Happy Jackie Robinson Day!
The Major news outlets aren’t highlighting this, so I feel obliged.
On this day in in 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African American baseball player to start for a major league team since the color barrier was first brought about in 1880. In front of 26,623 fans at Ebbets field, Robinson took his position at first base (he moved to 2nd after his rookie season), in what would become one of the most significant days in American History.
I think this timeline should help put things in perspective:
– 1947 Jackie Robinson breaks the color line in Professional Baseball.
– 1948 President Truman signs Executive Order 9981 bringing equality to the Armed Forces.
– 1954 Brown vs The Board of Education unanimously declares segregation in schools unconstitutional.
– 1955 Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery Alabama.
– 1957 President Eisenhower sends in Federal Troops to escort nine black students into Little Rock High.
– 1963 Martin Luther King delivers his “I Have A Dream’ speech to 200,000 in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
It’s tough to gauge how much of an impact Jackie Robinson has made on our culture. Personally, my two favorite baseball players growing up where Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn, both of whom walked through the door that Robinson opened. More importantly, though, they were my favorite players not because of, or in spite of their race, but because they were great baseball players. I think that’s the key as we move forward from our segregated past. Instead of focusing on the color of a man’s skin, let’s take a step back and see people as simply human, simply God’s creation.
By the way, the stats for Jackie Robinson the baseball player:
10 Seasons, all with the Dodgers.
6 World Series
6 All Star Games
The first Rookie of the Year in Baseball
.311 Career Batting Average
.409 On Base percentage
Averaged almost 100 Runs and 150 Hits a season
Led the league twice in fielding
and my favorite…
Stole home 19 times in his career.
One love, one heart.