Do you know Dixie Walker? Unless you're close to 70 years old, you can't have seen him play baseball, as he retired after the 1949 season. In any case, veteran baseball scribe Maury Allen wrote "Dixie Walker of the Dodgers: The People's Choice," along with the late Walker's daughter Susan.
The book has its merits - Walker had a very interesting baseball life, playing alongside Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the Bronx, Hank Greenberg in Detroit, Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn and Ralph Kiner in Pittsburgh, then spent another 30 or so years as a minor-league manager and roving instructor - but it seems to have two reasons for being:
1) To dispute the notion that Walker, born in Georgia and then raised in Alabama, tried to lead a boycott of Robinson, when Robinson's became the game's first African-American player in 1947.
2) To build a Hall of Fame case for Walker.
I've been reading "Opening Day" by Jonathan Eig, so I already knew that there was no such organized boycott. However, Walker did write a letter to Dodgers GM Branch Rickey just before the 1947 season began, expressing a desire to be traded. The problem? He was concerned that, as a Southerner with a business (he owned a store), playing alongside an African-American might be frowned upon by his neighbors and customer base.
So...I get it. The guy doesn't deserve to be scapegoated for the day's societal ills. At the same time, we shouldn't celebrate his actions, right? It's not like he stood up and challenged everything going on around him.
As for the Cooperstown argument, if you look at his baseball-reference.com page, you can see that he put together a very nice career, but hardly one that you would qualify as elite in any way. So that's a non-starter.
In any case, I thought the book was an enjoyable read, even if I didn't agree with everything in it. And now I'll give it to the first person who e-mails me - at email@example.com - with the correct answer to this question:
Walker ranks 10th all-time among Dodgers with 35.6 Wins Above Replacement. Who is the Dodgers' all-time leader in WAR, as utilized by b-r?