James “Cool Papa” Bell
In 1946/ one of the greatest baseball players of all time retired/ after almost twenty-five years as a pro.// No, /it wasn't Babe Ruth,/ Joe DiMaggio, /or any other star you've probably heard of.// The man was James “Cool Papa” Bell,/ star of the Pittsburgh Crawfords of the Negro League.//
The Negro League was the name of the league where black players were forced to play until 1947,/ when major league baseball became integrated.// The Negro League had some of the best players never to be appreciated,/ and Cool Papa Bell headed that list.
Many say that Bell was the fastest player ever to play the game.// This could very well be true.// He led the league in stolen bases almost every year he played until he retired at age forty-one.// Satchel Paige, /a former teammate of his,/ said Cool Papa was so fast /he could flip the switch and be in bed before the lights went out.
In fact, Jesse Owens,/ the Olympic sprinter,/ who was known as the fastest man in the world, /said he would race /and/ beat anyone around the bases/ as long as that person wasn't Cool Papa Bell. At five feet, eleven inches tall and only 135 pounds,/ Bell was thin as a rail.// But no one made fun of his slender size as he swiftly and smoothly stole second/ or scored from first on a single.//
And Cool Papa was smooth. In his first game as a pro, the seventeen-year-old, then known as James, came into the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and struck out one of the league's best hitters on three straight pitches. Pretty smooth for a guy who wasn't even a pitcher. For playing with the savvy of a seasoned veteran even though he was only a kid, /his manager called him “Cool Papa.”//
But to say that Cool Papa had style would be an injustice to him.// Cool Papa was style./// Whether in his baseball uniform/ or his Sunday best,/ Cool Papa had a flair all his own.// Some of you may have seen flip-down sunglasses,/ a necessity and fashion statement for many major league players today.// Flip-down sunglasses weren't unknown to Cool Papa.// After all, he invented
But despite all of Cool Papa's baseball feats and the style with which he accomplished them,/ his greatest achievement was that he played at all./// You see,/ James “Cool Papa” Bell was the victim of a disease known as racism—///racism that kept him from playing in the same league as white players, racism that kept him from being in the same record books as white players,/ racism that kept him from earning the same money as white players. //In fact, to make ends meet, Cool Papa would race home after each game just so he could change clothes and get to his second job as a nighttime security guard. This kind of thing would be unheard of for players today.
But despite the inequalities he faced,/ Cool Papa kept on playing the game he loved.// He helped pave the way for Jackie Robinson,/ the first African American in the major leagues, and others who followed him.// Cool Papa did this by fighting racism the same way he played baseball—stylishly but effectively. //Despite knowing that he would never reach his dream of playing in the major leagues just because of his color, /Cool Papa Bell, and many others for that matter, played on, hoping that someday there would be only one league—/a league of professional baseball players, regardless of race.///
So let's take a few moments,/ which is longer than it would take Cool Papa to steal second base,/ to appreciate James “Cool Papa” Bell—///the speedy baseball star, the stylish innovator,/ the man /who fought racism/ just by going to work every day.///
James “Cool Papa” Bell by Ryan Saurer
“James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell” is a commemorative speech that deals with one of the greatest baseball players in the old Negro League, to which black players were relegated before the integration of major league baseball in 1947. The topic will probably be appreciated most by students who are baseball fans, but the speech transcends sports to focus on the larger issue of racism in U.S. society and the refusal of “Cool Papa” Bell to be ground down by it. The speech also illustrates the differences between a commemorative speech and an informative speech. Although the speaker provides information about Bell, he does not present a full view of Bell's life or even of his career as a baseball player. Rather, he focuses on Bell's most praiseworthy qualities and seeks to enhance his listeners' appreciation of those qualities. The speech is also available on Speeches for Analysis and Discussion: A Videotape Supplement to The Art of Public Speaking, Fifth Edition. Here is a synopsis.
Introduction: The introduction consists of paragraphs 1-2. The speaker begins by arousing curiosity about the topic of his speech. He then reveals that his subject is James “Cool Papa” Bell, who played his entire baseball career in the Negro League because the major leagues were still segregated. The last sentence of paragraph 2 identifies Bell as the finest player in the Negro League and provides a deft lead-in to the body of the speech.
Body: Composed of paragraphs 3-8, the body of the speech develops three main points. The first is that Bell was the fastest baseball player of all time (paragraphs 3-4). The second is that Bell played the game with a style all his own (paragraphs 5-6). The third—and most important—is that Bell was a pioneer who helped pave the way for Jackie Robinson and other African Americans who would later play Major League Baseball (paragraphs 7-8).
Throughout the body of the speech, the speaker provides well-chosen supporting materials to illustrate Bell's athleticism and character. The speaker also makes effective use of the resources of language discussed in Chapter 11 to elevate and polish the style of the speech. At the end of paragraph 4, for example, he employs alliteration in the sentence, “But no one made fun of his slender size as he swiftly and smoothly stole second or scored from first on a single.”
In paragraph 8 the speaker uses repetition and parallelism to emphasize the extent to which Bell was victimized by racism—“racism that kept him from playing in the same league as white players, racism that kept him from being in the same record book as white players, racism that kept him from earning the same money as white players.” The dexterity of this passage, in combination with its sharp message about the evils of racism, gives the speaker's words special force.
Conclusion: The conclusion consists of the final paragraph. After subtly announcing that the speech is coming to an end by saying, “So let's take a few moments . . .,” the speaker closes by reminding the audience of Bell's accomplishments as “the speedy baseball star, the stylish innovator, the man who fought racism just by going to work every day.” The parallel structure of these phrases enhances the cadence of the speaker's delivery, while the final words—“the man who fought racism just by going to work every day”—provide a sense of drama and reinforce what the speaker sees as Bell's most important attainment.
Example of Figures of Speech Paper
Parallel Structure and Repetition
racism that kept him from playing in the same league as white players, racism that kept him from being in the same record books as white players, racism that kept him from earning the same money as white players.
But no one made fun of his slender size as he swiftly and smoothly stole second or scored from first on a single.”
Cool Papa didn't have style; Cool Papa was style
Satchel Paige, a former teammate of his, said Cool Papa was so fast he could flip the switch and be in bed before the lights went out.
Bell was thin as a rail.
Cool Papa was style