Alright, confession!! I’m nervous posting this since it’s my first non-Inklings’s announcement video. Eee! But here it is and hope y’all enjoy! I also promise I don’t say “so, yeah!” that much in real life. Apparently that’s my phrase for YouTube though.
“I was proud to be in the hurricane eye of a significant breakthrough and to be used to prove that a sport can’t be called national if blacks are barred from it.”
One day at work we were discussing the best baseball players of all time (we try to keep it real most days) and I automatically said Jackie Robinson. While comparing stats and various players’ careers, I stood firm in my vote. One of the guys claimed it was based on things beyond baseball. To which I wholeheartedly agree (although Jackie had plenty of records to speak of his talent).
I love sports, I’ve played them my whole life. But sometimes I think a player’s greatness goes beyond stats when what they do on the field has an impact for the world off the field. And that’s exactly what Jackie Robinson’s baseball career did.
I’ve been wanting to read his autobiography for sometime now and since 42 is out today, I moved it to the top of the list.
Written over 40 years ago. It reminded me of the struggles of the times (and some things we still need to work on) and what his playing really meant. I was a hot mess while reading the chapter of his son’s tragic death at the age of 24. He was honest too. He held on to his convictions and didn’t hold back on that, whether mistakes he thought he made (like backing Nixon for President) to the heartbreak of losing a son.
While baseball was a key part of his life, I was actually kinda surprised that him winning the World Series got one paragraph. But then again, I shouldn’t be since he was more than just about baseball.
“But I still feel I owe – till every man can rent and lease and buy according to his money and his desires; until every child can have an equal opportunity in youth and manhood; until hunger is not only immoral but illegal; until hatred is recognized as a disease, a scourge, an epidemic, and treated as such; until racism and sexism and narcotics are conquered and until every man can vote and any man can be elected if he qualifies – until that day Jackie Robinson and no one else can say he has it made.”
And his legacy carries on to this day. Be sure to check out more about the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Who are some of your favorite athletes?
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
“Robinson trotted out to first base in the top half of the inning, a smile creasing his face. The Braves sent their first batter, Dick Culler, to the plate. Culler hit a ground ball to third base, where Jorgensen scooped it up and threw to first. Robinson squeezed it for the out. It was a simple catch, but the crowd expressed its delight as if they’d never seen anything quite like it.
It was official now. The game had begun. A black man was playing big-league ball.”
“Robinson came up in the first inning. I remember the sound. It wasn’t the shrill, teenage cry you now hear, or an excited gut roar. They applauded, long, rolling applause. A tall, middle-aged black man stood next to me, a smile of almost painful joy on his face, beating his palms together so hard they must have hurt.” (Mike Royko)
And these two quotes are why baseball that year, in 1947, was much more than just a game. I can’t wait to see 42 this Friday!