After the Dodgers got eliminated by the Cardinals, I was feeling very down. I had driven to work because I was planning attending the Baseball Reliquary event at the Burbank Library “Dock Ellis and the Swinging 70’s.” I drove feeling depressed and not sure if I wanted to be around people but I drove there getting there just before the event started.
From left to right, Baseball Reliquary Executive director, Terry Cannon with the panel of speakers of Jeffrey Radice, co-producer and director of “No No: A Dockumentary”; historian and journalist Dan Epstein; and former big leaguer Jim “Mudcat” Grant.
I am so glad I went! I could have listen to these speakers for hours, especially Jim Mudcat Grant Mr. Grant has a bank of stories to tell and he tells them with such charm. I was glad to go out to dinner afterwards because I ended up hearing more stories from Mr. Grant. He was telling me about his brother Julian playing in Monterey, Mexico and how everyone used to call him “Julio.” One time they got into a taxi, he was sitting in the front and his brother in the back. The taxi driver asked him “Are you Julio?” He said no, and pointed to his brother and the back. The taxi driver was driving with the windows open yelling to people “Hey, this is Julio!”
Mudcat told me about an exhibition games in the south, They had landed in New Orleans, where blacks were not permitted in the airport lobby or to wait for cabs alongside whites. They had to wait on a grassy hill to wait until a black cab would arrive. The luggage would invariably be brought to the white hotel. The black players would get to the homes where they could stay. They would draw straws on who would go to the white hotel to retrive their luggage. In once such incident, the Indians were playing the Boston Red Sox in New Orleans and Mudcat’s straw had come out short. When Grant went to retrieve the luggage, he was stopped by a hotel baggage handler who refused to allow him into the hotel. He told him that blacks had no business entering. While discussing the situation with him, Grant saw Ted Williams entering the lobby. Williams walked over to Grant and asked what was happening.
“Well, you know we cannot stay at this hotel,” said Grant.
“I know. It’s a terrible shame,” said Williams. ”This man will not let me come in to get my bags that were sent here,” said Mudcat.
Williams replied, “He’s right. You shouldn’t be going in to get those bags. He should get them and bring them out to you!”
Another of his stories was when he was in Cuba. He was in a car with Tommy Lasorda and another black players. The police stopped him and Tommy told them “Let me do the talking.” Well, Mudcat said that they ended up in jail! They jumped on Tommy in jail and asked him “What did you tell them??”
Here are pictures from the event:
Mudcat signed my baseball. Loved the hat he was wearing!
Part of the Baseball Reliquary exhibition at the Burbank Library
part of the pictures Mudcat was showing us. In the picture Mudcat, Larry Doby and Satchel Paige.