How close did Jackie Robinson come to playing for the Red Sox? Close enough for a perfunctory Fenway Park wartime tryout with two other black athletes that produced compliments but no contract. “We knew we were wasting our time,” Robinson said years later. “It was April 1945. Nobody was serious then about black players in the majors, except maybe a few politicians.”
It was a politician, Boston city councillor Isadore Muchnick, who’d pressured both the Sox and the then Boston Braves to give an opportunity to Negro League players or risk losing the Blue Laws waiver that allowed the clubs to play Sunday games.