Dave Kaplan was the founding director of the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center.
It was a chaotic summer of hippies, racial strife, and an intensifying antiwar movement. A young fighter named Muhammad Ali resisted the draft, and a recent graduate named Benjamin Braddock resisted the advice of his elders. Young people all over were taking a stand, believing they could change the world.
Claire Smith remembers feeling different, usually alone, often invisible. Such was life as a young black girl growing in the 1960s in the overwhelmingly white Philadelphia suburbs of Bucks County.
It didn’t get much better in high school or college, as she drifted without a sense of belonging, identity, or purpose. “One of life’s lost souls,” she describes herself then.
Before the age of sabremetrics, which spawned new statistics and the current high-tech Statcast Era of exit velocities, catch probabilities, and launch angles, there was a cultured and scholarly sportswriter who analyzed every aspect of baseball, on and off the field, enriching his readers with his astute and brilliant observations for over six decades.
For the most part, the exquisite portrayal of Jackie Robinson’s pioneering first major league season in the movie “42” captured the moral tone of the late 1940s. The racial intolerance and viciousness shown toward baseball’s barrier-breaking hero were real.
Not so real was Robinson’s Hollywood-sized reaction to his late-season home run against one of his nemeses, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Fritz Ostermueller (who was actually lefty, not righty as portrayed).