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Pee Wee Reese of the Brooklyn Dodgers 1949 Bowman Reprint Baseball Card

Pee Wee Reese (July 23, 1918 - August 14, 1999) was an American professional baseball player who played for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1940 to 1958. Reese was a ten-time All Star shortstop who contributed to seven league championships for Brooklyn.

Reese's nickname came from his childhood, but it wasn't about his height: he was a champion marbles player (a little "pee wee" is a small marble). Reese was born and raised then-racially-segregated Louisville, Kentucky.

Reese was a strong supporter of the first 20th Century black Major League Baseball player, Jackie Robinson. He was serving a stint in the Navy when the news of Robinson's signing came. Although he had little or no experience interacting with minorities, he had no particular prejudices, either. It is reported that his father had made him starkly aware of racial injustice by showing him a tree where a lynching had occurred.The modest Reese, who typically downplayed his pioneering role in helping to ease the breaking of the 80-year-old color line, said that his primary concern was of losing his shortstop job.Robinson was assigned to the right side of the infield, and Reese retained his position.

Pee Wee Reese 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. During pre-game infield practice, Reese, the captain of the team, went over to Robinson, engaged him in conversation, and put his arm around his shoulder in a gesture of support which silenced the crowd. This gesture is depicted in a bronze sculpture of Reese and Robinson, created by sculptor William Behrends, that was placed at Key Span Park in Brooklyn, New York, and unveiled on November 1, 2005.

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 Reese 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". 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 forNBC radio.

In 1984, Reese was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In front of the main entrance into Louisville Slugger Field, stands a statue of Pee Wee Reese.

Pee Wee Reese Bowman 1949 Reprint Baseball Card

Pee Wee Reese Bowman 1949 Reprint Baseball Card

"If I had my career to play over, one thing I'd do differently is swing more. Those 1,200 walks I got, nobody remembers them"--Pee Wee Reese

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