Saturday, January 06, 2007

George "Shotgun" Shuba

1946: George Shuba congratulates Jackie Robinson after Robinson's first home run for the Dodger organization.

Having just watched all 23 hours of Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns (and getting all teary-eyed several times), I'm in a historic frame of mind.

Fortunately, our friends at Blue Heaven and The Trolley Dodger are students of the game.

Blue Heaven links to this article from the Tribune Chronicle (Ohio) about George Shuba, a Brooklyn Dodger outfielder from 1948 to 1955:

Playing for the Montreal team in the Dodgers' organization, a very young George Shuba — he was 21 at the time — was waiting to bat and did what came naturally when his teammate, Jackie Robinson, crossed home plate after hitting his first home run.

"He called me later and thanked me," Shuba said. "And I said, what for?"

The moment is described as the first interracial handshake in professional baseball.

Robinson had been afraid, Shuba said, that none of his teammates would shake his hand after he'd broken baseball's color barrier. For Shuba, it was only natural — he saw no difference between himself and Robinson, having played with African American athletes at Chaney High School, where he graduated in 1942.

"I said, 'Are you on our team? Are you on our side? OK then.' "

Robinson went on to make history. Shuba went on to hit a home run in the 1953 World Series — the first Series home run by a pitch hitter in history, he says.

And let's not fail to recognize one of the coolest baseball nicknames ever. Here's to George "Shotgun" Shuba.


Alex Cora said...

23 hours straight? I'd like to see that indentation on the couch.

Orel said...

It is a heroic indentation.

Anonymous said...

It's late and I don't want to research it, but didn't Yogi Berra hit the first World Series pinch-hit home run in 1947?

Orel said...

That is correct.

Anonymous said...

Shotgun was the first National Leaguer to hit a homerun in the World Series

Anonymous said...

Orel, thanks for posting. Shotgun is my uncle and a good man. These days when we concentrate on the bad, this handshake shows the good