A Small Tribute to Jackie Robinson

For someone born in my time it is just hard to fathom how segregated the country was just a few years ago. In fact 64 years ago today Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. I just have a lot of trouble believing how he was even treated. A couple of years ago I read a great book called Opening Day about how Jackie broke into the majors. It is unbelievable some of the things that he put was forced to contend with just to play baseball. We still aren’t where we need to be 64 years later, but the gap is closing. Every year Major League Baseball does a great job remembering Jackie. This year they started a site called iam42.com to have anyone who wants honor Jackie. This is just my little way of honoring what Jackie did for the country and baseball.

In 1997 Major League Baseball retired Jackie’s number 42 across the board. Nobody will every where that number again for the season after Mariano Rivera retires. I really wanted to go to the Sox game tonight to see the players honor Jackie, but the weather forced me to reconsider. Maybe next season. For now I put together some photos showing how I have seen Jackie honored across baseball.

Jackies uniform on display at the Civil Rights game in 2009

The #42 with the Astros numbers at Minute Maid Park in Houston

Jackie is honored outside U.S. Cellular Field along with White Sox greats

Jackie is honored on an outfield wall at Comerica Park home of the Detroit Tigers

I signed Ken Griffey Jr. jersey from Jackie Robinson day is on display at the Reds Hall of Fame

Jackies number on the press box at the Great American Ballpark

Jackie had a banner along with Twin greats in the old Metrodome

Jackies number at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend on Opening Day in 2008

South Bend Silverhawk David Nick playing in the shadow of Jackies banner last season at Coveleski Stadium

Jackie is honored at Miller Park in Milwaukee

Gordon Beckham playing catch with Jackie behind him in 2009

Part of the Jackie Robinson exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008

A closeup of that exhibit shows some of his equipment along with some of the death threats he received. Hard to believe.

Jackie honored along with some of the Mets greatest players at Shea Stadium in 2008

Jackie is honored in Monument Park at the old Yankee Stadium

Jackie honored at Busch Stadium in St. Louis along with Bruce Sutter who also wore #42

Gary Railcats outfielder Adam Klein makes a catch in front of Jackies #42 in Gary last year

Jackie honored under the video board in Kansas City in 2005

I started taking pictures of the different ways that clubs honored Jackie in 2000.. I was at a South Bend Silverhawks game, and noticed that the right fielder was right in line with Jackie’s number and me. I took a picture of it, and named it Jackie’s shadow. I figured that baseball was changed by him, and that everyone is playing in his shadow. I loved the picture, and have yet to capture anything better involving  Jackie. Here is that picture from 2000.

The original Jackie Robinson picture

The picture is a bit rough, but it was taken with a point and shoot camera when they first came out. I still like the composition of the picture, and would love to try and get an updated version of this.

I don’t think that we should stop at just honoring Jackie. Plenty of players came in those first few years that baseball was integrated. They also paid a price to play the game that they loved. In 1974 as he was approaching Babe Ruth’s home run record Hank Aaron received death threats just like Jackie did in 1947. In 2007 as Barry Bonds was approaching Hank’s record he received the same threats. Baseball has a long way to go, but has come a long way. Think of all the great players that never got the chance that Jackie did. Players like Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, and Buck O’Neil just to name a few. Jackie helped pave the way for the influx of players that we see in today’s game. Early on baseball kept people from its own country from playing the game. Now the game is slowing becoming international. Those first steps were taken in 1947 when Jackie took the field for the Dodgers.

The now regular feature Classic Scorecards that would normally appear on Friday will be postponed until tomorrow. I thought that this would be a little better of a subject for today. If I could have found an accurate account of Jackie’s first game in 1947 that would have been the scorecard for sure. For some reason though that data is not available. That game along with the Bob Feller Opening Day no-hitter will have to wait until later to make the site.


2 thoughts on “A Small Tribute to Jackie Robinson

  1. Pingback: A Small Tribute to Jackie Robinson « Confessions of a Sports Junkie | topbaseballreview.com

  2. Pingback: Game 14 Rangers at Yankees | cmdyankees

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