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Happy Jackie Robinson Day

Apr 15, 2013, 9:31 AM EDT

Jackie Robinson

April 15 has a lot going on — it’s tax day and Patriot’s Day — but in baseball it’s most significant because it’s Jackie Robinson Day. Sixty-six years ago today Robinson became the first black man to play major league baseball in the modern era.

Players will wear 42 on their jerseys today. Just about every columnist you read will have a remembrance or retrospective of the man today.  Even if you’ve read a lot of these and know the general story, you should take some extra time to reacquaint yourself with it again. Or, maybe even better, go check out Jackie’s Baseball-Reference.com page. I sometimes feel like we spend so much time on talking about Robinson’s breaking the color barrier that we forget he was a hell of a baseball player and would have been Hall of Fame worthy regardless.

Also worth checking out are some things about Robinson’s post-playing career, which includes a lot of important work in the civil rights movement and which is often overlooked. Here’s a nice start to that.

Robinson was a complex and interesting man and that often gets lost as so much time is spent on the well-known and well-told partys of his story.

Happy 42 Day.

  1. chill1184 - Apr 15, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Happy 42 Day!

  2. youjivinmeturkey - Apr 15, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Reblogged this on "You Jivin' Me, Turkey?".

  3. mybrunoblog - Apr 15, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Ive always enjoyed the fact that in 1962 Robinson made it known to the HOF voters that he wanted to be judged on his baseball record not the fact that he broke the color Barrier. A very humble gesture.
    Interesting to note that his wishes were agreed to at least by the baseball HOF. His HOF plaque initially said nothing to the fact that he integrated the game. It was only years later in 2008 that the HOF created a new plaque adding information about Jackie integrateing the game.
    His orginal plaque is still on display at the HOF. The new one sits in the gallery of plaques with all the others.

  4. Gardenhire's Cat - Apr 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    What would it take to have every player linked to baseball-reference.com instead of rotoworld?

    • heyblueyoustink - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      You seem way more intelligent than the cat on the commercials that feeds itself by walking on the tablet device.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      Well, NBC not owning Rotoworld would be a start. But we like Rotoworld, so here we are.

  5. jarathen - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    I often wonder what another 4-8 years of a career he could have put together without that color barrier. Guy went out with a 4.6 WAR season.

  6. heyblueyoustink - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    “April 15 has a lot going on — it’s tax day and Patriot’s Day ”

    What’s this Patriot you speak of?

    • indaburg - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      Why, Jackie Robinson, of course. A man who stood for equality, liberty, and the freedom to pursue happiness sounds like a true patriot to me.

      • heyblueyoustink - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        Ah, those were the days.

    • fetchezlavache - Apr 15, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      Patriot’s Day is a Massachusetts’ holiday to celebrate the start of the Revolutionary War at Concord and Lexington. Boston Marathon is run today

  7. sdelmonte - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    I’m gonna be a curmudgeon about this. The whole point of numbers is so you can identify the players. As worthy as the cause is, at the end of the day, I think having all the players wear the same numbers is silly and confusing.

    • beefytrout - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      You said it yourself, “The whole point of numbers is so you can identify the players.”

      That’s why everyone is wearing #42 today.

    • chicitybulls - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Well at least you’re admitting you’re being a curmudgeon about it. Besides, it’s 1 day. Does it bother THAT much to do it for 1 day? And besides that, if you’re a baseball fan you should be able to identify the players anyway by their faces. It’s not like football where you have facemasks covering their face.

  8. DonRSD - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Best tribute day in all of sports.
    Every professional league should retire the number 42.

    Jackie stood for MORE than just baseball.

    • hojo20 - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      Yeah NASCAR should retire 42.

    • mybrunoblog - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      I would argue that retiring 42 was a good and decent gesture in thought but in reality if has weak points. Instead of retiring 42 I feel it would be more positive to allow players to wear 42 in tribute to Robinson. But putting it out of circulation if almost gets forgotten. MLB could have required each team to set up a “42″ memorial at all ballparks but by keeping the number alive it would have been a living tribute not something frozen in time.

  9. jm91rs - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Can anyone that has seen the movie tell me if it’s safe to take a 9 year old there? My son has been reading up on Jackie and we’ve come across the word I’m most worried about plenty of times for him to know that it was an awful thing said by many people back then. I just know a movie could not possibly show just how horrible people were to Jackie, so I imagine to make the movie decent they have to be a little raw at times.

    I just want to make sure my kid gets the magnitude of Jackie’s greatness instead of leaving the movie upset at how sad he is for Jackie.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      Great question. I have a (nearly) 6-year old daughter, so I’m not the best source on this. But I’ve idolized Jackie Robinson at least since sixth grade. (We were asked to do a report on a great American. I choose him.)

      There are aspects of the movie that are absolutely perfect for a nine-year old. I think the Whites Only bathrooms, the Colored section of the Florida ballparks really make an amazing statement. It’s so hard to imagine what the world of 1946 looked like. Well, this is what it looked like.

      And there are tales of courage here. Not just Robinson. Rachel Robinson. Pee Wee Reese. Ralph Franca. Leo Durocher. Eddie Stanky (even if it’s too simplistic in his case). It shows that we all have a role to play as participants or as bystanders.

      There’s two things that may be inappropriate for your 9-year old. And I wouldn’t deign to tell you what’s appropriate for your family.

      One, the Philadelphia manager’s string of invective is simply bone-chilling. And Leo Durocher’s bedroom scene may make you a little uncomfortable as a Dad. (Durocher’s suspension won’t make any sense to him, though an attentive 11-year old would probably have questions about that.)

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      LOTS of strong language. N-words by the dozens, including one scene in which the Philly manager verbally berates Robinson with strings of N-words, yells to the other Dodgers, asking them whose wives JR is screwing, etc. etc. Strong stuff for a nine year-old, methinks.

  10. shaggylocks - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:01 PM

  11. ctony1216 - Apr 15, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Thanks for those two links, especially the one highlighting JR’s role in the Civil Rights era.

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