Baltimore Orioles centerfield Adam Jones is in good company when it comes to players hearing racial taunts in Boston's fabled Fenway Park.
That includes Jackie Robinson, the Dodger great and first black in major league baseball, who tried out for the Red Sox on April 16, 1945.
The new book 42 Faith from Fox's Ed Henry includes a story about the sham try out, part of the team's effort to shrug off pressure to add black players.
According to the book, a city councilman was threatening to ban baseball on Sundays until at least one African American player from the Negro Leagues was given a tryout.
Henry wrote that Robinson was one of three invited to try out and make a big impression, smashing long balls off the "Green Monster" in left field.
From the book:
"What a ballplayer!" declared the team's top scout, Hugh Duffy. "Too bad he's the wrong color."
And truth be told, Robinson and his fellow players were talented. But they may have been playing especially well because the Red Sox had called in high school pitchers to throw balls to them — a clear sign of disrespect. And a Boston sportswriter who witnessed the tryout recounted that one Red Sox executive — either owner Tom Yawkey or general manager Eddie Collins — blurted a racial epithet.
"Get those niggers off the field!" the sportswriter heard one of them say.
Jones heard the same on Monday night and said it wasn't the first time, prompting him to speak out for the first time.
"It was something that was on my mind. It was frustrating for me. I'm a grown man with a family to raise, so I'm not just going to let nobody just sit there and berate me. I'm a grown man. Where I come from, you say things like that, you put the gloves on and you go after it. Obviously in the real world, you can't do that, especially in my field; so just hopefully, the awareness comes, the people around in the stands will hold other fans accountable," he said.
The team apologized and Jones received a standing ovation in Tuesday night's game.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org