But I walked out of the theater bothered by the unnecessary blending of fact and fiction. I fear that most of the ART patrons now believe that Mays tried out for the Red Sox at Fenway in 1948 and was sent packing by a racist general manager named Joe Cronin.
It never happened. Robinson and two other black players did try out at Fenway in 1945. It was a sham. That episode is mentioned in “Johnny Baseball,’’ but the scene we see has Mays at Fenway in 1948, and a posse of Yawkey’s drunken “baseball men’’ turning him away.
Mays, one of the greatest ballplayers who ever lived, was scouted by the Red Sox when he played for the Birmingham Black Barons in 1949. The Sox passed, and ultimately the New York Giants signed him. Cronin did not sign Mays, but he never saw him try out at Fenway. Cronin passed away in 1984 and can’t defend himself, and family members who still live in New England are saddled with this unflattering portrait.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Sports Writer Takes On Dramatic License
Dan Shaughnessy takes a look at the A.R.T's Johnny Baseball.