"Mr. Rickey asked if I would live with Jackie, be his companion on the road. That's when he put me on the Brooklyn payroll, $50 a week, about the same amount I was getting as sports editor of the Courier," Smith said. "He hired me as a scout, to scout Negro ballplayers. I had been a ballplayer, an all-city high school pitcher in Detroit; but I knew nothing of scouting. I was getting paid to help Jackie jump the hurdles.
"I never socialized with the writers. In the South it was forbidden. If they wanted me to go to dinner with them, it was against the law. I'm sure they would have liked to have me join them. They didn't ask because they knew it was impossible. But I considered myself part of the press corps. I was writing daily stories. I was Jackie's 'Boswell.'"
Wendell Smith, who campaigned for the integration of the big leagues and then was instrumental in helping Jackie Robinson during his first years in pro baseball, was named the first African-American winner of the BBWAA Career Excellence Award in 1993. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)