Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jackie Robinson Passed Away 40 Years Ago Today.

Jackie Robinson (1919 - 1972) 

Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in major league baseball and died on this day forty years ago. He was gone too soon but what he left behind was the story of a life well lived as a human being, a gentleman and a ball player par excellence. (We should all be so fortunate.) The story of Robinson's life and legacy ought to be required teaching at every school in America.

"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."  Jackie Robinson

"He knew he had to do well. He knew that the future of blacks in baseball depended on it. The pressure was enormous, overwhelming, and unbearable at times. I don't know how he held up. I know I never could have." -Duke Snider

"Thinking about the things that happened, I don't know any other ball player who could have done what he did. To be able to hit with everybody yelling at him. He had to block all that out, block out everything but this ball that is coming in at a hundred miles an hour. To do what he did has got to be the most tremendous thing I've ever seen in sports." - Shortstop Pee Wee Reese

"I don't care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fucking zebra. I'm the manager of this team and I say he plays." - Leo Durocher

"Jackie Robinson was the best athlete ever to play Major League Baseball." - Ralph Kiner

The wonderful painting of Jackie Robinson is by contemporary artist Graig Kreindler - Use the link to see more of his work and learn about his talent.


  1. Hello Yvette:
    Jackie Robinson's was indeed a life which is worthy of emulation. These pioneers of their time need to be remembered in order that we can all believe in the power of the individual to make change for the common good. It is too easy to hide behind governments or large organisations and say that we, as individuals, are not able to make an impact. The Jackie Robinsons of the world show that each person can and should make a difference.

  2. Ever since I first read (and later taught) August Wilson's fabulous play Fences, I can't help but connect Jackie Robinson to those characters.

    The father was a phenomenal baseball player in an African American league but could have made it in the big time had he been younger.

    He's incredibly bitter about it and gets angry at his sons for not truly understanding him/his experiences.

    There's so much more to it, but as soon as I saw your post, the play popped into my mind. Because as much as I admire/respect what Jackie Robinson did, it also makes me sad and angry for those who weren't able to break through through no fault of their own.

  3. As a kid I had the privilege to see Satchel Paige pitch. It was an old-timers game, not a real one, but I cherish the memory just the same. Sadly, some of the greatest players of all time never made it to the major leagues. Thanks for reminding me of Jackie Robinson. He was a true pioneer.

  4. You are completely correct, Jane and Lance. Jackie Robinson taught us that an individual can count.

  5. Oh, it was awful how so many brilliant players remain unknown - never made it to the 'big time' because of their color. Shameful.

    I know the title of the play, Jenn, but that's about all I know about it.
    I vaguely remember it was on B'way years ago? August Wilson??

  6. Jackie Robinson glows even brighter the older I get and I have more time to think back and realize how it was back then. He was physically threatened, not only by elements of the public but by some fellow players as well who refused to play alongside him. He was heckled, things were thrown at him. He was spiked and taunted and cursed - and still he persevered.

  7. Jackie Robinson - Presente!

    What a wonderful tribute to a hero, not only a baseball phenomenon but a hero for all of us.

    No one should have to go through what he went through -- and to play baseball, the premier sport in the U.S.

    He paved the way for so many players in baseball and other sports. And he taught us all to stand up and transcend the negatives for the greater good, for progress, for humankind.

    Thank you so much for honoring him today.

  8. When you hear some of the rabid, racist comments casually tossed around at our own president, you can't help but think we haven't progressed very far; but then you think, "But he IS the president," and you realize that, yes, as a society we have moved forward thanks to people like Robinson.

  9. A beautiful tribute to a very brave man. I remember those times, as I lived in the South during the 1950s. And every-so-often I hear someone lament that they wish we could go back to the good old days — like the 50s! And I think, yes, good old days for some of us . . .

  10. Thanks, Kathy. You're welcome. It amazes me that so little was made of the day by media and even my sportscasters. Far as I know Mike Francesa didn't even mention it on his four hour radio sports show.

  11. You're perfectly right about the crap being tossed around aimed at the President, Deb.

    It makes me want to weep.

    Apparently we haven't changed much. But the fact that Barack Obama is President is a major positive step forward for our country and our American society. Still there are many people who, as Mark says, would rather return to the 'good old days'.

    The worst, I think, are those that pretend that the President's skin color doesn't impact their venom.

  12. I know what you mean, Mark, though I didn't grow up in the South.

    I would wish for the good old days of movies and maybe even mystery books and I love that in the 50's while I was growing up, NYC was a large playground for us. But that's about it. Oh, and I also like the fashions back then and the idea of manners being important. :)

    But a society (no matter how nice and shiny it looks on the surface) with a rotting, ugly core is doomed unless it changes.

  13. Yes, it's true that Obama has to take slights and taunts that no other president has had to deal with.

    That he was treated arrogantly in the debates, that some right-wing pundits, current and former politicians (Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin) and assorted other horrific people said terrible things are ridiculous, and do reflect that sordid underbelly. It makes me want to vote for him 20 times, but alas, only one vote.

    People are being disenfranchised, too, so undemocratic.

    Horrendous, I say. However, Obama was great on Jay Leno's show, using humor about it all, even Donald Trump's new "birther" garbage. Somehow Obama rises above it all.

  14. Yes he does, Kathy. He knows how to handle himself and his mission. He also knows he can't be seen in public losing his temper. That's what the lunatic right wants him to do.

    Obama will, hopefully, unburden himself in his book. After his second term as President. :)


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