for trying to make the world a little bit better.
From a Roger Kahn article in the New York Times:
"On May 13, 1947, during Brooklyn Dodger infield practice at Crosley Field, Cincinnati, Pee Wee Reese, the Dodger shortstop and captain, suddenly stopped the practice. He walked diagonally across the infield and placed his left arm around the shoulder of Jackie Robinson, who was playing first base.
He looked into the Cincinnati dugout and the grandstands beyond. Ballplayers and fans had been taunting Robinson with terms like “shoeshine boy” and “snowflake.” Reese, a slim white Southerner who wore No. 1, kept an arm draped in friendship around the sturdy black man who wore No. 42.
Reese did not say a word. But his look shamed the racists into silence. “After Pee Wee came over like that,” Robinson told me years later, “I never felt alone on a baseball field again.”
Some journalists now say that this episode may not have happened this way. They cite no reporting in the mainstream press, which at the time did not know how to cover baseball integration.
Robinson confirmed the episode in a 1970 interview with Jack Buck of St. Louis. While I was working as a consultant to a five-part ESPN series on the old Brooklyn Dodgers (produced by Reese’s son, Mark), Pee Wee confirmed the incident in growing detail as conversation nourished his memory.
I was touched and said so. Pee Wee nodded, embarrassed by praise. “I was just trying to make the world a little bit better,” he said. “That’s what you’re supposed to do with your life, isn’t it?”