Join 3,423 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Jackie Robinson Day
April 9, 2007 8:43 PM   Subscribe

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

This Sunday April 15, 2007, Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the breaking of baseball's color barrier. For one day, superstars and managers throughout the sport as well as entire teams will be saluting his memory by wearing Robinson's retired number 42. Robinson is honored for his tremendous leadership both on and off the field (previously), he is remembered for his determination in overcoming racial prejudice and hatred, and for his post-career activities as a civil rights advocate. Perhaps the highest compliment is to say simply that Jackie Robinson was one of the greatest players to ever grace a baseball diamond, but his contribution to baseball, and to equality in America was far greater than statistics and pennants.

"Mr. Rickey, do you want a ballplayer who is afraid to fight back?" "I want a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back!" See The Jackie Robinson Story, starring the man himself. (1:16:29, Google video)
posted by edverb (20 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Trivia: only one active player still retains the right to wear number 42 every day. When he retires (or changes teams), number 42 will never belong to another major league baseball player.
posted by edverb at 8:49 PM on April 9, 2007


Great post, edverb--thank you.
posted by Kibbutz at 8:51 PM on April 9, 2007


of course, the bobbleheads have been obsessed with the fact that the league has regressed since the end of jackie robinson's career as far as the percentage of african american ballplayers is concerned.

not sure what to think of that.
posted by pokermonk at 8:56 PM on April 9, 2007


edverb...

thanks, I 've sent the link for this post on to the Baseball fans I know, as well as those that work with me in educating at-risk young people...

good job! Great FPP!

All of us need to spend a few minutes thinking about what individuals such as Jackie Robinson contribute to our culture....
posted by HuronBob at 9:05 PM on April 9, 2007


It took waaay too long to find the youtube link in there, by the way.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 9:12 PM on April 9, 2007


Terrific post -- thanks! And I think it's only fitting that, as the greatest closer ever, Mo Rivera will carry the number out of the League.
posted by trip and a half at 9:12 PM on April 9, 2007


as the greatest closer ever, Mo Rivera

Outside of the New York market, that distinction is usually reserved for Trevor Hoffman or Dennis Eckersley. Rivera is very, very good; but he's not as good as you people think he is.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:36 PM on April 9, 2007



of course, the bobbleheads have been obsessed with the fact that the league has regressed since the end of jackie robinson's career as far as the percentage of african american ballplayers is concerned.

not sure what to think of that.


that there's a shitload of latin and international players now?
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:36 PM on April 9, 2007


That's a pretty amazing tribute right there.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:06 PM on April 9, 2007


Fitting tribute FPP. Jackie Robinson is still underappreciated, if that is at all possible.

Mayor Curley, that is a damned lie and you know it.
posted by kosem at 10:10 PM on April 9, 2007


Outside of the New York market, that distinction is usually reserved for Trevor Hoffman or Dennis Eckersley. Rivera is very, very good; but he's not as good as you people think he is.

I live far, far away from the New York market. I have an undying white-hot hate for the Yankees and Mariano Rivera. I'm still pissed about the 2001 ALCS.

Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer ever.
posted by dw at 10:24 PM on April 9, 2007


I just realized i have tickets to the Dodger's game on Sunday, so this JR celebration is a nice bonus.
posted by matimer at 10:34 PM on April 9, 2007


not sure what to think of that.

There's been a lot of talk about this recently. A lot of it seems to be explained by football and basketball making significant inroads in areas that were once owned by baseball.

Rivera easily outclasses Hoffman or Eckersley in any market as the "best evar closer". Do I agree that the one-inning closer is kind of bullshit, hyperspecialized role? Yes, I do. Give me guys like Sparky Lyle, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, etc. that had to work 2-3 innings to get a save any day over these latter day one inning, one pitch specialists. As dominating as Rivera is, he's almost always vulnerable if he has to pitch to more than 4 batters in an outing.

/sox fan
posted by psmealey at 3:49 AM on April 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've always thought Jackie Robinson's story was incredibly inspiring. As a kid, I was lucky enough to have a monthly subscription to the Value Books - Jackie Robinson was assigned the Value of Courage. I'm pretty sure those are completely out of print, but there's a really great kids' book out right now called "Dad, Jackie, and Me." Things may not be as good now as they could be, but I love that MLB is doing the #42 comeback, and that Jackie Robinson continues to live in the cultural lexicon. He richly deserves to do so.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:31 AM on April 10, 2007


I could not agree with this piece more. I think baseball lost something valuable when they retired #42 in all clubs. I have no idea about Rivera, but I do know that Mo Vaughn specifically wore that number throughout his career as a personal tribute to Jackie Robinson. When MLB retired the number, it unwittingly did a disservice to his legacy. Now, no other person can make a similar tribute to him and keep his legacy alive, as it were.

I definitely think the powers that be should reverse themselves on this.
posted by psmealey at 4:38 AM on April 10, 2007


Now, no other person can make a similar tribute to him and keep his legacy alive, as it were.

On the other hand, nobody who's wearing the number is out getting DUIs, or fighting fans, or doing steroids, or anything else that would put a stain on it. There's ups and downs to retiring the number across all the majors...
posted by inigo2 at 5:21 AM on April 10, 2007



I definitely think the powers that be should reverse themselves on this.


While I see the point, I disagree -- I think the perfect tribute to his legacy is to allow ballplayers to wear #42 on Jackie's day. If MLB allowed #42 to be worn every day, it would dilute the value of the one day we remember Jackie Robinson.

I think this middle ground (allowing players to wear #42, but only on April 15th) allows MLB to honor the man without the prospect of cheapening the sentiment by commonality, or allowing players to disgrace the number in some way.
posted by edverb at 8:04 AM on April 10, 2007


While I do see the point, I still think it's misguided. How would somebody wearing the number disgrace it in any way? It will always relate back to Jackie Robinson.

I think far more is lost but not allowing someone to choose the number as tribute, and by extension, letting his young fans know why he chose it, than risking that someone disgrace it (which I don't think would happen in any event).

After all, who remembers what Albert Belle's, Darryl Strawberry's or Denny McLain's uniform numbers were?
posted by psmealey at 8:17 AM on April 10, 2007


After all, who remembers what Albert Belle's, Darryl Strawberry's or Denny McLain's uniform numbers were?

Indians #8, Mets #18, and before my time, respectively ;-)

I place the greater emphasis on not diminishing the day by making #42 common, but both sides of the argument have merit.

Several players wear #24 (numbers reversed) to honor Robinson as well. Robinson Cano, who is named after Jackie Robinson, comes to mind. Granted, he's also freeing up his old number 22 in case Clemens comes back, but it still counts.
posted by edverb at 9:42 AM on April 10, 2007


I didn't know that about Cano. That is cool.

/OT When I see someone wearing #24, I assume they're paying homage to Willie Mays.
posted by psmealey at 9:45 AM on April 10, 2007


« Older Martin Strel finishes 3272-mile swim through the A...  |  Recent discussion regarding th... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments