Remembering Jackie Robinson (AGAIN)

We remember #42 again and again and again and …
Okay … okay … I GET IT ALREADY!!! Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and was a damned good ballplayer. So was Larry Doby. And what about the other great black players who came before Jackie? I don’t know about you, but I’m all “Jackied out”. This year marks the 60th anniversary of JR’s debut and next year we’ll celebrate the 61st and then the 62nd and … Didn’t we just celebrate the 50th anniversary of his 100th homerun last year or something like that???? ENOUGH!!!

He accomplished some great things in his time … no doubt … but he wasn’t MLK or Rosa Parks when it came to the civil rights movement. He played baseball for pete’s sake. And in that regard, he wasn’t Hammerin’ Hank or the Say Hey Kid … he was a scrappy .311 career hitter and disruptive on the basepaths for some great Dodger teams. So was Davey Lopes!

So there’s two things here. 1) I’m tired of the constant honoring and remembrance of Jackie Robinson … I know he was a man of great courage and character and a damned good ballplayer. So was Ted Williams … try to look at a bio of his life and not be impressed … but we don’t hear or read anything much about Teddy Ballgame. Ditto Roberto Clemente. 2) And why does Jackie get all the credit for breaking the color line??? Why don’t we remember Larry Doby in the same fanatical way??? He paralleled Robinson’s feats at the same time in the American League. And he was pretty damned good, too.

So let’s spread the love around a little more. Let’s try to be a bit more DIVERSE in our praise of accomplishments and feats. Let’s not exclude the other great people/athletes to focus solely on one guy so often. Let’s “re-balance the playing field” so to speak. Isn’t that what Jackie would’ve wanted???

Extra credit question: Do you even think Manny knows who Jackie Robinson was???


4 Responses to "Remembering Jackie Robinson (AGAIN)"

  1. jesse   April 13, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    well put!

  2. JD   April 17, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Overheard on the “Jim Rome ” show:

    When asked if he would be attending the games on the west coast when Barry Bonds was close to breaking his record, Hank Aaron replied, “I’m 72 years old, I don’t go anywhere for any man”. Ironic that this past weekend there was Hank Aaron at the ceremonies to honor Jackie Robinson. I guess Robinson was not just “any” man. Imagine for a second if Barry Bonds had taken a page from Robinson’s blue print and learned how to deal with adversity and the public with grace and dignity. We would have one of the biggest stories in sports history this summer. It would be like the summer when Sosa and Mac were chasing the home run record. That was magical, until of course…

    The point for me is that in a time when there is so much negative press about race relations in the US from Don Imus to the Duke “non” rape case, I don’t care where the good news comes from, let’s celebrate it and thank the people who made it happen. In this case, Mr. Robinson. I agree that we should also share the love with others such as Doby, but nobody bears the burden like the first to perform a never before done feat.

    “Here’s to you Mr. Robinson”

  3. Casey   April 17, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    “Koo Koo ka choo”…

    “Heaven holds a place for those who pray – hey, hey, hey”

  4. Aaron   April 18, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Well said JD,

    Not sure if everyone watched Baseball Tonighton Suday, but I think Steve Phillips summed it up nicely regarding why Jackie Robinson is honored so regularly:

    And I am paraphrasing so it may not be completely accurate: ” If you ask the normal person who was the first African American athlete in the NBA, they probably couldn’t tell. Same for the NFL.. But if you ask most people who the first African American was to play baseball they can tell you right away – Jackie Robinson.” He is a symbol of race relations and what he did, not only broke new ground, but gave hope to a race when there was none.

    In some regards Jackie Robinson was ahead of his time. He came 8 years before Rosa Parks and I am not sure how many before MLK. But to handle a clubhouse where probably most guys didn’t want you there to start – and handle it with the class and dignity that he did. Not to mention Rachel Robinson who had the courage to go to every home game, just to make sure he knew that he had a face in the crowd that was rooting for him.

    I am all for sharing the spotlight with Larry Doby, Roberto Clemente , Buck O’Neil, and for that matter – players like Pedro Martinez who spends $ helping out his hometown.

    But if Jackie Robinson had done a Ron Artest, or acted like Barry Bonds, would Larry Doby had gotten his chance in 1948? His class and his dignity helped pave the way.

    The thing I found outrageous was that the Red Sox were the last team to have an African-American on the team – 1958 – nearly 11 years later..

    Regardless, I am all for celebrating Jackie Robinson and I am all for celebrating others. But like JD said, the first to perform bears the burden – good or bad..

    So I tip my hat to Jackie Robinson.

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