By Arlene Howard, Ralph Wimbish
Of all of the nice ballplayers to put on Yankee pinstripes, Elston Howard was once one of the proudest. extraordinary temperament and braveness made him the Jackie Robinson of baseball's so much storied franchise. No Yankee carried himself with extra dignity. No Yankee had larger recognize for his teammates or love for his spouse and relations. And not anyone enjoyed being a Yankee greater than Elston Howard. In Elston and Me, Howard's widow, Arlene, and coauthor Ralph Wimbish bear in mind the lifetime of the 1st black to play baseball for the hot York Yankees. Howard, who performed fourteen major-league seasons, used to be signed by way of the Yankees in 1950, however the reluctance of the american association to wreck the colour barrier held Howard again from the most important leagues until eventually 1955 whilst he used to be twenty-six years previous. by way of 1961, the yr he batted .348 for the Yankees, Elston had develop into the standard catcher. Voted the yankee League's Most worthy participant in 1963, Howard was once a three-time Gold Glove winner, and his fielding normal of an identical 12 months is still one of many maximum between catchers in major-league background. In 1967, with the american dynasty in decay, Elston was once traded to the Boston pink Sox, even though Yankee administration had promised him that he might end his occupation in pinstripes. After considering retirement, he moved to Boston overdue that season and helped the pink Sox win the "Impossible Dream" pennant. After another season with the purple Sox, he again to the Yankees because the first black trainer within the American League. Howard died on the age of fifty-one with no pleasing his dream of changing into baseball's first black supervisor. starting with Howard's early years as a St. Louis youngster, the booklet relates his encounters with racism and his love of baseball. He begun his expert profession for the mythical Negro League workforce the Kansas urban Monarchs. His 3 many years with the recent York Yankees comprise a number of anecdotes approximately fellow Yankee legends similar to Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra. With numerous own moments and never-before- released images and clippings from relatives albums, Elston and Me is the touching tale of 1 of baseball's nice avid gamers.
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Extra info for Elston and Me: The Story of the First Black Yankee (Sports and American Culture Series)
You have the desire to learn and you have the guts with which to do it. I want to help you. Place your conﬁdence in me. ” Remembered Elston, “He was the most patient man I’ve ever met. All he ever wanted in return was that you pay attention and try as hard as you could. I didn’t disappoint him there. I really was not much of a catcher at the start. ” “He’s a real hustler,” Dickey told the press. ” Charlie Silvera, Yogi’s backup, remembers that Elston was a “grabber”; Dickey made him a catcher. “You want the ball to come to you,” Dickey told Elston.
There were six catchers at Miller Huggins Field, but none had his versatility. The Yankees were in need of a strong right-handed hitter and Elston, with his enormous hands and huge, powerful wrists, could catch, play left or right ﬁeld, pinch-hit, and play ﬁrst base. And he worked hard in practice. He would always be ﬁrst up for batting practice so that he could spend the rest of the day working on his catching or shagging ﬂy balls in the outﬁeld. ” Casey told the press that Elston would platoon with Irv Noren in left ﬁeld and be the Yankees’ number-one right-handed pinch-hitter.
It didn’t help that they were managed by Casey Stengel. The crusty old Yankee manager made no secret of his dislike for Robinson, who often was the subject of catcalls and benchjockeying from the Yankee bench during World Series games. Stengel’s animosity toward the Dodger star probably was more a case of professional jealousy than absolute bigotry. Stengel had no player who could match Robinson’s supreme baserunning talent. Robinson would take great delight in running wild against Casey’s Yankees.