"It was?" I answered.
"Yes," said Mac Farlane.
But there is plenty of Ruth lore in circulation. Mac Farlane has Hugh Duffy lore. Duffy, a Hall of Famer whose career ended in 1906, was a scout for the Red Sox in the 1940s. Mac Farlane's father was a minority stockholder in the Sox, and Mac grew up around the team—talking to Harry Hooper while Hooper shagged flies, and getting to know Duffy "very well. You know he worked Jackie Robinson out before the Dodgers did. Thought Robinson was a little old to be a rookie and the Red Sox..."
"...and Duffy thought he was excessively ding-toed at the time."
"You mean pigeon-toed?"
There was a pause such as might follow were an eminent jazz historian to describe Count Basie as cool and you were to say, "You mean groovy?"
"Ding-toed," said Mac Farlane.
The true story of baseball's color line has never been told, according to Mac Farlane, and it involves actual exclusionary legislation that has never come to light. He has been trying to get people to listen to the whole story, but they won't. Now he hopes to develop a TV documentary on the subject. " Branch Rickey was interested in Robinson as a gate attraction," he says. "My description of Rickey is a Bible-quoting thief."
Once, when Mac Farlane was a semi-pro player at Arlington, Mass. in 1937, he batted against Satchel Paige. "The ball looked like a ribbon," he says. "I struck out on three pitches."