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Go Dodgers

How can I root for a team that played sixty years ago? Roger Kahn’s “The Boys of Summer,” about the 1952-1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, is a marvelous book (I’m listening to it on my commute). This is the team of Jackie Robinson, Duke Snyder, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, and Joe Black, among others. Today, Robinson is often portrayed in a safely beatific light, but he was fierce, coarse, and brilliant, and a “troublemaker” from childhood. My admiration of him is full to overflowing. Campanella, the Dodgers black catcher, was signed by the Dodgers not long after Robinson and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969. Sadly, he was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1958. I love how Kahn ends his description of a visit to Campy’s house:

“He pushed the lever and the wheelchair started off bearing the broken body and leaving me, and perhaps Roxie Campanella as well, to marvel at the vaulting human spirit, imprisoned yet free, in the noble wreckage of the athlete, in the dazzling palace of the man.”

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