Friday, April 15, 2016

How Jackie Robinson Did in his Major League Debut - and Jackie Cardboard!

Aloha, everybody,

Today is a very special day for the Dodgers and their fans, but more than that, it's an important day for all of baseball. 

Maybe you've heard, today marks the 69th anniversary of Jackie Robinson making his major league debut, and more importantly, his shattering of baseball's color barrier against African American players. 

Here's how that day unfolded...

Jackie started in the Dodgers organization as a second baseman, but he opened the 1947 season at first base against the Boston Braves. 

 Jackie got the first put out of the game when Dick Culler grounded to third base. Fellow Dodgers rookie Spider Jorgansen threw the ball to Jackie for the out, and he was now a big leaguer. 

 Robinson batted second, behind Eddie Stanky. In his first major league at bat, Jackie faced legendary Johnnie Sain. The legend easily got the rookie to ground out.

He hit a fly ball out in the third inning, and then hit into a double play in the fifth. 

 Robinson came up again in the seventh, with  the Dodgers trailing 3-2. Stanky had walked and was on first base. 

Jackie came up and bunted. He flew down the line, causing Earl Torgeson to hurry his throw, which hit Robinson in the back. Both runners were safe, and came around to score on Pete Reiser's double.

 That was the end of the day for young Jackie, as he was replaced by Howie Schultz "for defensive purposes". 

Later the Dodgers realized Jackie was the best glove to have on the field, and Schultz, the man who had replaced Jackie that day, was soon sold to the Phillies. 

The Dodgers' announcer, Red Barber mentioned Jackie's inclusion in the game as casually as he spoke about any other player. The next day the New York Times barely mentioned Robinson, as he was not much of a factor in the outcome of the game. 

There wasn't much of a mention about color barriers or baseball revolutions at the time. 

They didn't acknowledge it very much that day, but today ALL of baseball will acknowledge and embrace it. Every player in every game will wear Jackie's number, 42. 

 I'll be going out to Chavez Ravine tonight for Jackie Robinson Day to see the Dodgers vs Giants, and Clayton Kershaw vs Madison Bumgarner, with both teams tied for first place in the National League West. It should be a great game. 

The Dodgers are also giving away Jackie Robinson jerseys, so tonight we'll all be number 42 - even me! Aloha! 

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