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Jackie Robinson


Moose Milligan

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Obviously today is Jackie Robinson day and everyones wearing #42 which I think is great.

Just wanted to start a thread for him where we can share favorite stories, quotes, photos, and discuss this great man.

<img src = "http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0407/041607robinsonjackie.jpg">

<img src = "http://obamaonjackieday.mlblogs.com/baseball_tout.jpg">

<img src = "http://www.eca.com.ve/hsclassweb/DerekSmith/Website%20Images/IB%2012/Jackie%20Robinson.jpg">

<img src = "http://education.baseballhalloffame.org/experience/thematic_units/civil_rights/assets/robinson_j_montreal.jpg">

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Good idea, Moose.

This may not be what you had in mind exactly, but it's the first thing I thought of.

Baltimore had an International League franchise in 1946, the year Robinson played in that circuit for Montreal before ascending to the majors.

The once-dominant IL Orioles refused to use black players, and didn't win any titles after World War II. (According to James H. Bready's excellent Baseball in Baltimore, they may have missed out on having Larry Doby play for them before he broke the American League color barrier as a result).

From that same book:

"...How would Baltimore, as the IL's most southernmost city, react to the sight of Jackie Robinson on the playing field? The answer was, sometimes, with abusive profanity. In the stands, ordinary-looking people screamed filth at him. Baltimore newspapers covered this big story --big-time baseball's first black player in the 20th century-- in discreet, general terms. Meanwhile, Robinson, enjoined by his employer, Branch Rickey, to live the role of the stoic for two full years, did so, never acknowledging, much less responding to, the personal insults. (All the harder, since Robinson "had little sense of humor," Thomas Boswell notes. "He had a fierce temper.") Robinson simply outplayed every white and afterward was voted the league's Most Valuable Player..."

"...Long afterward, Robinson cited spectators in Syracuse and Baltimore as that year's least welcoming. Ironically, he had played in Baltimore the year before when the touring Kansas City Monarchs, with Robinson at second base, took on the Baltimore Elite Giants at Bugle Field. The spectators were sparse and orderly..."

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It blows my mind that he lettered in four sports at UCLA (baseball' date=' basketball, football, track). That's just unthinkable. Even without his social relevance, the man has to be on the list of the greatest athletes of all-time, period.[/quote']

Indeed. From his SABR biography:

"...Robinson gained national fame at UCLA in 1940 and 1941. He became the school's first four-letter man and was called the "Jim Thorpe of his race" for his multisport skills. Sharing rushing duties with Kenny Washington, who later became one of the first black men to play in the National Football League, Jackie averaged over 11 yards per carry as a junior. Sports Weekly called him "the greatest ball carrier on the gridiron today." On the basketball court, Jackie led the Pacific Coast conference in scoring as a junior and as a senior. Although he wasn't named to the first, second, or third all-conference teams, one coach called him "the best basketball player in the United States." Already the holder of the national junior college long-jump record, he captured the NCAA long-jump title and probably would have gone to the 1940 Olympics had they not been canceled by the war in Europe. In addition, he won swimming championships, reached the semifinals of the national Negro tennis tournament, and was the Bruins' regular shortstop in baseball. Ironically, baseball was probably Robinson's weakest sport at UCLA although he'd been voted the most valuable player in Southern California junior college baseball..."

I realy like this part, too:

"...Robinson revived the art of stealing home, successfully making it 19 times in his career - the most since World War I. At the age of 35 in 1954, he became the first National Leaguer to steal his way around the bases in 26 years, and a year later he became one of only 12 men to steal home in the World Series..."

http://bioproj.sabr.org/bioproj.cfm?a=v&v=l&bid=2379&pid=12074

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Several of the Negro League stars said Jackie wasn't their best ballplayer by any criteria, but he was the best man for the job. Educated, articulate, fully aware of what was riding on it, and ready to bear the weight on his shoulders. Nobody ever had pressure like that. Non-stop pressure, spotlight, and hate. There was a million ways for him to choke, and he didn't do any of them.

His wife said that for him to go through all that, keeping it bottled up and never blowing a fuse, is what did him in. Doctors said it was heart disease and diabetes. Lots things can harm your heart. Lots of things can make your internal juices out of balance. She knew him best, and she said that doing what he did, and just taking it no matter what, is what killed him in the end. He wasn't built for turning the other cheek, but he had to do it anyway. Nothing like being responsible for an entire race among Americans, with the deck stacked so that if you ever get mad, your people lose. He was dead at 53, way too young.

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They made reference to it during the game last night, but the number of times in which he stole home plate. Everyone remembers, and rightfully so, the steal of home in the 1955 World Series. But, I believe they said he stole home 18 or 19 times in his career. That just boggles my mind. You've got to have the right combination of talent, skill, determination, and guts to be able to do that, and not only could he do it, but he did it almost 20 times :eektf:.

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They made reference to it during the game last night, but the number of times in which he stole home plate. Everyone remembers, and rightfully so, the steal of home in the 1955 World Series. But, I believe they said he stole home 18 or 19 times in his career. That just boggles my mind. You've got to have the right combination of talent, skill, determination, and guts to be able to do that, and not only could he do it, but he did it almost 20 times :eektf:.

Safe at home on 19 of 31 attempts.

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