Burgos: A senator, a reformed numbers king, and family reunions

From SABR member Adrian Burgos Jr. at The Sporting News on March 24, 2015:

March 14 marked 41 years since the death of Alex Pompez. At the time of his passing in 1974 at the age of 83, few outside the Latino baseball appreciated Pompez’s significant contributions to America’s game. Fewer still knew of his connection to the first African-American elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction, Edward Brooke. Yet that connection would help produce one of the most memorable family reunions in baseball history.

Sen. Brooke, who died in January at 95, was a pioneering figure in American politics. In 1966, Massachusetts voters elected Brooke to the Senate. He served two terms as a centrist Republican who was much like Jackie Robinson, an ardent advocate for racial equality, fair housing and integration. Known as a coalition builder, Brooke was also an independent voice within the Republican Party; he was the first Republican senator to demand the resignation of President Nixon for his role in Watergate.

The senator also happened to be the nephew of Alex Pompez. “Uncle Alex,” as Brooke referred to him in his 2007 memoir “Bridging the Divide,” married the future senator’s aunt in 1934; Ruth Seldon Pompez was the sister of Brooke’s mother, Helen Seldon Brooke. 

Family gatherings at the Brookes’ Washington, D.C., house over the ensuing decades were no doubt interesting affairs, particularly in the late 1960s when Pompez, the former numbers king and Negro league team owner, sat at the family table with his nephew, a sitting U.S. senator.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2015-03-24/alex-pompez-edward-brooke-cuban-baseball-senator-massachusetts

Originally published: March 25, 2015. Last Updated: March 25, 2015.