Interview with James L. Toomey, June 15, 1978

Project: A. B. "Happy" Chandler: Desegregation of Major League Baseball Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

James "Jim" Toomey was a sportswriter before he became the general manager and public relations director of the St. Louis Cardinals. In this interview, he talks about his early career with the St. Louis Star-Times, his Army service and his activities at the end of World War II, his covering the St. Louis Browns, his move to the Cardinals organization in 1949; his first impressions of Commissioner Chandler, his dealings with Chandler as baseball commissioner, the 1946 season, and the St. Louis Browns. He discusses Vern Stephens' jump to the Mexican League, Ray Gillespie's connections to the Mexican League, his (Toomey's) first meeting with Jorge Pasquel, Luke Sewell, Mickey Owen's signing to the Mexican League, Owen's personality, Owen's return to the United States, Lou Klein, Max Lanier, Fred Martin, the players' experiences in Mexico, and Alphonso Pasquel's meeting with Stan Musial. He talks about Branch Rickey's relationship with Mickey Owen, Rickey's personality and ability as an administrator, his role in the development of the farm system, his role in the integration of Major League baseball, his lawsuit against Ray Gillespie, Gillespie's relationship with the Mexican League, Cardinal players' jumping to the Mexican League, their reasons for doing so, other players' feelings towards the Mexican League jumpers, the contract-jumping players' suspensions by Chandler, Max Lanier's comeback, Sam Breadon's personality, Chandler's fining him (Breadon) for his trip to Mexico, Breadon's refusal to pay the fine, and the National League owners' meeting. He talks about the Cardinals players' attitude towards Breadon, their threatened strike against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Stan Musial's contract signing, Gillespie's role in the Breadon-Pasquel meeting in Mexico, the Mexican League's chances for success, the Pittsburgh Pirates' threatened strike, the owners' support for a player pension plan, Muddy Ruel as a person and as the manager of the St. Louis Browns, William DeWitt, and Chandler's suspension of Leo Durocher in 1947. Other topics include Hank Thompson, Willard Brown, the effect that Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, and Jackie Robinson had on the Brooklyn Dodgers and the pennant race in 1949, Tom Alston as the first black St. Louis Cardinals player, the reason there were no black Cardinals players until 1953, Cardinals owner Fred Saigh's position on black players, Saigh's purchase of the Cardinals in 1947, Robert Hannigan's role as the president of the Cardinals, Saigh as a person and team owner, difficulties between Saigh and Chandler over Sunday night games, Chandler's dismissal as baseball commissioner, Saigh's reaction to it, and Chandler as baseball commissioner.

Interview Accession

1978oh057_chan052

Interviewee Name

James L. Toomey

Interviewer Name

William J. Marshall

Interview Date

1978-06-15

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Toomey, James L. Interview by William J. Marshall. 15 Jun. 1978. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Toomey, J.L. (1978, June 15). Interview by W. J. Marshall. A. B. "Happy" Chandler: Desegregation of Major League Baseball Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Toomey, James L., interview by William J. Marshall. June 15, 1978, A. B. "Happy" Chandler: Desegregation of Major League Baseball Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt72rb6vzh79


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