Could the Sox have beaten Branch Rickey to the punch?

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Could the Sox have beaten Branch Rickey to the punch?

What if Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in a White Sox uniform? How would that have altered baseball history? How about the impact it would have had on our magnificent city? Five years before his Dodger debut, and 70 years ago today, Jackie and pitcher Nate Moreland appeared at White Sox training camp at Brookside Park in Pasadena, Calif.

None of the major Chicago newspapers mentioned anything of the event. The American Communist Party's Daily Worker (which frequently attacked baseball's color line in print) was the only newspaper to cover it. A 1997 Chicago Tribune article "Chicago's 55-year-old Secret" credits the Daily Worker with setting up the attempted tryout, and according to Neil Lanctot in "Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution," Herman Hill, Los Angeles correspondent of the Pittsburgh Courier, accompanied the men to Pasadena.

The Tribune's 1997 writeup suggests Robinson & Moreland actually worked out for Sox skipper Jimmy Dykes, whereas Lanctot says they requested a workout which Dykes declined with the usual "it's up to the owners and Judge Landis" runaround, which is the more likely story. Arnold Rampersad's 1997 biography of Robinson acknowledges the attempted tryout, quoting Dykes as saying "I would welcome Negro players on the Sox, and I believe every one of the other fifteen big league managers would do likewise. As for the players, they'd all get along too."

But why then would Robinson fail to mention this in any of his autobiographical work? The Tribune article submits Robinson may not have wanted any connection with the Communist Party (whose newspaper, remember, was said to have a hand in the appearance). That's possible; unfortunately as all parties have since passed away, we can do little but ask "What if...?"

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Saturday: 

Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

Preview: Knights look to bounce back tonight on CSN

White Sox courting of Luis Robert leads to 'Christmas in May'

Cubs blanked again by Dodgers

Tyler Danish gets win in first big league start as White Sox beat Tigers in first game of doubleheader

After getting shut down by Buck Farmer, White Sox ninth-inning rally falls short

Scott Boras fires back at Jake Arrieta’s critics and makes another Max Scherzer comparison

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Luis Robert will start journey through White Sox organization in Dominican Summer League

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

Preview: Knights look to bounce back tonight on CSN

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Charlotte Observer

Preview: Knights look to bounce back tonight on CSN

CSN's coverage of the Charlotte Knights continues tonight as the Knights will host the Buffalo Bisons at 7 p.m. on CSN.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Yoan Moncada who made his return to the Knights yesterday, hit two home runs in four at-bats in a shining preformance for the Knights. 

It's the fifth of eight games that CSN will televise over the next two months to give fans an opportunity to watch the future of the White Sox.

Check out the rest of the television schedule here.