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The Rime of the Ancient Dodger

Destination Freedom

The Rime of the Ancient Dodger

Nov 21 1948





CAST:

ANNOUNCER

NARRATOR, educated

SAMMY, the Ancient Dodger; a very Brooklyn accent

BABE, your typical young lady from Brooklyn

UMPIRE, on the field and in the cosmos

SOPRANO, a Dodgers fan

ALTO, a Dodgers fan

TENOR, a Dodgers fan

BASS, a Dodgers fan

LOUDSPEAKER, at Ebbets Field

TAYLOR, Dodgers scout

CLYDE, Southern accent

JACKIE ROBINSON, a baseball player

BRANCH RICKEY, Dodgers president 

BULL, a Southerner on a soapbox

THE LAW, a policeman

CATCHER, of the Dodgers

PITCHER, of the Dodgers

GUARD, at a Jacksonville ballpark

MISS HILL, Rickey's secretary

BROOKLYN

BRONX

HANK GREENBERG, the Hebrew Hammer

LEADER, of strike

FIELDER

CHIEF, league president

and BASEBALL FANS, TEAMS of PLAYERS, TOWNSMEN, SUBWAY PASSENGERS







ANNOUNCER: Destination Freedom!


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN BEHIND--


ANNOUNCER: Destination Freedom, dramatizations of the great democratic heritage of the Negro people, brought to you by station WMAQ as a part of the pageant of history and of America's own Destination Freedom!


MUSIC: THEME ... UP AND OUT


ANNOUNCER: This week we tell the story of Jackie Robinson, famous star player of the Brooklyn Dodgers, in a chapter entitled "The Rime of the Ancient Dodger."


SOUND: TRAFFIC NOISE ... DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN ... THEN IN BG


NARRATOR: (DISTINCTIVE, SCHOLARLY)

Through the neon jungles of Brooklyn, New York,

Walks Sammy the Whammy, an Ancient Dodger, 

A man Brooklyn's barbers believe is dead.

But of his glittering eye baseball fans live in dread.

He stalks the streets like a graveyard ghost, 

Hands outstretched like he's looking for a quarter, 

Inspecting the citizens from maids to the mayor 

Till he spies a dame who's missed a game. 

And with his hairy mitt he grabs her collar,

Then this earth-shattering question

He starts to holler--


SAMMY: (NOT TOO ANCIENT, BUT WITH A SHARP BROOKLYN ATTITUDE) Say, babe, didja see them Bums play today? Didja?


BABE: (ALSO BROOKLYN; IN A HURRY) No, I ain't seen no game, papa. Uncollar me or I'll cuff ya.


SAMMY: (COOL) You mean you missed the Dodgers' game today?


BABE: Didn't I say so?


SAMMY: Didja mudder die?

Didja have a stroke?

Or wuz you just flat broke?


BABE: Neither. I wuz gettin' married to Timothy Rodgers.


SAMMY: You mean you've gone an' divorced the Dodgers?


BABE: So what? Who in the devil are you to bother?


SAMMY: (HATES TO TELL HER) Babe, I'm Sammy the Whammy.


BABE: (UNIMPRESSED) Well, scrammy, Sammy!


SAMMY: (A WARNING) Babe, I'm from the Un-Brooklyn Activities Committee. 

Fer bein' so disloyal,

I could have you boiled in oil! (PRONOUNCED "berld in erl")


BABE: (SCARED) Oh, if - if I hadda known, I'da been there. 

Uncollar me, please! Gimme air!


SOUND: TRAFFIC NOISE CUTS OUT SHARPLY AT "MADE TRAFFIC STOP" BELOW--


NARRATOR: (LOW, COOL) The Ancient Dodger dropped his hand

But pinned on her his whammy eye 

Whose power made her pulses slow,

Made traffic stop, made night turn day

And the Babe had to hear what Sammy had to say.


SAMMY: (INCREDULOUS) You mean, woman, you didn't hear what the Dodgers did today?


BABE: (SCARED TO DEATH) I - I ain't heard nothin'. 

But - but I won't miss a game no more. 

Why did you pick out poor me?


SAMMY: (MOURNFUL) I pass my days from game to game.

I got a strange power of speech.

Whenever a square's face I see,

I know that's the square that's booked to hear me. 

Now, Babe, be still and my tale I'll teach ya -- free --

Without a pence, without a single fee.


BABE: (NERVOUS, QUIET) Go ahead, old man, or the suspense'll kill me!


SAMMY: (LOW) With mine own eyes, woman, I seen 'em do it.


BABE: Oh?


SAMMY: (PROFOUND, POINTED) Them Dodgers, they outlawed the second strike!


BABE: (QUIET) No!


SAMMY: Them Bums, they done it! 

An' where wuz you?


BABE: You mean they've cut out "strike two"?


SAMMY: Like the liver outta a pig -- they ripped out strike two. 

When other teams balked, the Dodgers risked it!


BABE: Good gosh A'mighty, and to think I missed it!


SAMMY: Just be still, Babe, an' I'll put you wise.

I'll tell you what I seen with my whammy eyes. 

Are those your knees I hear knockin'?


NARRATOR: The Brooklyn babe shook at hip

Like Leo Durocher's upper lip

When he beefs back at Umps and hacks.

But shake or quake she couldn't escape 

The single and the one-half whammy

That came from the eyes of Brooklyn Sammy.


SAMMY: (WITH INCREASING ENTHUSIASM) Hold still, Babe, here it goes!

I wuz at Ebbets Field at my post in the bleachers,

Investigatin' for un-Brooklyn activities.

I'm sittin' in the crowd, unseen, invisible,

Watchin' the fans root for the boys like only Dodger fans can do. 

And what a show!


SOUND: BASEBALL PARK BACKGROUND (FANS MURMUR, VENDORS HAWK PRODUCT, ET CETERA) FADES IN DURING ABOVE ... CONTINUES IN BG


BABE: I know. I know. Well do I know!


SAMMY: It wuz a sight to see when the ump called 'em right.

You could hear 'em about ten miles from the gate 

When a ball wuz called that missed the plate.


SOUND: SOCK! AS BALL HITS GLOVE


UMPIRE: B-a-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l t-w-o-o!


SAMMY: When he wuz right, we give the ump his due.


FANS: (LIKE A COLLEGE YELL) Y-a-a-a-a-a-a-y, ump!

Y-a-a-a-a-a-y, ump! 

Ump! Ump! Ump! Ump! 

Y-a-a-a-a-y, ump!


SOPRANO: (FEMALE, HIGH-PITCHED) That's callin' 'em, ump! 'At's callin' 'em ump, ol' boy!


ALTO: You got eyes like a blessed cat, ump! You got eyes like a blessed cat!


TENOR: That ump's the best man on our team!


BASS: Oh, I loves that ump! I wouldn't harm a hair on that ump's head! I loves that ump!


SAMMY: (WELL PLEASED) Lovely, lovely, lovely. 

But when the ump called it wrong--


SOUND: SOCK! OF BALL IN GLOVE


UMPIRE: St-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-ike three-e-e!


SAMMY: We had another song.


FANS: (LIKE AN AVALANCHE) B-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!


SOPRANO: Highway robbery! How much dey payin' you?


ALTO: That wasn't nowhere near the plate! You louse! You loafer! You thief!


TENOR: If you're blind, git yourself a seein'-eye dog! Kill the ump!


BASS: Where's my pistol?! Will somebody go home an' get my pistol?! Please get my pistol!


SAMMY: (PLEASED) Lovely, lovely, lovely. Pleasant and gentle.

True Brooklyn activities goin' on as usual. 

And then it happened.

It starts when this new Dodger comes to the plate.


LOUDSPEAKER: The next batter for Brooklyn will be first baseman, Jackie Robinson!


SAMMY: There wuz umpires, umpires everywhere 

And the pitcher hadn't thrown a ball.

But when this Robinson ups to the plate,

Some ghostly umpire calls--


SOUND: BALLPARK NOISE OUT WITH--


MUSIC: A GHOSTLY STING


UMPIRE: (GHOSTLY ECHO FILTER) S-t-r-r-r-r-r-i-i-i-k-e t-w-o-o-o! (FADES OUT)


SAMMY: (AWE) Didja hear that? Didja hear 'im?


BABE: (AWE) Yeah. I hoid it.


SAMMY: But you didn't say nuttin'. You wuz quiet, like the bleachers wuz.

Here wuz an' umpire callin' two strikes on a man before he gets to bat.

An' the bleachers wuz quiet like that.

Then my second sense starts operatin'.

I put my whammy in action.


BABE: (NERVOUS) Please don't put it on me!


SAMMY: Be still, Babe. I put it on Jackie Robinson.

I give him the double-reverse-flashback-whammy --

So I could see where this second strike comes from. 

(BUILDING) I tie my nerves an' my muscles together

An' threw my double whammy. Not my triple, mind ya. 

Just my-- (STRAINS WITH EFFORT) --double whammy!


MUSIC: DRUMS AND ORGAN ... THE DOUBLE WHAMMY! THEN ORGAN SMOOTHS OUT INTO A JAUNTY VERSION OF FRED FISHER'S 1922 POP SONG "CHICAGO (THAT TODDLIN' TOWN)" ... FADES OUT BEHIND--


SAMMY: And whadda you know, I'm in some foreign country, 

Chicago -- seein' this guy Jackie Robinson in the year 1943. 

An' some citizens is out practicin' baseball.


BABE: Foreigners sure imitate us Brooklyners, don't they?


SAMMY: (CHUCKLES) Yeah. Well, there I am in 1943, in Comiskey Park.

An' this Jackie Robinson's workin' out with his team, 

The Kansas City Monarchs.

I'm lookin' around and guess who I see standin' near?


BABE: I ain't got the slightest idear.


SAMMY: Two of the scouts from our own beautiful Bums,

Clyde Sukeforth an' Taylor, an' they're watchin' Robinson workin' out.


SOUND: TRAINING FIELD BACKGROUND (BALLPARK CHATTER, BATTED BALLS, ET CETERA)


SAMMY: An' every time Robinson gets near the plate, I hear this ump call--


UMPIRE: (ECHO FILTER) S-t-r-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-k-e t-w-o-o-o-o. (FADES OUT) 


SAMMY: Then I hear the scouts talkin'.


TAYLOR: Sure, Robinson's got two strikes on him before he steps up to the plate. Any colored player who tries to crash the major league's got two strikes on 'im. That don't cut no ice.


CLYDE: (SOUTHERN DRAWL) Yeah, that's what they tell me, Taylor.


TAYLOR: Then make up your mind, Clyde. You been watchin' Robinson a week. You've seen his history, didn't ja? This guy's been football, track, and basketball champ at UCLA--


CLYDE: I read about it.


TAYLOR: You clocked his speed. You saw him steal second right off the field.


CLYDE: I ain't seen him hit a good one yet.


TAYLOR: Keep watchin' 'im. He's up at bat now. Watch 'im. Watch this!


SOUND: BEAT ... THEN, SLIGHTLY OFF, WOODEN BAT SMACKS BALL


TAYLOR: There! It's goin'-- Going over the wall! What'd I tell ya?! An' watch 'im sail over those bases! Look at 'im go! How 'bout it, Clyde? Is he good?


CLYDE: (CONCEDES) He's good all right, Taylor. But will he go for the deal? That's the question.


TAYLOR: Well, you never know until you put it to 'im straight.


CLYDE: (BEAT, DECIDES) Okay. Okay.


TAYLOR: (CALLS) Hey, Robinson! Will ya come over here a minute? (LOW, TO CLYDE) He's the one, Clyde. I'm tellin' you, he--


ROBINSON: (FADE ON) What's all the shouting about?


CLYDE: It's about a proposition we want to put to you. We're scoutin' for the Dodgers.


ROBINSON: Yeah, so I've been told.


CLYDE: An' you look good.


ROBINSON: Thanks.


TAYLOR: And that ain't all.


ROBINSON: Huh?


CLYDE: You see, we know Negro players have been frozen outta the major leagues. We want a man who can crack the ice. Once it's cracked, it'll stay cracked. Besides, the guy who does it'll be on the Brooklyn team.


ROBINSON: I see. Is that the deal?


CLYDE: Part of it. Rickey's the boss. He'll tell you the other part -- if you're interested.


TAYLOR: This is kind of sudden, but--


ROBINSON: (SLOW) No. No, not so sudden. I been thinkin' about it a long time. (QUICKER) Uh, but why'd you guys pick me?


CLYDE: (POINTED) You look like the kind of player who could get a hit -- even if you do start out with two strikes on ya.


UMPIRE: (ECHO FILTER) S-t-r-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-k-e t-w-o-o-o-o!


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SAMMY: That's when my double whammy started showin' me where them two strikes come from. I see the scouts carry Robinson in to see Brooklyn's president, Branch Rickey. Rickey puts his cigar stub in the corner of his mouth, he squints his eyes, an' he examines Robinson like a pawnbroker lookin' over a gold watch. An' he gives him the acid test.


RICKEY: What do you think of Brooklyn, Robinson?


ROBINSON: (POLITELY INDIFFERENT) I got nothin' against it.


RICKEY: What do you think of Jim Crow?


ROBINSON: (PASSIONATE) I'd like to knock the--


RICKEY: (INTERRUPTS) Okay! I know whatcha mean. That's part of the proposition. Maybe you'll make it, maybe you won't. I never seen you play; my scouts say you're okay. But for this we need a cool, quiet sorta fellow -- one who can keep outta trouble an' not let razzin' get him. You know what I mean?


ROBINSON: You mean you want a guy who won't fight back when he's shoved around.


RICKEY: If he knows anything about baseball--


ROBINSON: (INTERRUPTS) I know baseball, mister. It's a hard, aggressive game. But you can't swing hard on your knees. You got to stand up and fight. That's the way I look at it. I'm sorry if I'm not your man.


RICKEY: Hah! Who said you were not the man?


ROBINSON: Well, I thought you wanted--


RICKEY: Maybe I thought that, too. You look different. Maybe you're right. It's going to be a long hard pull. It'll take a fighter to make it. You'll start out on the bottom, on a farm team, Montreal. They train down in Sanford, Florida. Clyde'll take you down. Throw the ball around -- limber up. Meet the townspeople. (LIGHTLY) Shucks, can't tell; they may welcome you with open arms. You can never tell about fans. You can never tell. (CROSSFADES WITH--)


UMPIRE: (ECHO FILTER) S-t-r-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-k-e t-w-o-o-o! (FADES OUT)


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SAMMY: That's what Rickey said. But there the ump wuz, still callin' them strikes even before Jackie got into a uniform. So, I wanted to see how he was makin' out, so I called up my triple whammy.


BABE: Oh, not the triple whammy! Not that!


SAMMY: Yeah, Babe, my triple whammy, so I could kinda look into the past an' see what kinda welcome the townspeople in Sanford wuz givin' him. I screwed my nerves, squinted my eyes, an' threw my-- (STRAINS WITH EFFORT) --triple whammy.


MUSIC: DRUMS AND ORGAN ... THE TRIPLE WHAMMY! (SIMILAR TO THE DOUBLE WHAMMY, ONLY MORE DRASTIC) ... THEN ORGAN SMOOTHS OUT INTO A JAUNTY VERSION OF "DIXIE" ... FADES OUT BEHIND--


BULL: (VERY SOUTHERN, ON SOAPBOX) An' I say, good folks of Sanford, we should welcome this Nigra baseball player in the traditional way! Teach 'im to respect our customs an' laws!


TOWNSMEN: (GROUP CHEERS AND AD LIBS) 

"That's what I say!"

"Ain't it the truth?"

"Yeah, Bull!"

"Tell 'em, Bull, tell 'em."


BULL: It's those carpetbagger organizations -- like Brooklyn -- that sends him down here!


TOWNSMEN: (AD LIBS, "That's what I say," "Tell 'em.")


BULL: It's those communist-front organizations -- like the North!


TOWNSMEN: (AD LIBS, "Tell 'em, tell 'em." "The North, that's who!")


BULL: Then -- are we gonna let 'em soil the lily-white name of our fair city?


TOWNSMEN: (ANSWER IN CHORUS, "No, no!" "I say, no!" ... ET CETERA)


BULL: Then run this Jackie Robinson outta town! Let's per-tect the fair name of baseball from un-American invaders!


TOWNSMEN: (CHEERS)


SAMMY: I could see right off the welcome was goin' to be hot. I looked through the fence at a practice park where Robinson was hittin' the ball about, until the coach, he's calls him over. Coach wuz worried.


SOUND: PRACTICE FIELD BACKGROUND (PLAYERS CHATTER, BATTED BALLS, ET CETERA)


CLYDE: Say, Jackie?


JACKIE: (OFF) Yeah?


CLYDE: (DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO SAY IT) Jackie -- the chief wants you to pack your things. We're movin' to the next town.


ROBINSON: (CLOSER, PUZZLED) The team just got here.


CLYDE: They're stayin'. They'll be along later. How soon can we get packed?


ROBINSON: Half hour, if it's urgent, but--


CLYDE: It's urgent, all right. I'll be waitin' in the car.


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: AUTO ENGINE BACKGROUND FADES IN AT "RIDIN'" BELOW--


SAMMY: An' there wuz Jackie goin' off the field he just got on, gettin' in the car, an' ridin' past the men on the corner. (CHUCKLES) An' it looked like they wuz wavin' at him.


ROBINSON: (CHUCKLES) Say, these guys got to know me already. Now, looka there. They're wavin' at me.


CLYDE: (UNHAPPY) Yeah, they're wavin' at you, all right.


ROBINSON: Let me roll down the window. I'll wave back.


CLYDE: (SHARP) Keep the window up an' sit back in the car!


ROBINSON: (SNAPS BACK) What's wrong with answering a friendly wave?


CLYDE: A friendly wave? That's the town's white supremacy committee! They won't let Negro players stay here overnight, an' they're gettin' their mob together. That's why we're leavin'. We'll try the next town.


UMPIRE: (ECHO FILTER) S-t-r-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-k-e t-w-o-o-o! 


SOUND: AUTO ENGINE OUT FOR--


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SAMMY: Yeah, the ump wuz still callin' 'em wrong, but this Robinson ain't easy to strike out. That ghostly umpire kept callin' "two strikes," but this Robinson usually got ahold of the third one. Like that time in Florida--


SOUND: TERRIFIC SMACK! OF BAT ON BALL ... CROWD REACTS ... THEN CROWD IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


SAMMY: (LIKE AN ENTHUSIASTIC ANNOUNCER) Ho ho! --when he hits that long line drive into center field! It's goin'--! Goin'--! It smacks against the center field wall! Robinson's roundin' first, second, he's crossin' third, he's gonna try to stretch it into a homer! He's comin' into home! Here comes the throw! Robinson slides across the plate! Looks like he's safe! Safe!


SOUND: CROWD ROARS ... THEN IN BG--


SAMMY: (UNSURE) Wait. Hey, wait a minute, wait a minute! Naw. Hey, there's a man out there in a blue uniform -- from another team, I guess. He's pickin' Jackie up outta the dust. Hey, maybe he ain't safe. 'Cause I hear 'em sayin'--


THE LAW: (SOUTHERN, TOUGH) Now get up an' get outta here! You hear me?


TEAM: (DODGERS AD LIB, "Hey, he's safe!" "I saw him," etc.)


THE LAW: Ah, he ain't safe if he don't get outta this park!


ROBINSON: (ANNOYED) Get your hands off me; you're not the umpire.


THE LAW: Naw -- I'm the law! The law says you don't play here.


CLYDE: (APPROACHES) Say, what's the matter, officer? He didn't do nothin' wrong.


THE LAW: You been told before; we tellin' you agin. Negro an' whites playin' on the same field in this state's punishable by law. Now, is he a-gittin', or am I usin' my stick?


CLYDE: (LOW, TO ROBINSON) Robbie, sit over there on the bench while I straighten this out.


THE LAW: Naw, he won't sit there either.


CLYDE: Hey now, what are you talkin' about?


THE LAW: The law says whites an' Negroes can't sit together -- team or no team. (WITH EFFORT, GRABS ROBINSON) Now git outta here!


ROBINSON: You get your hands off of me.


TEAM: (DODGERS MURMUR UNHAPPILY)


CATCHER: Yeah, take your hands off him, ya lug!


PITCHER: He's on the team, an' he stays on the team! Now, let him go!


TEAM: (DODGERS AD LIB, "That's right!" "Come on." "What's the matter with you?" ET CETERA. THEY QUIET DOWN BEHIND--)


CLYDE: (TO TEAM) Hey, hold it! Hold it! Hold it, boys! (BEAT) Go back to yer benches this time. We're movin' to another town. Team stays the same.


CATCHER: How long we gonna stand by lettin' screwball cops push our teammate about?


TEAM: (AD LIB "Yeah, how 'bout that?" ET CETERA.)


CLYDE: (QUIETLY PLEASED) Not very long now. When you guys all get together the way you're doin' now, an' backin' up your teammate, the days of these lugs who prop up these phony laws are numbered. Tell the ump to call the game. We'll move on.


MUSIC: STING


UMPIRE: (ECHO FILTER) S-t-r-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-k-e t-w-o-o-o! 


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SAMMY: That ump wuz still callin' 'em, but still hadn't struck this Robinson yet. Like the time he an' the coach went to the stadium in Jacksonville an' they found a guard jigglin' the keys--


SOUND: GUARD JIGGLES KEYS ... CLYDE PULLS AT HEAVY LOCKED DOOR


CLYDE: Hey, open the door, mister. We'll be late for the game.


GUARD: There ain't gonna be no game, fellows.


CLYDE: Who says so?


GUARD: These keys say so. The mayor's orders. (APPRAISINGLY) Huh, is this that Robinson fella?


ROBINSON: I'm Robinson.


GUARD: Jest wanted to take a look at you. The Bureau of Recreation won't let the game be played because you're on the team. Here, no use lookin' inside.


ROBINSON: Hey, look. Take a look, coach. It's full of people.


CLYDE: (QUIET SATISFACTION) Well, well, well!


GUARD: Yeah, they didn't know we'd call off the game. Hey, what you guys smilin' at?


ROBINSON: (QUIETLY PLEASED) There's an overflow crowd. It means it's the politicians who're against us -- not the people.


GUARD: What's the difference?


CLYDE: This'll make quite a bit a difference, buddy. Quite a bit. (FADES OUT)


SOUND: TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... THEN TRAINING FIELD BACKGROUND ENTERS AT "HIS ARM OUT" BELOW--


SAMMY: And the more they played, the more the difference began to count. People kept pourin' into the parks, an' Robinson was hittin' 'em steady -- playin' the infield like Eddie Collins used ta. He wuz fightin' so hard to fill that gap in the Dodger lineup, he didn't know he was wearin' his arm out. Throwin' an' catchin' an' scoopin' 'em up -- too fast, too much -- until a ball wuz hit his way that dropped from his hand when he tried to throw it.


TEAM: (AD LIB REACTIONS BEHIND FOLLOWING--)


CATCHER: Hey, hey! Whatcha droppin' it for, Jackie? Pick it up! Throw it!


PITCHER: Get rid of the ball! Get rid of the ball!


TEAM: (AD LIB "Come on, Jackie!" "Throw the ball, will you?" ET CETERA.)


SAMMY: But he can't throw it. He can't even lift it up. His arm swings around like its outta socket. They take him off the field, an' the coach looks him over.


SOUND: TRAINING FIELD BACKGROUND OUT


CLYDE: (WORRIED) Hey, let's see that arm.


ROBINSON: (WINCES IN PAIN) Oh.


CLYDE: Oh, pretty bad. Here, we're gettin' near the home stretch, an' they'll be pickin' players for the Dodgers. You gotta make it. Now, take some days off; see if the arm'll heal. Rickey'll be down in a week an' look you over. You got to get yourself back in the lineup before the season's over.


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SAMMY: I remember the birds wuz beginnin' to go north. But this Robinson's arm still hasn't healed. He couldn't throw from shortstop to first. And then Brooklyn's Rickey comes down an' takes him out on the field.


SOUND: TRAINING FIELD BACKGROUND


RICKEY: What position you tryin' out for, Jackie?


ROBINSON: Shortstop. But I can't get the ball over to first base any more.


RICKEY: (SPECULATIVE) If you were on first base, you wouldn't have very far to throw, would you?


ROBINSON: No, but I never played first base.


RICKEY: You're goin' to play it now. Gimme that glove. A million buzzards are waitin' for you to stumble. (MOVES SLIGHTLY OFF) Now -- watch! You play just far enough off the bag to keep both sides covered. (MOVES BACK) But you've got to get that arm workin'. You gotta.


SAMMY: Slowly he gets the arm workin' again an' pulls himself back into the lineup, stretched out for the wild ones off first base till Rickey notices an' says--


RICKEY: (HAPPY) Okay, Jackie! Now you're gettin' set. Now, this farm team's gonna play a few games against the Dodgers. Think you call make it now?


ROBINSON: Feel pretty sure I can make it. One thing.


RICKEY: Yeah?


ROBINSON: Well, I've been watchin' the catchers--


RICKEY: Yeah?


ROBINSON: An' only a few of 'em can whip the ball down to second base faster'n I can steal it.


RICKEY: Here, what are you leadin' up to?


ROBINSON: Well, look. Let me run bases the way I want to. Let me steal all the bases I can.


RICKEY: Well--


ROBINSON: (LIGHTLY) 'Course I'll get caught sometimes.


RICKEY: (JUST AS LIGHTLY) Ty Cobb got caught sometimes, didn't he? Okay. Be smart an' cagey, but don't be reckless. If the record looks good by April--


ROBINSON: (BEAT) Yeah?


RICKEY: (SLOWLY) Well, we'll see.


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SAMMY: An' the season rolled around, an' it came time for the reckonin'. Rickey called his staff in. He got down right to the point. (PRONOUNCED "pernt")


SOUND: TYPEWRITER CLACKS, IN BG--


RICKEY: Clyde? Shotton? Taylor? Okay, how about it?


TAYLOR: You mean Robinson?


RICKEY: Naturally. You guys been watchin'.


CLYDE: Who hasn't?


RICKEY: Okay, it's April. How's Robinson doin'? Let's have it.


CLYDE: Well, suppose we let the record talk, chief?


RICKEY: Let it talk.


TAYLOR: For a man who's had two strikes on him before he gets to the plate, he's doin' all right.


CLYDE: In the International League he's got the record for stolen bases. He's hittin' at .360, an' on runs batted in, he's ahead there, too. 


TAYLOR: An' will you take a look at these attendance records? (BEAT) Well? What do you think it means?


RICKEY: (BEAT) I'm thinkin' it means people are sick and tired of race discrimination in sports. I think it means if a guy's good enough to stop a bullet on a battlefield, he's good enough to stop a line drive in Ebbetts Field. I'm thinkin' we ought to steal a march on the other teams.


CLYDE: What do you mean, chief?


RICKEY: Let's move him up to the Dodgers now. He spark-plugged the minor league, he can spark-plug this one. We've got to win that pennant this year. Okay?


CLYDE: (SLOWLY) Sure, chief. But--


RICKEY: But what?


CLYDE: (BEAT) Some of the major league boys say they'll strike against the Dodgers if Robinson's on the team. Some guys on our own team say they won't stick.


RICKEY: Sayin' it's one thing -- doin' it's another. Sure, might be a strike. But a guy who's beat the odds with two strikes against him won't be scared if another's called. Let 'em strike. It'll test the whole base of our baseball leagues. Brooklyn's ready. (TO MISS HILL) Er, Miss Hill?


SOUND: TYPEWRITER OUT


HILL: (OFF) Yes, Mr. Rickey?


RICKEY: Put through that call to Jackie Robinson. Give him the message.


HILL: Yes, sir.


SOUND: PHONE RECEIVER UP ... ROTARY DIAL


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: PHONE RINGS


ROBINSON: (WAKES, YAWNS)


SOUND: PHONE RECEIVER UP


ROBINSON: (INTO PHONE, STILL SLEEPY) Hello? Robinson speakin'.


HILL: (FILTER) Mr. Rickey says would you like to come down and sign your contract with the Dodgers?


ROBINSON: (THAT WAKES HIM UP) What?! Will you say that again?


HILL: (FILTER, AMUSED) I said, would you like to come down and sign your contract with the Dodgers?


SOUND: TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... FADE IN RUMBLE OF NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY, IN BG


SAMMY: And the news got around, an' it wuz the talk of the town. An' on the subway a brave Brooklynite would look over the shoulder of a brave Bronxite, an' one wuz sure to say--


BROOKLYN: (URGENT) Say, chum, when are youse gonna toin the page? I finished Dick Tracy.


BRONX: (MOCK POLITE) Oh, yes, sir. An' just what page would pleasure you most?


BROOKLYN: Cut the comedy an' get to the sports. I wanna see what the Dodgers done.


BRONX: Ain't you heard?


BROOKLYN: Naw, I been outta touch with t'ings.


BRONX: Well, look here on the front page. See what them Bums gone an' done!


BROOKLYN: A son-of-a-gun! They signed up Jackie Robinson!


BRONX: Eh, them crazy Dodgers!


BROOKLYN: What's crazy about 'em? The Constitution of Brooklyn says every citizen's got the in-alienable right to play baseball!


BRONX: Eh, this Jackie Robinson won't last two days in the majors!


BROOKLYN: Sez you!


BRONX: Sez me! Hey, what--? Don't wave your finger in my face!


BROOKLYN: Then get your finger outta my face! 


BRONX: Ah, shut up!


BROOKLYN: Take back what you said about the Bums!


SOUND: BROOKLYN HITS BRONX IN THE FACE


BRONX: Oooh! Hey! You--! My eye!


BROOKLYN: That'll teach you to talk about the Bums behind their back. Ow! Stop kickin'!


SOUND: AD LIB FURIOUSLY AS THEY SCUFFLE, PLUS VOICES FROM OTHER PASSENGERS ... FADES OUT BEHIND--


SAMMY: (PLEASED) An' the fightin' went all over Flatbush an' the Bronx -- while Robinson kept runnin' the bases an' takin' the razzin' an' the cold shoulder, till in Pittsburgh he run smack into the warm shoulder of first baseman, Hank Greenberg.


SOUND: BALLPARK BACKGROUND FADES IN AT "TILL IN PITTSBURGH" ABOVE AND TWO MEN COLLIDE, WITH GRUNTS ... THEN BOTH MEN CHUCKLE 


SAMMY: An' the two first basemen pick each other up an' the Pirate said to the Dodger--


GREENBERG: (WARMLY) Say, how you doin', Jackie?


ROBINSON: (LIGHTLY) Well, like Lincoln said, "If it wasn't for the honor, I'd just as soon give it up."


GREENBERG: Aw, stick it out. Some of 'em gave me the business when I first made the majors. But I beat the odds. I'm Jewish. Stick it out!


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SAMMY: An' this Robinson, he was stickin' it out when the strike that was supposed to be "strike three" was thrown. One major league team had gotten together before a big game at Ebbets Field. The windup was in the makin'.


TEAM: (FADE IN MURMURING ... GROWS QUIET WITH--)


LEADER: Like I was sayin', we got to stop this thing before they bring in them colored. We're not goin' on that field unless they fire Robinson.


FIELDER: That's right. 


LEADER: What do you guys say, huh?


FIELDER: Well, I'm not standin' for it.


TEAM: (MURMURS AGREEMENT)


LEADER: Baseball's done all right for years without colored in it. I say let's keep it that way.


TEAM: (MURMURS AGREEMENT ... AD LIBS "Why don't we strike?" "That's a good idea.")


SOUND: DOOR OPENS, OFF


FIELDER: (UP, OVER OTHERS) Say, fellas, here comes the chief. Here's the league president.


LEADER: Ah! Come on in, chief. We've been waitin' to hear from you. You got our message?


TEAM: (GROWS SILENT)


CHIEF: (GRIM) I did. Well, fellows, so there's goin' to be a baseball strike against another team's player?


LEADER: You're right. We're not goin' on the same field against Robinson. The team's decided--


CHIEF: (INTERRUPTS) Team decided! And what do you think about the people, the fans out there? What have they decided? (BEAT, TERSE AND HOT) Let me tell you something. If you strike, you'll be strikin' not just against Robinson, but against them. And against them, you can't win.


LEADER: Hey, now listen, we've already decided--!


TEAM: (AD LIBS UNHAPPY REACTION ... GROWS QUIET BEHIND--)


CHIEF: You listen to me, all of you! We call our baseball "World Championship Ball"! The world's made up of more teams than one, more races than one! Baseball can't have pickpockets among its players. What you're about to do is to pick a player's pocket, rob him of a job! You can't win. Every fan in Flatbush is backing Robinson, an' they're right! Brooklyn says there's not gonna be any more guys startin' out with two strikes against 'em. They're outlawin' that second strike! (BEAT, CALMLY) That's all I got to say, except, think this thing over. What you decide to do'll decide the history of baseball. The fans are way ahead of you. Think it over.


SOUND: TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... FADE IN BALLPARK CROWD AT "BLEACHERS" BELOW--


SAMMY: The boys thought it over a long time. An' then, from where I'm sittin' in the bleachers, I see 'em come out on the field an' take their places. An' then Jackie comes to bat again, an' I hear this ump--


UMPIRE: (ECHO FILTER) S-t-r-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-k-e t-w-o-o-o! 


SOUND: BALLPARK CROWD FADES OUT BEHIND--


SAMMY: An' the bleachers is still quiet! I see they haven't been told that strike two's outlawed. So I get ready to throw my quadruple whammy to awaken 'em.


BABE: Good Lord! Not the quadruple! Sammy, not the quadruple!


SAMMY: (SAD, BUT IT'S TRUE) Yeah, Babe, the quadruple whammy had to be thrown. (STRAINS WITH EFFORT) So I screw myself up -- look at the ump, an' threw it!


MUSIC: DRUMS AND ORGAN ... THE QUADRUPLE WHAMMY! FADES OUT BEHIND--


SOUND: BALLPARK CROWD FADES IN ... THEN IN BG


SAMMY: Then I listen to the ump -- an' he's correctin' himself!


UMPIRE: (ECHO FILTER) No-o-o-o s-t-r-i-k-e-s! No-o-o-o b-a-l-l-l-l-s. B-a-a-a-a-atter up!


SAMMY: (PLEASED) An' naturally, since he called it right, Brooklyn gave the ump his due.


FANS: Y-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y ump! Y-a-a-a-a-a-y ump!


SOPRANO: That's callin' 'em, ump! 'At's callin' 'em, ump, ol' boy!


ALTO: You got eyes like a blessed cat, ump! You got eyes like a blessed cat!


TENOR: That ump's the best man on our team! Y-a-a-a-a-a-y ump!


BASS: Oh-h-h, I loves that ump! I wouldn't harm a hair on that ump's head! I loves that ump!


SOUND: BALLPARK CROWD FADES OUT BEHIND--


SAMMY: Lovely, lovely, lovely. 

The Bums had outlawed that second strike! 

So you see, Babe, we may have a tree or two growin' in Brooklyn, 

But we won't have no "big-o-tree," we insist.


BABE: Good gosh Almighty, to think that's what I missed! 

I got a good notion to divorce Timothy Rodgers 

And just be married to the Brooklyn Dodgers.


SAMMY: Now go your way, Babe, an' if anybody asks who 

Is Sammy the Whammy, just tell 'em the same story that I just told to you.


NARRATOR: And the bride went off like one that's been stunned 

And in the neon jungle she felt forlorn,

But a most hep and a wiser Babe

She rose the morrow morn!


MUSIC: TAG


ANNOUNCER: You have just heard Destination Freedom's dramatization "The Rime of the Ancient Dodger," the story of Brooklyn's Jackie Robinson, brought to you by station WMAQ.


Destination Freedom is written by Richard Durham and produced under the direction of Homer Hecht.


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: The role of Jackie Robinson was played by Oscar Brown, Jr., the Ancient Dodger by Studs Terkel, Branch Rickey by Everett Clark, and Clyde Sukeforth by Tony Parish. Others were Janice Kingslow, Ernie Andrews, and Jack Lester. The special music was arranged and composed by Emil Soderstrom and played by Elwyn Owen and Bobby Christian. This is Hugh Downs inviting you to be with us again next week when Destination Freedom will bring you the dramatic story of Walter White, the man who could not deny his heritage.


MUSIC: THEME ... UP AND OUT


ANNOUNCER: This is NBC, the National Broadcasting Company.

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