Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hail the Holiest of Days for ATBATT - Jackie Robinson Day

Aloha, everybody, 

As many of you already know, the patron saint of ATBATT is the man whom I consider the greatest ballplayer of all time. 



Not because he hit the most home runs, or because he was the best fielder at his position. I chose Jackie Robinson to bless my humble little corner of the blogosphere and I reference him in my nom de blog (Stealing Home) because Jackie revolutionized the game of baseball. 

He played the game darn well, well enough to have an MLB award created because of his talents (Rookie of the Year), he played a key role in the only World Series championship the Brooklyn Dodgers ever won, inspired thousands - nay, millions - to succeed despite long odds, and he did it all with a target on his back, segregated from his own teammates, hated by his peers because of his skin color, and was required to take it. 

The only response his unimaginable task allowed was to be done with the tools of his trade: his bat, his glove and his cleats. 



"After the game, Jackie Robinson came into our clubhouse and shook my hand. He said, 'You're a helluva ballplayer and you've got a great future.' I thought that was a classy gesture, one I wasn't then capable of making. I was a bad loser. 
What meant even more was what Jackie told the press - 'Mantle beat us. He was the difference between the two teams.' 
I have to admit, I became a Jackie Robinson fan on the spot. When I think of that series, his gesture is what comes to mind. Here was a player that without a doubt suffered more abuse and more taunts and more hatred than any player in the history of the game. And he made a special effort to compliment and encourage a young, white kid from Oklahoma." - Mickey Mantle 



Robinson was important to all blacks. To make it into the majors and to take all the name calling, he had to be something special. He had to take all this for years. Not just for Jackie Robinson, but for the nation." - Willie Mays 



 "Give me five players like Robinson and a pitcher, and I'll beat any nine-man team in baseball." - Manager Chuck Dressen
"I liked Jackie Robinson because he was cooll to watch, not because he was black. Every time you turn around, he was hitting a triple or making a great play in the field, or best of all, stealing home." - Cheech Marin

"Jackie was speaking at a drugstore, and I said, 'I'm not going to get this opportunity again, so I better take my chances and listen to Jackie now.' Little did I know, I got front row seats, and next to me was my father." - Hank Aaron

Thanks for everything, Jackie. 
Aloha! 

2 comments: