Recently we lost Ted Williams, probably the greatest pure hitter of all time. During his playing days he bore the brunt of abuse from the press for his disdain for them and his obvious self-confidence.

What most people didn’t know was the fact that he had urged the owner of the Boston Red Sox, and others, to end Jim Crow in baseball. In the service he had played with African Americans and admired their abilities, could see no reason for their absence, and felt that we were all being deprived of the benefits of their contributions to the game.

When he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, he showed enormous courage in his speech, telling all that the Hall should induct Satchell Paige, Josh Gibson and other greats of the Negro Leagues who were absent only because they had been denied the opportunities they should have had.

After his death, the media finally gave Williams his due and extolled him as a great American hero because he had lost five of his best years to service in World War II and the Korean War. Other people think he was a great American hero mainly because of his decency as a human being in providing encouragement and help to other ballplayers and his courage in standing up for racial justice. Ted Williams has a special place in the hearts of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Tony Gwinn.

Later this summer we may have a baseball strike, the second since 1994. The owners have been poor-mouthing it for awhile. Of course, they cook their books like most of the corporations these days. All this in an attempt to conceal profits, while insisting they can’t pay labor a fair share of the proceeds.

Baseball depends on the players. Owners benefit from ball parks that were built with large amounts of public dollars, in many instances. Revenues from television, advertising, and products enhance their coffers.

Many people lose sympathy because of the high salaries of players – millionaires, while losing sight of the owner billionaires. Does anyone want to watch a game played by the owners? For those who love baseball, let’s hope public pressure makes the owners come to their senses.

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