“…But it’s also true that some of the policies, of this Committee have become political issues. And so, naturally, I’ve had a great many messages come to me by wire, phone and letter, urging me not to show up at this hearing.”
“When the House Committee on Un-American Activities invited me to appear here today and express myself on the subject of your present interest, I answered that I would be glad to do so, although it isn’t exactly pleasant to get involved in a political dispute when my field of earning a living is as far removed from politics as anybody can possibly imagine.
I am sure you know that I am a professional ball player. Baseball has been called the great American sport because all Americans get their kicks out of the game some way or other, no matter what their political or social connections may be. So it’s customary, and I suppose pretty sensible, for ball players to keep out of partisan politics or any other kind of arguments and contests that may split their supporting public.
Of course it will be said, and it’s certainly true, that the question of Communist activity in the United States isn’t partisan politics. But it’s also true that some of the policies, of this Committee have become political issues. And so, naturally, I’ve had a great many messages come to me by wire, phone and letter, urging me not to show up at this hearing. And I ought to make it plain that not all of this urging came from Communist sympathizers. Of course, most of it did. But some came from people for whom I have a lot of respect and who are just as opposed to Communist methods as I am.
And so it isn’t very pleasant for me to find myself in the middle of a public argument that has nothing to do with the standing of the Dodgers in the pennant race– or even the pay raise I am going to ask Mr. Branch Rickey for next year;
So you’ll naturally ask, why did I stick my neck out by agreeing to be present, and why did I stand by my agreement in spite of advice to the contrary. It isn’t easy to find the answer, but I guess it boils down to a sense of responsibility. I don’t pretend to be any expert on Communism or any other kind of political ‘ism.’ Going to college at UCLA, helping to fight a war, with about ten million other fellows, trying to break into professional baseball and then trying to make good with the Dodgers, and trying to save some money for the time when my legs lose their spring– all this, together with my family life, has been enough to keep me busy without becoming an ‘expert’– except on base-stealing or something like that…”
Listen to an audio clip HERE.