July 29, 2009

Recognition sought for Sockalexis cousins

Penobscots seek recognition of athletes

By Meg HaskellTribal dignitaries and other members of the Penobscot Nation gathered Tuesday to honor the accomplishments of Penobscot athletes and first cousins Louis and Andrew Sockalexis.

The event targeted the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the magazine Sports Illustrated, and the Cleveland Indians baseball team for failing to appropriately recognize the two athletes.

Louis Sockalexis played for the Cleveland Spiders—later renamed the Cleveland Indians—from 1897 to 1899. He is often cited as the first American Indian to play in the major leagues, breaking the color barrier 50 years before Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was born on Indian Island in 1871 and died in 1913.

Long-distance runner Andrew Sockalexis finished in second place during the 1912 and 1913 Boston Marathons and in fourth place at the 1912 Olympic games in Stockholm, Sweden. He was born on Indian Island in 1891 and died in 1919.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Rep. Wayne Mitchell, who represents the Penobscot Nation in the Maine Legislature, charged that Louis and Andrew Sockalexis have been “continuously and blatantly overlooked for their achievements”—the impetus for his sponsorship of two legislative resolves in their honor, which were approved during the last legislative session.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see SI List Omits Sockalexis Cousins and More Indian Baseball Lore.

Below:  "James Neptune makes a tobacco offering at the tombstone of Louis Sockalexis on Indian Island on Tuesday before a press conference. Neptune explained that the tobacco 'goes to where he is. Probably no one has given him [Sockalexis] tobacco in a while.' Last month the Maine Legislature passed two resolutions calling on the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Indians and Sports Illustrated to respect and honor the athletic achievements of Louis Sockalexis and his cousin Andrew Sockalexis." (Bangor Daily News photo by Kevin Bennett)


Melvin Martin said...

I contacted Sarah Palin on this one recently and she emailed me saying that if elected Prez this next go around, she'll do it out of appreciation for the Native vote...

Rob said...

You contacted Sarah Palin on the Sockalexis issue? And she sent you a personal reply?

That would be an interesting exchange to see. If you don't consider it private, we should post it.

Melvin Martin said...

No, Rob, not really. This comment, along with a few others of mine on this blog is the "Dennis Miller" aspect of my complex persona.

I've been told that I need to laugh and SMILE more often as I deal with too many bummer subjects...

dmarks said...

And unlike Dennis, Melvin does not need to go very far at all to touch Indians.