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Listen to Pete Seeger talk about baseball stuff

Jan 28, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT

The great Pete Seeger died yesterday. When you get to 94 you’ve pretty much seen it all, and that goes doubly so for a guy who was in and around the stuff Seeger was around.

One of the things he was around a bit? Baseball. Maybe not in an extensive way, but Old Gator sent me links to several YouTube videos in which Seeger, while attending a minor league game in 2012, it appears, talked about the origins of baseball and the integration of baseball. The question he was asked about Jackie Robinson led him to a discussion of Lester Rodney, the old Daily Worker sports reporter who championed baseball integration for years before 1947.

The quality is somewhat poor, but it’s worth getting through all the same.


  1. nyyankeefanforever - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    The Daily Worker covered sports? Hmmm. Reminds me of Yakov Smirnoff’s explanation why there was no baseball in the Soviet Union. “Because no one ever gets out and no one’s ever safe.”

    • jwbiii - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      Russians play lapta, which is more like cricket

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        It seems that, in fact, baseball is catching on in the land of borscht and caviar:

  2. Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Seeger was ackcherly a baseball fan, as he was a fan of just about everything that was heartland American including, gagg on the truth of this or not, labor movement socialism as well as the battle for racial equality. That these ideological issues would converge in baseball as in so many other areas of American life should surprise no one, nor should the fact that Seeger was such a fan, as he was also a great fan of Walt Whitman, our first great poet of the game. It was a natural affinity. Seeger’s spirit was as generous and capacious as the big skies and vast prairies about which he wrote his songs.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:12 PM


      (cue OG on the countrification of a Yankees icon)

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        I’m busy trying to figure out how to further countrify my fried chicken recipe.

        Matter of fack, I don’t especially like country music. I kinda weary of lyrics like “when ya leave me, walk backerds, so’s I think yore comin’ in.”

      • historiophiliac - Jan 28, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Oh, beans and cornbread, mashed pertaterrrrrs,
        All on a platter with chicken fried gaterrrrrr.

    • buddaley - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      I had the good fortune to take my children to a Seeger concert at a local school in Rockland County, NY. I have never been much for establishing role models from entertainment or sports for my children, but as a model of generosity of spirit (as you say) and integrity, I don’t think you can do better than Pete Seeger. And he enthralled them-at the time they were perhaps 8 and 9 years old.

    • osage44 - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:41 PM

      Seeger was a Marxist and a tool. Whoever it is you think you were describing, it wasn’t Pete Seeger. Heartland America, my a**.

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:43 PM

        Yes, and that’s why practically every important popular musician in America showed up for his 90th birthday concert, and why he’s drawing such an avalanche of appreciation now from across just about every spectrum of American life except Faux News gulls and teabagging morons – you shriveled, soulless little nothing.

      • buddaley - Jan 29, 2014 at 7:16 AM

        Pete Seeger testifying before House Un-American Activities Committee:

        MR. SEEGER: I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this Committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, or yours, Mr. Willis, or yours, Mr. Scherer, that I am any less of an American than anybody else. I love my country very deeply, sir.

  3. barrywhererufrom - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:26 PM


    • historiophiliac - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Go back to your napping, barrypest.

      • barrywhererufrom - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        actually I know you love Socialist so I can see why you would call me a pest..ok now back to my nap..

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:54 PM

        Go right ahead, Rip. I clocked the last one at over a week. Considering how little you use your brain, or what little of it has evolved beyond your brainstem, I frankly don’t understand why you need so much rest in the first place.

    • nymets4ever - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      Yeah seriously, this guy’s music was really not that great or special. But don’t tell that to the groupthinking hivemind here.

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        The other day I described you as shallow as a rainwater pond. I’m revising that to puddle.

      • happytwinsfan - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        he did pretty good when he took a 1930’s labor organizing song that went “we will overcome” and improved it to “we shall overcome”.

      • zemongoose - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:47 PM

        …not to mention adapting verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes to create “Turn, Turn, Turn”

  4. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    So…..where would the Daily Worker have come down on Free Agency? You could go back and forth on that all day.

    They probably would have loved Sabermetrics though….which just goes to show you….

    • historiophiliac - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      Why do you think it would oppose it?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        Goes against an even distribution of wealth “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” (see? even Marx was sexist in his terminlogy :) ). Not to mention, how can you increase the minimum (i.e. proletariat) salary with so much going to the guys at the top?

        Seriously – it is a tough call for a Commie

      • historiophiliac - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        Dude, they weren’t absolutists and they certainly didn’t oppose advantages for employees that cut against employers (even if it didn’t benefit every worker).

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        So Mike Trout has to slave away so that Albert Pujols can collect the means of his productivity?

        This why the Revolution failed!

      • historiophiliac - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:04 PM


      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:34 PM

        No, this is why I giggle whenever anyone describes the Player’s Association as a “union.”

  5. barrywhererufrom - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    Actually Obama spoke with glowing terms about Seeger. Takes one to know on that note cue the thumbs down..i know you guys love commies..

    • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      Hey, and don’t forget to thumb yourself up on the way back to your trailer park, Neanderthal savant. Anyone stupid enough to classify a moderate right winger like Obama as a “commie” certainly wouldn’t be able to appreciate great music if he were tied down like Alex in Clockwork Orange and forced to listen to it for weeks on end. Oh and by the way, you do know that Seeger masterminded Benghazi, don’t you?

      • barrywhererufrom - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        Old Gator do you really think I give a rat’s ass about how many thumbs downs I recieve. It’s all about the message. People like yourself thrive on Group Think.. That’s why I was yawning. I am sure people on here don’t even know what Communism and Socialism is about. FInally Old Gatorturd I heard Hillary actually said that Benghanzi was her biggest regret. I think her biggest regret was that Fox News and other Conservative Outlets kept after her and this adminstration’s lies.

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        Thumbs down had nothing to do with my comment – only that your post came on with an almost instantaneous thumbs up, ie, you patting yourself on the back for being an imbecile. Then again, I guess that passes for an accomplishment in your shrinkwrapped universe. “Old gatorturd” ranks in cleverness at around the second grade level. Congratulations on your vivid imagination. You’re right about one thing, though – plenty of people on here probably don’t know what communism and socialism are about, and you’re the iconic example of their ignorance.

        And if there’s anyone more inured to “group think” than a teabagger, they’d have to be Borg.

        Oh, and did you know that Benghazi was planned by Nancy Pelosi herself in close collaboration with Osama Bin Laden through a left-wing gypsy medium? No? Gee, I guess you’re not reading the more moderate right wing web sites anymore.

      • barrywhererufrom - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        I missed you calling Obama a moderate right winger..Old Gator I have to say this could be the dumbest thing you ever posted. I mean you have a track record for moronic statements but this one could be number one on the chart. I don’t even have a comparision to make comparing him to someone further left then him. Gator did you like your time in Moscow?

      • schlom - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:27 PM

        I’m curious on why you call Obama a “moderate right winger.” Also would Stalin be a centrist? Or maybe a moderate left winger? How about Pol Pot? Or Mao? Or is there no such thing as a “left winger?”

      • historiophiliac - Jan 28, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        Oh, there’s such a thing as a “left winger” but if you think the President is that, you’re probably so far right you can’t see me and OG waving at you.

      • osage44 - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        Obama could only be a moderate right-winger from the perspective of a clapped out old Marxist like Seeger-or you.

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      The difference between Barak Obama’s policies and Ronald Reagan’s is that one of them was a white guy. That’s about it. You saying Reagan was a commie? If so, you’re a bigger moron than I gave you credit for.

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:42 PM

        How much credit did you give him? If you gave it to him before january 1, yoiu might be able to claim a tax deduction for it, as if you were supporting a mentally deficient child.

      • schlom - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:50 PM

        The only difference between Reagan and Obama’s policies is that Reagan’s father was white?

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:12 PM

        There ya go.

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        Great. Never seen him catch on so fast.

      • osage44 - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:51 PM

        You’re a clown. You know less about Reagan than you do Obama. Were you even alive in the 80s? If so, you must have been attending preschool in Pyongyang.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:28 AM

        And many, many many more articles just like it. Thanks for playing. When you grow up sonny, you can join us at the adult table.

      • barrywhererufrom - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Equating Obama’s poliitical ideollgy is beyond stupid. If you made this comment to any political pundit they would laugh at you. Let’s see. Reagan believed in limited govt , lower taxes and a large miliitary with strength being displayed throughout the world. Obama believes in socialized medicine, a golithic government, with a limited US foreign policy. You can’t have any more different political figures in our history. It really is a moronic statement but coming from a race baiting jackass like yourself it doesn’t shock me.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 29, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        Such much invective. So little contextual awareness. Your stance, culled directly from a certain right wing website, smacks of such low level, one dimensional thinking, it bare rates a response.

        If Reagan had to deal with what Obama has to deal with, he’d have done about the same. But, whatever. Clearly you need to see the world in a certain simplistic way to get along. Go ahead. Just don’t for one second think other people are as stupid as you.

  6. largebill - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    Communism killed about 10 times as many people as National-Socialism (NAZI), yet somehow when old commies who supported our enemies die they get glowing obits. Leni Riefenstahl who did propaganda for the NAZI did not get a similar white washing of her past despite when she died. The evil of Seeger gets glossed over by fools who say he later said Stalin went too far. As far as Seeger goes people forget he was not just a commie, but also opposed our involvement in WWII until Germany broke their treaty with Russia and attacked them. Germany being at war with us wasn’t enough to bother the POS, but Germany being at war with Russia well that’s just too much. I can only hope that most people celebrating Seeger are doing so out of ignorance and not with an understanding of the type of evil they are applauding.

    • barrywhererufrom - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      amen largebill!!!

    • historiophiliac - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      The committee investigating un-American activities has disbanded. Thank you for laying down your atomic pistol.

    • dcarroll73 - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      It might be possible in some theoretical way to be more stupid and arrogant than you are, but in practice, no. You wrote,”Germany being at war with us wasn’t enough to bother the POS, but Germany being at war with Russia well that’s just too much.” I guess you were absent the day they taught about WWII. The Germans invaded Russia in June 1941 over 5 months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was only after Pearl Harbor that the US and Germany were at war. So your storyline has exactly zero basis in fact (much like most of the attacks on anyone left of center in this country.)

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        Yeah, he’s pretty hopeless when it comes to revisionist historical ignorance. Hilarious, too, when viewed from a point of disinterest.

      • schlom - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        Actually his story does have a basis in fact. After the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in August 1939 Seeger was writing anti-war songs.

        Franklin D, listen to me,
        You ain’t a-gonna send me ‘cross the sea.
        You may say it’s for defense
        That kinda talk ain’t got no sense.

        From Songs for John Doe, released in May 1941.

        However after the German invasion on June 22, 1941 Seeger and his band began to write pro-war songs:

        Now, Mr. President
        You’re commander-in-chief of our armed forces
        The ships and the planes and the tanks and the horses
        I guess you know best just where I can fight …
        So what I want is you to give me a gun
        So we can hurry up and get the job done!

        From Dear Mr. President, released in 1942.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 28, 2014 at 6:46 PM

        Well – in fairness, he said “involvement” in WWII, which started with the Lend Lease program in 1940.

        Not taking sides, just stirring the pot :)

      • osage44 - Jan 28, 2014 at 10:04 PM

        Good grief, when were your brainwashed? The communist party in the west didn’t turn against the Nazis until Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Until then, Stalin was content to join Hitler in tearing Poland apart. For almost three years before that,Hitler was waging a vicious declared war against the West and an undeclared war against the USA. And the idiot communist party in the USA, taking their orders from Moscow, didn’t even squeak. You must have gone to public schools.

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:49 PM

        And you went to what, one of those “special” schools? You do sound like you went to one of those blueblood silver spoon places safely tucked back in the woods – you know, for inbreeds?

        As a matter of fact the communist party in this country came apart at the seams over the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact some years before Germany invaded Russia. But that’s okay – what’s a few years off between armchair historians, eh?

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      Large, actually, Germany attacked the USSR several months before declaring war on the USA, so your scenario is backwards. And before Pearl Harbor was attacked, millions of Americans of all stripes, including conservative Charles Lindbergh, were opposed to the US getting involved in the war. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your tale.
      Oh, Seeger’s evil deeds included entertaining our troops, cleaning up the polluted Hudson River, opposing racial segregation, and other horrors. How could anyone admire such a wretch?

    • wordyduke - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      Uh, Large Bill, you have your historic sequence confused (among other things, no doubt). Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Hitler did not enter into a formal state of war with us until December 11, 1941, following Pearl Harbor. Germany wasn’t “at war” with us before attacking the USSR, but the other way around.

      During that nearly-six-month period, pacifist-minded Pete Seeger wasn’t the reason we didn’t join the war against the Axis. Opposition was led by such right-wingers as Charles Lindbergh. “Amen,” indeed. . . .

    • Joe Vecchio - Jan 29, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      You know, talking about politics with people like largebill and barry is like talking about baseball with someone who absolutely insists that Babe Ruth played shortstop for the Cubs in the fifties, it’s that divorced from reality. It’s just not worth responding to them directly.

  7. barrywhererufrom - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    Gator I know the majority of people on this blog are liberals. It’s all cool they can love baseball too. So of course they aren’t going to agree with me. Like I said who really cares. If you went on a Conservative Blog would you care if people ripped your posts. I think not. Again in your last post you make some interesting comments. Gator I am done with the name calling. Calling you a turd is an insult to turds. So I will call you by your name. Finally in closing if you are for lower taxes and curbing spending you can be called many names. I sctually like that ‘group thinking’ when individuals dont want our nation to become bankrupt. You end up using a nasty word for these people tthat liberals coined. It’s ok I know where it is coming from. Finally Ito make strange accusations and make it them my own is beyond bizarre. Pelosi had nothing to do with the attack. She may have helped with the coverup by not holding the adminstration accountable for their lies that it was a video that caused itt. Just like the Justice Dept officials stated under oath that we knew it was a terrorist attack from an al-qaeda affliated group. You have no problem with this adminstration lying to us. I am sure you said Bush lied about Iraqi intellligence that came from Britian. The same madame Hillary voted for the war under the same intelligence that Bush saw. So now go back to your cave with your pictures of Che Guervera and Castro and other leaders that you admire..

  8. wordyduke - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Pete Seeger was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, won a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1993 (3 additional Grammys later) and, as an “early influence,” was inducted into the R & R Hall of Fame in 1996.

    He worked on behalf of equal opportunity for all and for peace and for environmentalism, that the US and the world might become better for our children. He received many honors from his country and the world. And of course there were the haters who tried, but failed, to keep him from performing.

  9. Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    The most imbecilic thing about you is that you come on here belching right wing platitudes about “group think,” which is of course a witless right wing sound byte the use of which is a classic example of….group think. But let’s not confuse you with the realities when you already have such a rich fantasy world to inhabit.

    Let me give you one example of why I call Obama a center-rightist, even as obvious as it ought to be even to a Faux News gull. Obamacare, which has been absurdly called “socialism” (and has been certified constitutional by a more than center-right supreme court, lovingly crafted by the two corporatist Bush criminals), uses private and publicly-held insurance companies to provide medical insurance coverage rather than establish a single payer tax supported administration to provide it. All the healthcare marketplaces do is match up those seeking insurance with the companies that provide it – and they provide it voluntarily through the marketplaces because they want the customers. This is the design of an administration that kowtows to business, not nearly, remotely, by any stretch of anything except an ideologically constipated right wing mentality what you could call “socialism.” Of course, you’ll call it that anyway because, as you pointed out in a rare display of knowing what you were talking about, many folks – especially you – have no idea what socialism is in the first place.

    • happytwinsfan - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      or it is an administration which kowtows to the politically possible. gotta cut him some slack gator, he could barely get through what he did get through and now it’s all he and his allies can do to keep his enemies from flushing the affordable care, such as it is, down the tubes.

      it took a guy in a wheel chair, a texas politician corrupt from head to toe, and a skinny black guy with big ears to get us to be at least slightly decent towards each other. who knew?

      • happytwinsfan - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        gotta add something else.

        i was watching the final vote on the affordable care act on cspan when my son called. we both asked each other how we were doing, what we were doing, and it came out that i was watching the senate vote. my son then told me something i didn’t know. my grandson and my granddaughter did not have health insurance. even though their daddy was working full time as full time junior application developer, and mom was working full time, ironically as a receptionist at a health care clinic, and grandma was contributing free day care, and grandpa was giving free sql tutorials and periodically filling the gas tank and paying for the groceries when the next paycheck wasn’t going to arrive soon enough, the extra hundreds of dollars a month needed for health insurance was out of reach.

        he may be unimaginative, he may be in some ways arrogant, he may come across like a community college professor (no offense), but i love that skinny black guy with the big ears.

      • osage44 - Jan 28, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        You do understand that the rest of us are living in the real world,don’t you.

    • osage44 - Jan 28, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      A clown you are. A bitter hate-filled leftist clown taking aim trying to tear apart a fantastical strawman. I’ll bet you used to teach high school, did time, and are now an Obamacare navigator.

      • aceshigh11 - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:33 PM


        This charge coming from a right-winger, whose entire movement is predicated on rank, unvarnished hatred of the poor, single women, minorities, immigrants, gays, liberals, etc.

        I’d wear that title as a badge of honor coming from the likes of you.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:36 AM

        Oh please shut up. You’re embarrassing yourself.

  10. pzimmer6677 - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    Dudes, Pete Seeger joined the USA communist party almost EIGHTY years ago in the 30’s when lots of people where joining, and he drifted away from it. IMO, we lost a great American yesterday.

    • osage44 - Jan 28, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      No, he didn’t drift away from it. The other useful idiots died first. Seeger was a craven tool to the end.

      • aceshigh11 - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:35 PM

        He left the American Communist Party in 1949.

        Prove otherwise, or retract your foolish claim.

      • Old Gator - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:54 PM

        So craven that he told McCarthy to go bend himself over, then spent years fighting his contempt charge until it got thrown out of court because your neofascist hero’s committee didn’t bother to navigate by any rules of order. Well played. Yeah, you live in the real world, alright – the one where no one gives a crap about anyone else, except for the ones who do, whom you hate. What a fanged putz you are, like a pygmy rattler that forgot how to shed.

  11. grumpyoleman - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    Best thing about Pete talking about war was that it had nothing to do with baseball

  12. natocoles - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    Thank you both, Craig and OG, so much for collaborating on what I think is a great tribute to a great man who has passed away. This made my day!

  13. thefacts121 - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Just for some context, many if not most of the obits of Seeger mention his very long support of Russian communism. The Daily Beast (formerly Newsweek), which is hardly the Drudge Report, published the following this morning:

    Just omitting that he spent decades praising Joseph Stalin altogether does a disservice to readers. This doesn’t imply anything about President Obama or today’s Democratic Party, and I don’t want to have a whole fight about contemporary politics (probably a foolishly optimistic wish). But Seeger supported and praised Stalin for decades, long after the full truth of his regime was well known, and that really should be mentioned in every story about him, even if it is to only excuse him based on other factors. (I mean, really, Joseph Stalin. That one.)

    • wordyduke - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      “Spent decades praising. . . Stalin” by what documentation? Believing (until 1949 or whenever) that small-c communism was a better system for the US than the one which perpetuated segregation and spawned HUAC is different from “decades [of] praising . . . Stalin,” which you may not be able to document.

      “Long after the full truth of [Stalin’s} regime was well known”? Which is to say, long after we stopped, in 1945, joining together with Stalin in the military alliance that defeated Hitler? Decades after that?

      When you judge why Russia went through its Soviet Union/communist period, consider what life was like there in 1917 for the peasants and the workers. Nasty revolutions come from somewhere. . . .

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