Postal eloquence should never be accidentally deleted. They should be imortalized and kept for the ages.

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

I gotta tell you, there's a good point in there somewhere. I don't see why there couldn't have been a couple of Negro League players in there. I'm sure there would have been a lot of unresolved issues with those guys to "heal" without destroying the charm of this wonderful film or unnecessarily complicating it .

I'll bet it's just something that never occurred to the author.



Just once, I'd like someone to call me sir without adding 'you're making a scene' ~H Simpson

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

this is by far & away the film's biggest failing.

the idea of the field is to give guys a chance to play again. guys who, for whatever reasons, were denied their shot first time around.

black players fit PERFECTLY into this. how many brilliant black players were denied their chance before Jackie Robinson? the film really REALLY misses a trick not going to that well. it leaves the film's message as feeling kind of elitist, despite the race-flip of the Salinger facsimilie.

together the ants can crush the elephant.

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

You make a fine point - this movie was all about redemption, second chances, and the chance to repair past ills....what better way to reflect this than to have a few of the top black players of the era, mixing it up with Shoeless Joe like Archie got to do?

Plus, that racist son of a bitch Ty Cobb wasn't invited, so it would have been fine... ;o)



Whose idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have an "S" in it?

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

I'm re-watching the movie now. I agree that a few from the Negro leagues would have been appropriate particularly since Terrence Mann (JD Salinger in the book) was black. I think it just would have been a nice touch.

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

Josh Gibson, who died suddenly at age 35 of a stroke in 1947 shortly before Jackie Robinson made his debut, would have been a good Negro Leaguer to have on the team.

Gibson, along with a few other Negro Leaguers, had gotten a few hints in the late 1930s and early 1940s that major league owners were thinking of signing black players, developed a drinking problem which probably ruined any chance he had of making the majors after Robinson was signed. His friends and family said he was heartbroken he never got a chance.

But it would have taken too long to explain all this, and disrupted the main storyline of the movie, so it might be just as well they didn't do it.

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4) You ever seen Superman $#$# his pants? Case closed.

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

I agree that players from the Negro Leagues would have been good candidates for being on the team. But it is a whole new subplot and it would have come rather late in the movie. The focus was supposed to be on the father-son relationship that was coming up. They could have easily taken the movie in the direction of integration, but that wasn't the theme of this particular movie. I think Shoeless Joe's immediate acceptance of Terrance Mann is supposed to show the acceptance in general of the players. Or maybe they were just waiting for Terrence Mann to come and lead the black ballplayers out. You can't cover everything that people will nitpick about.

I'm curious, would it have been enough for people to see a black player actually out on the field in the background, or would you have wanted someone named specifically like when Archie was pointing out different ballplayers?

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

I’ve read Shoeless Joe, the W. P. Kinsella novel on which the film is based. (Easy enough to read in a few hours if you’re not being distracted.) Nowhere in the novel is race relations made a significant subject. However, the film strays considerably from the novel by eliminating several events and characters, besides the critical error of making Shoeless Joe Jackson a player who throws with his left hand and bats right handed, even though the real Joe Jackson was a righty who hit left-handed.

So, having also made the most significant change from the novel to the film by replacing the instantly-recognizable character of J. D. Salinger with the fictional character of Terence Mann and changing that character’s skin tones (apparently due to threats of litigation from Salinger while he was alive*), I can only wonder whether the director and screenwriter, Phil Alden Robinson, ever spoke with W. P. Kinsella about adding the element of race relations to the screenplay, because I’ve read that Robinson said his greatest regret about the film was that he hadn’t included any Negro League players.

I agree that including some of the Negro League stars would have added a nice touch to the moments of the film when the all-star game is being played, even if there had been no intent to add the subplot of race relations to the film.

* http://njjewishnews.com/kaplanskorner/2010/01/29/j-d-salinger-terence- mann-and-field-of-dreams/

If it is what it is, what is it?

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

If they were going to do anything like this, Josh Gibson would have been the best pick for a representative Negro Leaguer, since he was the one greatest black player whose career (and life) abruptly ended just as Jackie Robinson arrived at the majors, so it will always be a matter of speculation that if integration had come just a season or so earlier, he might have made it to the majors.

Jackie Robinson lost half of his career to the color bar, as did most or all of the 30-ish Negro Leaguers who went into organized ball after 1947 -- Monte Irvin, Roy Campanella and Satchel Paige most prominent -- they didn't go to their graves wondering if they had ever been good enough to make it. They knew their careers and their final MLB stats didn't reflect their full talents, but they never had to wonder if they were good enough to make it at all.

If they wanted to get MORE obscure, they could have had Moses Fleetwood Walker, who played one season in the majors in 1884, after which the 'unwritten rule' was tightened up so blacks could not be signed. Walker knew he was good enough to play MLB, but not if he was good enough to play in the 20th century when the sport and the players got better.

But either one of these subplots would have required 15-20 minutes of screen time to set up and explain the back story so the audience would know what was going on -- too much time to derail from the main storyline.



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4) You ever seen Superman $#$# his pants? Case closed.

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

Thanks for this reminder--I'd read the book as well (along with Kinsella's The Great Iowa Baseball Confederacy; dude had a thing for Iowa) but couldn't recall off-hand if race had been mentioned in the book.

I think it would have been easy, and honestly not required much of an explanation, to include Negro Leagues players amongst those returning to the field.

Josh Gibson is a no-brainer. Even a young Satchel Paige--though he did play in the major leagues, by the time he was called up he was over 40 and past his prime. Oscar Charleston, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell....so many easy inclusions could have been made without losing focus on the movie's overall themes.

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

Political correctness is a joke, it's just not funny. But here's one for you... Had it been a watermelon patch instead of a cornfield - they would come.

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?


10/22/14 JACKIE ROBINSON CORRECTION ... GIVEN THE FACTS THAT THE GODFATHER WAS IN THEATRES (EARLY 1972) AND MANN AND KINSELLA ATTEND A BASEBALL GAME THE EVENTS TAKE PLACE BEFORE JACKIE ROBINSON DIED ... 10/24/72
Actually, only Ray's nighttime walk through Chisholm and meeting with old Doc Graham take place in 1972. The rest of the film is contemporary to the late 1980s when the film was made. For example, during the Red Sox-A's game, Moonlight Graham's name appears to Ray and Terrence on a huge jumbotron screen at Fenway Park. Fenway wouldn't have had one of those in 1972.

Ray just stepped into some kind of time portal in Chisholm that allowed him to talk to a soon-to-be dead Doc Graham.

Re: How Come The All Star Teams Were Not Integrated?

You're right! Thanks...
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