NEW YORK -- The discussion of the signing of Jackie Robinson, first Negro to be accepted by organized baseball, simmered down to a "wait-and-see" attitude today. The whole issue promised to become the top event of 1946 spring training.
With few exceptions, baseball men and sports writers both north and south of the Mason-Dizon line agreed that it was eminently fair that a Negro should have a chance to play in organized baseball and to make the major leagues if he is good enough.
Robinson, a 26-year-old shortstop from Pasadena, Calif., who hit .340 in 1945 with the Kansas City Monarchs, a Negro team, will train with the Montreal Royals, the International League farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The training camp is at Daytona Beach, Fla., and the mayor there already has told the Dodgers that Robinson must observe the city's segregation rules. However, Branch Rickey of the Dodgers indicated that proper arrangements will be made in Florida and the main issue was expected to be reaction of fans and other players.
Because the "color line" is virtually unknown in Montreal, no repercussions were expected there, and since International League memberships no farther south than Baltimore, other cities too were expected to show no unusual interest.
Rickey moved to forestall any player resentment, announcing that he would take "adequate steps" if players openly worked against Robinson. Branch Rickey Jr., said at Montreal Tuesday that the Dodgers might lose some players who resent the acquisition of Robinson.
However, it appeared to be up to Robinson's baseball ability.
Most baseball players and writers, including those from the South, said that a Negro had a right to a fair trial. Said Sports Editor Hugo Germinio of the Durham, N.C., Sun: "The Negro and white man are opponents in the ring -- why not on the baseball diamond?"
Frank Spencer of the Winston-Salem Journal said that "I want to see the Negro stand on his own merit."