For decades radio commentator Paul Harvey had a nationally syndicated broadcast titled “The Rest of the Story.” The segment consisted of little-known or forgotten stories on a variety of subjects with a key element of the tale (usually the name of some well-known person) withheld until the end. Harvey always concluded these broadcasts with his signature sign-off, “And now you know… the rest of the story.”
I felt like Paul Harvey this week. Let me tell you why.
PBS and KET are airing a wonderful documentary on baseball great Jackie Robinson. Produced by Ken Burns and his daughter, the film examines the life and times of Robinson, who in 1947 lifted a nation and an entire race on his shoulders when he crossed baseball’s color barrier. (You can watch the program here and here.)
Burns reveals fascinating stories about the legend’s life on and off the field. But like many documentaries there was just too much history to cover in a four-hour production. For example I noticed that Burns only devoted one sentence to A.B. “Happy” Chandler, who was the commissioner of Major League Baseball when Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Happy played semi-pro baseball in his youth and went on to become a U.S. Senator and two-term governor of Kentucky. He succeeded founding MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who opposed allowing blacks to play in the big leagues.
Curious to know more about Happy’s role in the Jackie Robinson story, I called former 6th district Congressman Ben Chandler to see if he’d like to tell me what he knows about his grandfather’s involvement.
Boy, did he ever.
Chandler is an avid history buff, which he gets to indulge in his current job as the executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Counties. We sat down for a conversation about his grandfather and Robinson for this week’s edition of One to One. Here’s an excerpt of the full program that will air Sunday at 1 p.m. on KET.
Then you’ll know the rest of the story.