SportsProf

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Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm Wearing My Jackie Robinson Jersey Today

My wife gave it to me over 10 years ago, and, yes, it still fits well. It's a home jersey, and I've always liked the Dodgers' script and the coloring of the jersey (blue "Dodgers", red numbering).

We have casual Fridays at work (sneakers and jeans), and we're not all that tough on the dress code. I got a few nods, probably because I was bold enough to wear a jersey. I won't overestimate my co-workers' familiarity with my love for baseball or their knowledge of history.

A big baseball fan nodded to me and gave me a big smile.

He knew.

Someone else asked me if I was wearing a "Steve Garvey" or "Ron Cey" jersey.

What?

The big baseball fan e-mailed me a much-discussed lament -- that many players today are ignorant of Jackie Robinson's courage and pioneering, as are many people.

Jackie Robinson was an American original and one of the most important Americans in the 20th century. Yet, as ESPN has chronicled, there are only 75 African-Americans in the majors today. The network also reported from Daytona Beach, Florida, where Jackie played his first game in "organized" baseball (in spring training). As one coach of African-American youths there put it, baseball is fourth in the minds of the local kids, behind football, basketball and video games. Another community leader told the story of the town's trying to start a Little League, and only nine kids signed up.

Jackie Robinson's journey is a key part of American history. So, as we honor his breaking of the color line 60 years ago (April 15, 1947), take a moment to talk to your children, your friends, and your neighbors about what he meant to America. Ask your parents and grandparents, read books by Jules Tygiel, Arnold Rampersad and Jonathan Eig, and think about what he did and what he meant to so many African-Americans.

You'll be glad that you did.

2 Comments:

Blogger Escort81 said...

It's almost impossible to fathom how tough he had to be and how much he had to man up. All that, and a great talent for the game as well. Robinson should be on a coin or a bill. Not to take anything away from Susan B. Anthony, but if she can be on a coin, so can Jackie.

5:20 PM  
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