For sports fan everywhere it has been a strange couple of days as games from leagues everywhere and players have decided to postpone their games due to the events in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That’s neither here nor there, but instead this article is about a man who 75 years ago broke the color barrier to play a game, that man was Jackie Robinson.
Every year on April 15th Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson day, but this year due to the pandemic and games being rescheduled it will be held today when the Texas Rangers take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. On August 28th, 1945 then Dodgers President and General manager, Branch Rickey, informed Robinson that he will be playing first base for the Dodgers. If he was ready for the challenges that lied ahead, if he was ready for the responsibility to be a leader on the field and if he was ready to face the fans because in this time there were no African-Americans in Major League Baseball. That was not due to not being talented it’s just parts of America were not ready for that, but Branch Rickey saw the talent, he saw what kind of player he could be and he took a risk even when everyone was telling him this will ruin his legacy. He did not see color that day. Instead, what he saw was a player who could help his team win and in those days that was a gamble that could be life and death.
Jackie’s MLB Accomplishments
In the end, it was all worth it as after a ten year career with the Dodgers, Jackie would end up with 1518 hits, 137 hrs, a batting average of .311, a MVP award, a World Series championship in 1955, and he would later be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Later, in 1997, MLB made the decision to retire his number 42 across all major league teams. He was the first professional athlete in any sport to get that honor. This would have never happened if Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson did not see eye to eye, and thankfully for everyone, we are glad they did.
The True Meaning of August 28
As I mentioned earlier, August 28th was the debut of Jackie Robinson in 1945, but nearly 20 years later another man by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King did his march on Washington and gave his famous “I Have A Dream Speech”. Even though it’s been 57 years since he gave that speech and even though this country is dealing with a lot this year, it can always put a smile on my face thinking about what Jackie Robinson and Dr. Martin Luther King did to make an impact. Now, when we turn on the television and we see a baseball game, we can see athletes from all different backgrounds of life, color, and countries and that in itself has to count for something. These two individuals went through so much just to fight for their cause to make people understand and listen instead of walking away. Without these two and so many others, who were way before my time, that took a chance just for me to have the freedom to chase my dreams without any fear.
We know that the job is still not done and we know that in some parts of the USA their is still hate and anger. However, in the year 2020, if we as citizens can not come together in peace and come to an understanding to respect one another then we must ask ourselves when? When as Americans can we stop hurting each other and killing each other causing pain to families and their loved ones. We as human beings must plead for everybody to stop and think, who are we really fighting? Well, we are fighting ourselves and we are the only ones that can stop it. So, please take care of yourselves and each other.