Pee Wee Reese
|Pee Wee Reese|
3B, 115 games
|MLB Seasons||16 |
U.S. Navy during WWII (1943-1945)
|Debut||23 April 1940|
|Final Game||26 Sept. 1958|
(Released 9 April 1959)
|Total Games||2,166 batting|
|NL Pennants||1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956|
|World Series Teams||1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956|
|Allstar Teams||1942, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954|
|Awards||Hall of Fame (1984)|
|Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (1956)|
|"The Little Colonel"|
(as well as "Pee Wee")
Harold Henry "Pee Wee" Reese (July 23, 1918 - August 15, 1999) was an American professional baseball player who played for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1940 to 1958. He was a ten-time All Star who contributed to seven league championships for Brooklyn.
His most prestigious contribution to the sport was early support of the first black Major League Baseball player, Jackie Robinson. He refused to sign a petition that threatened a boycott if Robinson joined the team. When Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947 and traveled with them during their first road trip, he was heckled by fans in Cincinnati, Ohio. Reese, the captain of the team, went over to Robinson and put his arm around his shoulder in a gesture of support which silenced the crowd. The gesture was especially telling because Reese was born and raised in then-segregated Louisville, Kentucky.
Template:MLB HoF Throughout that difficult first year in the major leagues, Reese helped keep Robinson's morale up amid all the abuse. Their rapport soon led shortstop Reese and second baseman Robinson to become one of the most effective defensive pairs in the sport's history.
At Reese's funeral, Joe Black, another Major League Baseball black pioneer, said:
- "Pee Wee helped make my boyhood dream come true to play in the Majors, the World Series. When Pee Wee reached out to Jackie, all of us in the Negro League smiled and said it was the first time that a White guy had accepted us. When I finally got up to Brooklyn, I went to Pee Wee and said, 'Black people love you. When you touched Jackie, you touched all of us.' With Pee Wee, it was No. 1 on his uniform and No. 1 in our hearts."
In 1984, Pee Wee Reese was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His commemorative plaque there summarizes his contributions as follows:
|SHORTSTOP AND CAPTAIN OF GREAT DODGER TEAMS OF 1940'S AND 50'S. INTANGIBLE QUALITIES OF SUBTLE LEADERSHIP ON AND OFF FIELD. COMPETITIVE FIRE AND PROFESSIONAL PRIDE COMPLEMENTED DEPENDABLE GLOVE, RELIABLE BASE-RUNNING AND CLUTCH-HITTING AS SIGNIFICANT FACTORS IN 7 DODGER PENNANTS. INSTRUMENTAL IN EASING ACCEPTANCE OF JACKIE ROBINSON AS BASEBALL'S FIRST BLACK PERFORMER.|
Following his retirement as a player, Reese enjoyed considerable success as a play-by-play announcer on network television. He called games for CBS from 1960-1965 (with Dizzy Dean) and for NBC from 1966-1968 (with Curt Gowdy). Reese also broadcast several World Series for NBC radio.