Henry Louis “Lou” Gehrig made his major league debut with the New York Yankees 90 years ago on June 15, 1923.
Letter of Consent for Lou Gehrig. U.S. District Court. Hillerich & Bradsby Company versus The Hanna Manufacturing Company, Inc., 06/28/1929 - 04/24/1934
This item is a letter of consent signed by Gehrig and filed as part of an equity suit claiming trademark infringement and the violation of the plaintiff’s exclusive right to use certain baseball players’ names on their baseball bats.
INDIANAPOLIS 500, 1946, ca. 05/30/1946
From the Motion Picture Films file of the Ford Motor Company Collection, ca. 1903 - ca. 1954
Dormant from 1942-1945, May 30, 1946 saw the first running of the Indy 500 following World War II at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Canadian driver George Robson finishing in first place.
(You can just make out the pace car, a Lincoln Continental, driven by Henry Ford II.)
"I respectfully remind you sir, that we have been the most patient of all people."
-Letter from Jackie Robinson to President Eisenhower of May 13, 1958
After he retired from Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson went on to champion the cause of civil rights from his position as a prominent executive of the Chock Full o’Nuts Corporation.
Robinson had grown increasingly impatient with what he regarded as President Eisenhower’s failure to act decisively in combating racism. In this letter dated May 13, 1958, he expresses his frustration and calls upon the President to finally guarantee Federal support of black civil rights.
Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. This decision would not only integrate baseball, but would help the country work to achieve equal rights for all. Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., once commented to baseball pitcher Don Newcombe, “Don, you and Jackie will never know how easy you made my job, through what you went through on the baseball field.”
Before becoming famous, Lt. Jack R. Robinson was court-martialed at Camp Hood, Texas, because he refused to move to the back of the bus after being told to do so by a bus driver and disobeying an order from a superior officer. Robinson was acquitted of all charges and received an honorable discharge, but this was not the only experience he would have in fighting discrimination.
After retiring from baseball, Robinson turned much of his attention to civil rights issues. He wrote to several Presidents about the cause, and even attended the March on Washington.
Many of these milestone events from Robinson’s life are documented in primary sources from the National Archives.
While we’re still reeling from the National’s Opening Day victory, we wanted to share this awesome new (free!) eBook from the National Archives.
“Baseball: The National Pastime in the National Archives” tells the story of baseball in America through documents, photographs, audio, video, and other records preserved at the National Archives. Chapter 9 “Saving the Integrity of the Game” features records from congressional hearings during the steroid era.
The book can be downloaded for free on your iPhone, Android, iPad, and eReaders, so check it out!
Get ready for Major League Baseball’s 2013 Opening Day with a new, free eBook from the National Archives!
“Baseball: The National Pastime in the National Archives” tells the story of baseball in America through documents, photographs, audio, video, and other records preserved at the National Archives.
The book can be downloaded for free on your iPhone, Android, iPad, and eReaders.
Learn about the two world wars, contract disputes, civil rights, equal access and opportunity on and off the playing field, the steroids era, Presidential involvement, improvements to the sport, Little League, Opening Day, and more.
(Today’s Document may be quiet the rest of the afternoon as we’re off to see the Nationals take on that expansion team from the Bronx. Go Nats!)
Superbowl Sunday Presidential Trivia
Did you know that Gerald R. Ford received offers from two professional football teams, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers?
He chose instead to take a position as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale hoping to attend law school there.
In his youth, Jerry earned “All-City” and “All-State” honors at South High School in Grand Rapids before joining the team at the University of Michigan as a center.
Ford won the Meyer Morton Trophy, awarded to the outstanding freshman player in spring practice, in his first year as a Wolverine. He made the varsity squad the next year and in 1934 he got the starting position.
Although he had high hopes for his senior year since the team won the national championship in both 1932 and 1933, injuries hit the offense and the defense struggled. “We lost seven of our eight ball games,” Ford later reflected on his final season at Michigan. “But what really hurt was that my teammates, after the end of the season, voted me the most valuable player. I didn’t know whether to smile or sue.”
(ARC Identifier 186975)
-from the Ford Library
Suit up with this vintage football gear, just in time for Superbowl Sunday!
Babe Ruth and George Bush
On January 29, 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame elected its first members. Among the five men was Babe Ruth, seen in this photograph taken in 1948, donating the manuscript of his autobiography to Yale.
The young man in uniform is the captain of the Yale baseball team and a future President. George H. W. Bush was an older college student—he had delayed going to college and joined the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Ready to Hit the Slopes?
Approaching top of hill by ski tow. 1940-1941.
Taken in the vicinity of the Huron-Manistee National Forests (Michigan). From the Historic Photographs file of the Forest Service’s Eastern Region
The first rope tow ski lift in the United States began operation on January 28, 1934 outside Woodstock, Vermont.