A four-page document revealing strong opposition to baseball integration in the 1940s is on the auction block this week.
The missive, submitted by New York Yankees president Larry McPhail to a 1940s committee studying baseball’s color line, is being sold by Lelands.com.
McPhail’s report, issued in 1945 as Brooklyn Dodgers’ executive Branch Rickey was planning to sign an African-American player, stated among other things that “there are few, if any, negro players who could qualify for play in the major leagues at this time. A major league player must have something besides natural ability.”
The document was submitted to a committee appointed by New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, includes the original postmarked envelope from the American League. It states that “social minded drum beaters” were conducting “pressure campaigns” and “don’t care about baseball.”
While disparaging Negro League players’ skill, a belief that would quickly be disproved once black players began arriving in earnest in the wake of Jackie Robinson’s arrival, McPhail expresses support for the long-term success of Negro League franchises and a belief that integration would destroy the existing clubs.
McPhail states the Yankees had “no intention” of signing black players.
The New York Daily News published a story on the document Wednesday. Bidding closes Friday night.