Every year on April 15, Major League Baseball honors the late Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the major leagues. April 15 is the anniversary of the first day Jackie played in the major leagues. For today only, every uniform worn in major league baseball will bear the number 42 in Jackie’s honor. There will be a video tribute to Jackie before the Cardinals game tonight. The number 42 is now retired permanently – that number will never be used by any team in major league baseball again.
If you have not yet watched the movie 42, I highly recommend you do so. Branch Rickey was the brave owner who decided it was time that an African-American got the opportunity to play ball at the major league level and Jackie was the player he selected. The movie shows the shameful treatment Jackie endured during his first major league season. The ignorance of many of the players in the major leagues and the fans back in those days was incredible. We thankfully live in more enlightened times. The only physical difference between African-Americans and Caucasians is that God used a brown crayon instead of a flesh colored one. And there are so many beautiful shades of brown!
There have been many African-American players in the Cardinals’ lineups over the years – Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Willie McGee, Ozzie Smith, and Terry Pendleton, to name just a few. Sadly, Jason Heyward is the only African-American player in the current lineup. In fact, there aren’t all that many African-Americans playing baseball at all any more – they have gravitated to basketball, football, and boxing. After all the struggles African-Americans have suffered for the opportunity to play the great game of baseball, it’s a shame that there are not that many African-American players any more.
My son and I will be attending tonight’s Cardinals game, so come on by and say hi – we’ll be in section 355, row 5. I know I said my next post wouldn’t be until next week, but the writing muse inspired me sooner. Thanks for reading! See you next time!