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Bill Werber, 1908-2009
2009-01-22 18:25
by Bob Timmermann

Untitled Bill Werber, who played 11 seasons in the majors, including two pennant winning years with the Reds in 1939 and 1940, passed away Thursday in Charlotte at age 100.

Werber broke in to the majors with the Yankees in 1930. He returned to the majors in 1933 and eventually was sold to the Red Sox. The Reds acquired Werber after the 1936 in exchange for Pinky Higgins. Werber finished his career with the Giants in 1942.

From the AP obituary:

Werber was an avid reader and occasionally wrote letters to baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Werber told Selig he doesn't think women should sing the national anthem, that games today take too long and that he's disgusted with the long hair on modern players.

Back on September 8, 1974, Werber wrote an open letter to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in the New York Times about whether or not there should be a black manager in the majors. Werber was, to put it mildly, opposed to the idea. However, you can't read the article online unless you get a paid subscription to the newspaper.

2009-01-22 21:10:53
1.   Eric Enders
There is a similar handwritten letter -- for all I know it may be the original of the letter you refer to -- in Werber's research file at the Hall of Fame. It's all about uppity Negroes and contains a number of attacks on Frank Robinson in particular.
2009-01-22 22:20:32
2.   Bob Timmermann
Yep, that's the letter.
2009-01-22 22:36:00
3.   Eric Enders
One wonders what Werber must have thought these past few years as Frank Robinson was hailed as the beloved Grand Old Man of baseball.

We already know what Bob thought about that. ;)

2009-01-22 23:45:13
4.   Bob Timmermann
The NY Times hasn't run an obituary for Werber and I would think that they have one ready for him.

There should be a Harvey Araton or William Rhoden piece waiting around here.

2009-01-23 00:49:42
5.   Eric Enders
Shoot, Werber was around for so long that they probably have a Red Smith-penned obit in the can.
2009-01-23 03:47:53
6.   dianagramr
"He just refused to eat and that was his plan. He was just having fluids," his son Bill Werber Jr., said. "He was sharp — extremely sharp — up until three or four weeks ago."


Hmmmm .... Obama gets elected, and soon after, Werber refuses to eat ...

Werber dies two days after Obama takes office.

Political protest?

2009-01-23 07:57:16
7.   Bob Timmermann
Or the man was just feeling the effects of being 100.
2009-01-23 08:32:36
8.   dianagramr

agreed ....

My take was purely sarcasm based on Mr. Werber apparent distaste for African-Americans.

2009-01-23 09:11:12
9.   Bob Timmermann
It's OK. I fired the first sarcastic shot.
2009-01-24 10:20:35
10.   Murray
I must have read a different letter to the Times than the rest of you. It seems to me that Werber is trying to say that there is more to being a qualified black manager than just being black, and that Kuhn was being a hypocrite.
2009-01-24 13:07:07
11.   SaltinWound
I've been thinking about that all-time L.A. Dodger lineup. Does Tommy Davis make it? He had a couple awesome years, but he doesn't seem to inspire much passion.
2009-01-24 13:58:01
12.   joyofsox
I uploaded a PDF of the letter here:

Tried to convert it to text, but could not.

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