Elston and Me: The Story of the First Black Yankee (Sports by Arlene Howard, Ralph Wimbish

By Arlene Howard, Ralph Wimbish

Of the entire nice ballplayers to put on Yankee pinstripes, Elston Howard used to be 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 family members. And nobody enjoyed being a Yankee greater than Elston Howard. In Elston and Me, Howard's widow, Arlene, and coauthor Ralph Wimbish remember 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 means 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barrier held Howard again from the most important leagues until eventually 1955 whilst he used to be twenty-six years outdated. via 1961, the 12 months he batted .348 for the Yankees, Elston had develop into the typical catcher. Voted the yank League's most respected participant in 1963, Howard was once a three-time Gold Glove winner, and his fielding ordinary of an analogous yr continues to be one of many maximum between catchers in major-league background. In 1967, with the yank dynasty in decay, Elston used to be traded to the Boston purple Sox, even supposing Yankee administration had promised him that he may end his occupation in pinstripes. After considering retirement, he moved to Boston overdue that season and helped the crimson Sox win the "Impossible Dream" pennant. After yet one more season with the pink Sox, he back to the Yankees because the first black trainer within the American League. Howard died on the age of fifty-one with out pleasurable his dream of changing into baseball's first black supervisor. starting with Howard's early years as a St. Louis teen, the ebook relates his encounters with racism and his love of baseball. He begun his specialist profession for the mythical Negro League staff the Kansas urban Monarchs. His 3 many years with the hot York Yankees comprise a variety of anecdotes approximately fellow Yankee legends equivalent to Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra. With numerous own moments and never-before- released images and clippings from relations albums, Elston and Me is the touching tale of 1 of baseball's nice gamers.

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Burnes, a sportswriter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, saw Elston that day at the tryout. , son of the St. Louis Browns hall of famer, who also was impressed by Elston’s talent. “I’ve been watching the best young prospect I’ve looked at in a year,” Sisler told Joe Monahan, the head of the Cardinals’ farm system. “A big, good-looking kid, just out of Vashon High School. He lives in St. Louis. ” Elston would have signed with the Cardinals, but he never heard back Emmaline’s Son 17 from them. They were not ready to sign any black players.

Everybody could see he was a good ballplayer,” said Whitey Ford, the all-star pitcher. “Elston had quite a presence,” said Moose Skowron, a first baseman and teammate of Elston’s in 1953 at Kansas City. “As big as he was, nobody was going to mess with him. He kept his mouth shut and did his job. ” “We had heard a lot of good things about this big kid who could hit,” recalls Yogi. “We had a lot of catchers back then. ” Despite instant acceptance among his teammates, Elston could not stay at the team hotel.

Right away I could see he was shy and very polite; I liked that. There was something serious about him; he was very conservative and well mannered. I liked that, too. He was such a gentleman, very tall, very handsome. He and Wendell offered to escort us home, and we accepted the offer. Elston had a car; that was impressive, even though it turned out that it belonged to Elston’s godfather, Reverend Baker. I sat in the back seat while Loyette sat up front with Elston. The next day, Elston called me, not Loyette, on the phone and asked me out.

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