Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Baseball, America Celebrates "Jackie Robinson Day"

"It was just another ball game and that's the way they're all going to be. If I make good- well that will be perfectly wonderful." -
Jackie Robinson, quoted in the Sporting News, April 23, 1947.

From Baseball Hall of Fame Biography: Jackie Robinson burst onto the scene in 1947, breaking baseball's color barrier and bringing the Negro leagues' electrifying style of play to the majors. He quickly became baseball's top drawing card and a symbol of hope to millions of Americans. With Robinson as the catalyst, the Dodgers won six pennants in his 10 seasons. He dominated games on the base paths, stealing home 19 times while riling opposing pitchers with his daring baserunning style. Robinson was named National League MVP in 1949, leading the loop in hitting (.342) and steals (37), while knocking in 124 runs.

Career Totals for Robinson, all with Brooklyn (10 years):
1,382 games- 4,877 at-bats; 947 runs scored; 1,518 hits; 137 home runs; 734 RBIs; 197 stolen bases; and a .311 lifetime batting average.

Statistics don't tell the full story of this incredible man, of his bravery, of his leadership. Of his high place in American history. Breaking the color barrier in baseball's 1947 season meant quietly ignoring the racial slurs, the segregation of hotels, restaurants where the Dodgers visited to play.

Jackie R. Robinson showed us all -then and now- that race, that the color of one's skin- should be the very least criterion considered, in the measurement of a person. And that if a person's skin color is the first thing that another person observes, then it is that second person who should be pitied.

Baseball celebrates "Jackie Robinson Day" today in 15 ballparks, celebrating not the fact that he was the first Negro to play in the Major Leagues, but that he taught us all how to see the many many similarities between us all, and to disregard that insignificant difference.


crazy4danes said...

Beautiful post! I love that you addressed his amazing achievements both on and OFF the field.

zeelah said...

hi..thanks for viewing my blog again.. : ) Errmm... I didn't know much about baseball.. In my country baseball is not a famous sport... Anyway, is baseball similar to softball..??

The Localmalcontent said...

Yes, Zeelah, basically the same game, but played with a smaller, harder ball.
And one fewer outfielder.