The 20 greatest Dodgers of all time, No. 7: Pee Wee Reese
We recently asked you to list your choices for the 10 greatest Dodgers of all time, and vote you did, as we received an amazing 12,231 ballots. So many people voted that we have decided to expand the list from the top 10 to the top 20. Each weekday at 11 a.m. PDT, a new person will be listed as we count down all 20.
Remember, any Dodger, Brooklyn or L.A., was eligible, including managers, owners, announcers, etc. Points were assigned based on where you listed the person on the ballot. Your first choice received 12 points, second choice 10, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th place.
So without further ado, here is No. 7:
No. 7: Pee Wee Reese (3 first-place votes, 25,066 points)
Pee Wee Reese is a Hall of Fame shortstop and an iconic member of the “Boys of Summer.” That alone is good enough to get him into the top in this survey, but most people who voted for him didn’t list either of those reasons for putting him into the top 10. Most gave one simple reason: “He befriended Jackie Robinson.”
Reese refused to sign a petition that threatened a players boycott if Robinson joined the team, but the most famous moment in the Reese-Robinson friendship came in 1947 in Cincinnati. During pregame infield practice, Robinson was taking his usual verbal abuse from the crowd. Reese walked over from shortstop to first base and put his arm around Robinson, a move that shocked many in the crowd and silenced many.
Reese died in 1999. At his funeral, Joe Black, one of the first black pitchers in the majors and a former teammate of Reese, said: “Pee Wee helped make my boyhood dream come true to play in the majors, the World Series. When Pee Wee reached out to Jackie, all of us in the Negro League smiled and said it was the first time that a white guy had accepted us. When I finally got up to Brooklyn, I went to Pee Wee and said, ‘Black people love you. When you touched Jackie, you touched all of us.’ With Pee Wee, it was No. 1 on his uniform and No. 1 in our hearts.”
Add the fact that Reese was a great player and shortstop and you have an easy choice for one of the greatest Dodgers of all time.
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