Friday, April 15, 2016
I love baseball like no other sport. Sitting in a stadium watching a ball game is my greatest joy. It has been since the day in 1964 when my Dad took me to Wrigley Field and we saw the Giants beat the Cubs. God I still remember that day because it was the beginning of my addiction to a slow, boring, tedious activity that most people under the age of 50 don't care about. But I do. And part of that addiction is the sport's history.
Baseball pictures tell its story better than any other sport. What's the first NFL picture anyone cares about? It probably came in 1956 or so. Basketball? Come on, 1962 at best. Hockey,please. But baseball. The pictures are timeless.The above picture has always been in my Top 5. The sight of Jackie Robinson stealing home in the 1955 World Series is thrilling. And ominous. Wow!
Jackie Robinson Day is today in MLB.
Jackie Robinson is in again this week. The Ken Burns documentary aired this week on PBS and if you missed it, your loss. Jackie Robinson is perhaps the bravest American who ever lived. Whatever Jackie Robinson did from 1947 to 1956 was one of the most important things in American history. This man did more to change America (yeah not for the better, Trump supporters) than MLK or X or Farmer or anybody did. Jackie Robinson was the most important civil rights leader who ever lived. And he didn't even try. He just was.
Jackie Robinson stopped playing ball the year before I was born. But his presence allowed my favorite players to play. Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Willie McCovey all had tough roads for sure but Jackie took the bullet first. And for that, Jackie Robinson is my favorite player ever.