Tag: Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson Statue to Be Featured at Dodger Stadium in 2016

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Tuesday they’re set to unveil a statue of Jackie Robinson outside Dodger Stadium in 2016. 

According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, California-based sculptor Branly Cadet has been tabbed to create the statue, which will reportedly be nine-to-10 feet tall and based around the concept of “Leveling the Playing Field.”     

“I am so honored to have the opportunity to design a sculpture memorial to Jackie Robinson for the Los Angeles Dodgers,” Cadet said, per Gurnick. “He is an icon of American history being celebrated by a legendary team in a grand city. I’m excited to create a design that is both befitting of this context and pays homage to his legacy as a sports hero and civic leader.”

The statue will be the first at Dodger Stadium, according to the Los Angeles Times‘ Steve Dilbeck. Its location is yet to be determined.

“The Dodgers have a rich history of breaking barriers, and it all began with Jackie Robinson in 1947,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said, according to Gurnick. “Therefore, it is altogether fitting that our first statue at Dodger Stadium be of Jackie.”

Robinson famously broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 following a historic 10-year career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

MLB has paid tribute to Robinson in a number of ways over the past two decades, including the decision to retire his number league-wide on the 50th anniversary of his historic debut. In recent years, MLB has celebrated Robinson’s legacy by allowing all players to don No. 42 on April 15. 

Arguably the most important player in MLB and Dodgers history, it’s fitting Robinson and his many accomplishments will be enshrined for good outside one of the sport’s most iconic stadiums. 

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Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s Bob Kendrick Talks About Historic Impact

Tucked onto the corner of 18th and Vine Streets in Kansas City, Missouri sits one of the more culturally significant museums in the United States.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) tells the story of how these segregated leagues evolved from creation until eventually being fully integrated with Major League Baseball.

Podcast to be Named Later had the privilege Monday afternoon to interview NLBM President Bob Kendrick about the museum, the Negro Leagues themselves, pioneers such as Jackie Robinson and Buck O’Neil, along with the legacy and stories that still mean so much today.

The foremost impression you get from hearing Kendrick speak is his obvious pride. From the first question forward, you discover the smile on his face when all you hear are words.

When asked what he hoped people would take away from the museum, he answered:

“You will walk away with a newfound appreciation for just how great this country really is.”

Kansas City was the birthplace of the modern Negro Leagues. Rube Foster, an extraordinary pitcher in his own right, organized the Negro National League a block and a half away from the museum in 1920 at a local YMCA. His story could (and should) come right out of Hollywood.

“He did everything. A great player, great manager and a great owner. And—believe it or not—he died in an insane asylum.

Kansas City was also home to the Monarchs. Their most famous player—among Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell and Ernie Banks—was Robinson, of course, who played his rookie season there in 1945.

The stars of the recent movie “42,” including Harrison Ford (Branch Rickey) and Chadwick Boseman (Robinson), put on a fundraising screening in Kansas City that drew over 1,400 viewers.

Kendrick explains the impact:

“We could not be happier to see the film be so successful at the box office. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the folks at Legendary Films and Warner Brothers…for making this epic opportunity happen for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.”

The cornerstone of the museum is the “The Field of Legends.”

Twelve life-sized statues adorn this field and are positioned as if they were playing a game of baseball but, as Kendrick explains, reaching it is not easy.

“You have to earn that right and you do so by learning their story. By the time you bear witness to everything they endured to play baseball in this country, the very last thing that happens is now you can take the field. In many respects, you are now deemed worthy to take the field with 10 of the greatest baseball players to have ever lived.”

The Kansas City Royals have also embraced the continued influence the Negro Leagues still play in modern society.

Recently for a Sunday game at Kauffman Stadium, fans were encouraged to “Dress to the Nines.”

Instead of the usual ballpark attire, fans dressed in formal clothing like they did for after-church doubleheaders generations before.

Not only was there an overwhelming response, other clubs with rich Negro Leagues heritage such as Washington and New York are considering such events in the future.

The Museum, and Kendrick himself, portray the establishment and success of the Negro Leagues as a celebration.

When asked why the history of the Negro Leagues was important to remember, his response was short and profound:

“Because it is the history of this country.”

Podcast to Be Named Later was privileged to speak with Bob Kendrick. Listen to the interview here or by visiting the website. Enjoy.

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Matt Kemp: Why LA’s Triple Crown Contender Should Be the Top Story in Baseball

MLB divisions are being clinched, and wild card births are being decided as the clock ticks down on another baseball season.

The American League MVP race seems likely to stoke the fires of debate about pitchers and their place in the MVP voting, and Rookie Of The Year honors seem up for grabs in both leagues. As this season comes to its conclusion there’s certainly plenty to talk about.

So why aren’t more people talking about this? Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers has a very real chance to win the Triple Crown in the National League. Consider this, the last offensive Triple Crown to be won was by Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox in 1967.

The last National League Triple Crown was won by Joe Medwick of the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1937! 

Check out this list: Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Joe Dimaggio, and Stan Musial. That’s an impressive list isn’t it? Not one of them ever won a triple crown. Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams won two Triple Crowns. They’re the only two players in all of Major League history to ever win two.

That brings up to Matt Kemp, who as of Saturday Morning September 24th 2011, has a six RBI lead—119-113—over Prince Fielder. Furthermore, Kemp is tied for the league lead in home runs with Albert Pujols (they both have 37 round-trippers) and is three points, .329 to .326, behind Jose Reyes and Ryan Braun for the National League batting title.

These numbers with less than one week to go in the regular season paint a picture of not just one of the most all-around dominating seasons in recent memory, but also of a player on the cusp of an indisputably historical accomplishment.

Let the MVP debate begin also, because frequently, and with good reason, the MVP award is often given to a player who is on a team that makes the playoffs. The Dodgers have been out of the playoff chase since before the All-Star break.

In fact, it’s been a historically bad season for one of Major League Baseball’s proudest franchises.

The Dodgers are a team of proud tradition dating back to its days as the centerpiece of the burgeoning borough of Brooklyn, NY. A borough that was inundated with a diverse group of immigrants in the beginning of the 20th century that rallied around the Dodgers at Ebbets Field.

A franchise which ushered in the breaking of the color barrier in professional sports by bringing Jackie Robinson to the big leagues in 1947, the Dodgers would continue to be at the forefront of baseball expansion by moving to Los Angeles and bringing baseball to the west coast.

This season has been the worst in Dodger History. It started with the brutal beating of a Giant fan in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium on the night of the home opener. The fan, who is just beginning the long recovery process, was severely injured. Questions regarding fan behavior and stadium security rightly ensued.

The season only got worse as the divorce proceedings between the owners of the team Frank and Jamie McCourt revealed major financial problems within the organization and led to the team filing for bankruptcy and a lawsuit by Frank McCourt against Major League Baseball.

Now, as the season mercifully ends, it appears there may be a very real ray of light on this otherwise forgettable season as Kemp has positioned himself to once again place the Los Angeles Dodgers in the favorable view of baseball history.

The Triple Crown really is an accomplishment to be appreciated. While modern stat geeks may claim that the three categories of batting average, home runs, and runs-batted-in (RBI) aren’t quite as relevant as they were once thought to be, the fact remains that these numbers aren’t to be taken too lightly.

No National League Triple Crown since 1937? Think about how long a period of time that is. Seventy-four years.

The Milwaukee Brewers popped champagne last night to celebrate their first divisional title since 1982. I’m not sure what the Dodgers should do to celebrate Kemp if he can claim the crown this Wednesday, but it’s safe to say that Dodger—and baseball aficionados alike—fans should keep in mind just how rare an accomplishment this is.  

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Roberto Alomar and the 15 Best Second Basemen of All Time

There have been many stand-out second baseman over the course of MLB history. An important position, the second baseman is key in turning double plays and tagging-out base stealers.

While there have been a ton of fantastic fielders at second base, hitting ability is a different story for the position. There are a lot of second basemen that have high hit totals and good averages, but only a select few have shown good power, and even less showed great power.

In fact, power is so rare in this position that the highest home run total by a second baseman is 351, held by Jeff Kent—certainly one of the greatest second basemen of all time.

Here is a ranking the top 15 players of this vital position.

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Guts Enough Not To Fight Back: The Legacy of Jackie Robinson

This essay won the Society for American Baseball Research Negro Leagues Committee Scholarship contest in April 2010.

On April 14, 1947, Major League Baseball was a whites-only sport. Not since the expulsion of black players in 1888 had a non-Caucasian man swung a bat or thrown a pitch in the Big Show.

That changed on April 15, 1947—64 years ago today—when Jackie Robinson suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.

Today it is our duty, both as baseball fans and as Americans, to appreciate Robinson as not just a courageous man and a skilled ballplayer, but as the hero who forged a path for racial integration in all aspects of American society.

An African-American boards a segregated bus in the heart of the segregated South and takes a seat in the “whites-only” section. “Hey, you,” the driver yells, “Get to the back of the bus.” The passenger refuses and is arrested a few minutes later.

At first glance, it is a familiar story, one that my generation learned as an epitomic tale of justice and courage in elementary school. But this event took place in 1944, not 1955; in Fort Hood, Texas, not Montgomery, Alabama; and on an Army bus, not public transportation.

The courageous passenger who refused to cede his seat was not Rosa Parks, but Second Lieutenant Jack Roosevelt Robinson.

Three years before his storied major league debut, Robinson’s actions established a precedent of passive resistance in the face of racism—both for himself and the civil rights leaders who would follow him.

It requires little effort to show that Robinson was a fantastic baseball player. A quick glance at his Hall of Fame plaque reveals that he had a career average of .311, attended six All-Star Games and was named NL MVP in 1949.

But when Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey chose him to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1945, it was not just because of his skill; Robinson had played only one season in the Negro Leagues, and his résumé was not nearly as impressive as those of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. Rickey was looking for something else—something much more important than a slick glove or a smooth swing.

According to Mohandas Gandhi’s doctrine of satyagraha, a man could truly be righteous only if he was both courageous and nonviolent; neither a refusal to take up arms out of cowardice nor a retaliation filled with bravado would ease the hatred in the oppressors’ hearts. This was the philosophy Rickey knew he had to instill in whoever he recruited.

Proving that African-Americans were good enough to compete with white players would not be a problem—anyone who followed the Negro Leagues knew that they had talent. What he needed most was someone who would refuse to show anger and avoid violence at all costs; someone who would deprive bigots of the symbolic enemy they craved. Rickey famously told Robinson, “I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.”

Robinson fit the mold perfectly. When he reached the major leagues in 1947, he braved verbal harassment, opposing teams’ overly aggressive play and even death threats with unflinching stoicism. Fully committed to his philosophy of intrepid pacifism, Robinson even refused to argue with umpires as a rookie.

With his inoffensive demeanor and undeniable dexterity, those who had opposed Robinson’s breaking the color barrier out of paternalistic fear or skepticism were proven wrong. Thanks to his example, several other black players—including Larry Doby and Hank Thompson—had also reached the Big Show by season’s end.

Looking at some contemporary baseball stars, it is clear that not just anyone could have played Robinson’s role. He would have made a terrible impression had he been cursed with Manny Ramirez’ uncontrollable ego or apathetic approach to the game. Robinson would have (in their minds) proved the bigots right had he displayed Kenny Rogers’ short temper or Milton Bradley’s inability to tolerate criticism.

And you can count out anyone who has ever used steroids, androgens or human growth hormones—what would have happened if the first black player since 1888 had been caught cheating?

But Robinson’s legacy goes far beyond his contributions to the game of baseball; he was among the first well-known figures in the American Civil Rights movement to use passive resistance to combat racism.

Think of the most successful integration movements of the 1950’s: the Little Rock Nine, the SNCC’s sit-ins, the Montgomery bus boycott. While integrating professional sports might not have been as important as desegregating schools, restaurants and public transportation, Robinson’s actions must have provided at least a subconscious inspiration for the students, and Rosa Parks was undoubtedly following his example when she refused to give up her own seat 11 years later.

In retrospect, Robinson’s success through pacifism could be seen as foreshadowing for the later stages of the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. was far from the only charismatic figure to display intelligence and passion in the fight for equality; in fact, his doctrine was quite moderate compared to those of his contemporaries, Malcolm X and Huey P. Newton. Yet he is widely remembered as the most successful leader of the Civil Rights movement because of his commitment to nonviolence and his professed love even for those who hated him.

Dr. King developed his philosophy from the scholarly works of Gandhi and Thoreau, yet his overarching goal was the same as the one Branch Rickey imbued in his young protégée: to have “guts enough to not fight back.”

For more of Lewie’s work, visit WahooBlues.com. Follow him on Twitter @LewsOnFirst or @WahooBlues.

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Los Angeles Dodgers: Power Ranking the Greatest Aprils in Dodgers History

In the 127-year history of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, there have been many great seasons and Hall of Fame players, including several outstanding Aprils.

Originally from Brooklyn, the Dodgers not only switched cities, but also changed team names, including wacky names like the Robins, Atlantics, Grays, Superbas, Grooms and Bridegrooms.

The Major League Baseball season begins in late March or early April, and it can be tough to have a successful season without a strong start. As a franchise, the Dodgers have won 22 pennants, the second-most of any team behind the New York Yankees, due in big part to a plethora of great Aprils.

Here are the 10 greatest Aprils in Dodgers history.

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Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson Would Not Back Down: The Tale of a Three-Ball Walk

Power often is correlated with arrogance.

There have been many complaints about the quality of umpiring today, but getting the call right has always been a problem.

Many years ago, the Brooklyn Dodgers were playing the Milwaukee Braves in Milwaukee. In the fourth inning, Brooklyn right-hander Bob Milliken was facing Braves’ shortstop Johnny Logan with runners on first and second. There were two outs.

With the count two balls and two strikes, Milliken checked the runners and delivered a fast ball low and away for ball three.

Umpire Lee Ballanfant waved Logan to first base, indicating that it was ball four.

Logan’s was completely surprised as he remained at home plate instead of going immediately to first base. After the game, Brooklyn’s legendary statistician, Allan Roth, showed his record of Logan’s at-bat to the press, as presented in the New York Times.

“Foul, strike one. Strike two swinging. Ball one. Foul. Ball two. Foul. Ball three”

Ballanfant called the last pitch ball four.

Braves’ announcer Earl Gillespie, had the count as three ball and two strikes.

“When I saw Logan going to first base,” he told reporters, “I thought I was crazy. Couldn’t believe I missed a pitch.”

What is even more unbelievable is that the scoreboard had the count as 2-2 when Ballanfant signaled the score board keeper that the count was full.

The correct count was changed.

The call stood. The Braves had the bases loaded with Eddie Mathews at the plate. Mathews hit a grand slam home run. The Dodgers were livid.

Jackie Robinson led off the fifth inning. He turned to Ballanfant with fire in his eyes and laced into the umpire.

“That was the worst call I ever saw, giving a man first bases on three balls.”

Ballanfant responded with equal venom. “Get in there and hit or I’ll throw you out”

Robinson told the umpire that he had already messed up everything so he might as well throw him out; Ballanfant complied.

Jackie Robinson had a temper, which he was forced to control, but when he knew that he was right, his anger showed.

As he walked to the Dodgers’ dugout after being ejected, Robinson tossed his bat toward the bat rack, but it had been raining. The bat slipped out of his hand and hit the dugout roof, skidding into the box seats. It hit a woman, Mrs. Peter Wolinsky, who was sitting next to her husband, Peter.

Mrs. Wolinsky’s lawyer had the seats directly behind her seats. He was at the game and claimed that getting struck by the bat had left a bump on her head.

The lawyer, James Stern, said neither he nor his client was interest in the money. They were upset, but didn’t hold Robinson responsible.

Stern was quoted as stating: “There is no question but it was ball three on which Logan was given a base on balls by the umpire. The game was a disgrace and should not have a place in the standings of the clubs”

Robinson immediately apologized. A few days later, he was fined $50 by the National League.

Of course, lawyers are similar to umpires. Stern filed a $40,000 lawsuit against the Robinson and the Braves, claiming both Wolinskys were struck in the head by Robinson’s bat.

The claim was dismissed on Feb. 4, 1957.

The Wolinsky’s settled out of court for $300 each.


McGowen, Roscoe. “Robinson, Dodgers Face Threat of Suit in Sequel to Bat Tossing.” New York Times. June 4, 1954. p.30.

“Fans Settle Suit Against Robinson.” New York Times. Feb. 4, 1957. p.28.

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Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson: Better Than New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter

You want controversy? I’ll give you controversy. Jackie Robinson was better than Derek Jeter.

Every American knows why Robinson played in the major leagues for only 10 years. Meanwhile, Jeter is starting his 17th season with the New York Yankees.

Robinson was “given permission” to start to his major league career at the age of 28 in 1947 as the first black player admitted to Major League Baseball. Jeter joined the Yankees when he was 21 in 1995, his first full season coming in 1996. Each was the Rookie of the Year, and though Jeter did not have an opportunity to win it for both leagues, that is what Robinson had to do to gain the honor back in ’47.

Robinson brought an excitement to base running that had not been seen since the halcyon days of Ty Cobb. He revolutionized the game as much as Babe Ruth had done almost 30 years before.

“I saw what Jackie Robinson did with his stealing home plate, and his daring base running,” Hank Aaron once said, according to The New York Times. “He brought excitement to the game. When I was in Milwaukee, we used to play that old, dull game. But, with the influx of more talented black athletes, that Jackie Robinson style caught on.”

Robinson would dance off first base, going just far enough so that he could get back if the pitcher attempted to pick him off.

He was in constant motion. It didn’t matter if Robinson was at first, second or third. He dared the pitcher to throw over to the bag.

Pitchers felt harassed. They lost their composure, which helped the Brooklyn hitters. Pivotmen on attempted double plays hesitated a split second, giving Dodger baserunners that much more time to reach safety.

This is not what Derek Jeter brings to the table.

Robinson had just over 1,500 career hits, but Jeter will soon become the first Yankee to have 3,000 career hits, in just under twice the years played.

Jeter’s defense is extremely difficult to evaluate.

Some consider him an above-average defender who positions himself well, while some have rated him among the worst defensive shortstops of all time.

Robinson played all over the diamond, making it even more difficult to compare their defensive merits, so let’s look at some offensive numbers.

Jeter has batted .314, with a .385 on-base average and a .452 slugging average.

Robinson’s triple-slash line reads .311/.409/.474.

Each averaged 23 stolen bases a season. Caught stealing records were not kept until 1951, but both players have been effective base stealers.

Since Robinson couldn’t start his major league career until he was 28 years old, one can compare Robinson and Jeter from the time the latter reached his 28th birthday.

Again, Robinson only played 10 years.

Jeter has batted .310/.380/.441, in nine seasons since he was 28 in 2002.

Jackie Robinson edges Jeter statistically, both for their careers and after the age of 28.

As great as Jeter has been with respect to “intangibles,” no one in the history of the game had more “intangibles” than Jackie Robinson in my opinion.

It is not difficult to imagine the results if Robinson had started his major league career at the age of 22. The fact that he accomplished so much in a relatively short time period is remarkable.

Derek Jeter is one of the all-time greats. He has avoided controversy, which has helped cement his career as one of the classiest individuals to have played the game. With all that he endured and nonetheless produced, Jackie Robinson had a different kind of class and deserves to be considered on another echelon altogether.


Johnson, Roy S. “Jackie Robinson to Now: A Growing Dominance.” New York Times. Oct. 28, 1982. p. 17.

Baseball Reference

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Black History Month: 10 Ways Jackie Robinson Changed The Game

Even non-sports fans know parts of the story.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the most popular sport in America, and helped change the way the country thought about racial integration. And Robinson’s legacy goes far beyond the already-amazing feat of breaking the color barrier. Herein, ten ways in which #42’s impact can still be seen.

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This Day in Black Sports History: February 4, 1952

When Jack Roosevelt Robinson made his major league debut on April 15, 1947 in front of 26,623 spectators at Ebbets Field, including more than 14,000 black patrons, he became the first African-American player to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier, which segregated the sport for more than 55 years.

But before his life and legacy were sewn into the fabric of American history, Robinson was born in 1919 to a family of sharecroppers in Cairo, Georgia, where his mother single-handedly raised Robinson and his four older siblings.

After moving to Pasadena, California, Robinson’s family lived in relative poverty while Jackie came to learn about discrimination, racism and segregation at an early age, often denied recreational opportunities because of his skin color.

Inspired by his older brothers, Frank and Mack, Robinson would excel nonetheless, winning varsity letters in four sports—baseball, basketball, football and track—at John Muir High School. He went on to play those same sports at UCLA, becoming that school’s first athlete to earn four varsity letters.

Due to financial difficulties, Robinson was forced to leave college in 1941. He decided to enlist in the United States Army, rising to the rank of second lieutenant before he was court-martialed for objecting to incidents of racial discrimination.

Robinson was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 1943.

Two years later, Robinson signed a contract to play for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Baseball League and traveled all over the Midwest with the team for a full season.

One season in the Negro Leagues was all Robinson would need to garner tremendous interest from Branch Rickey, club president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who approached Robinson about joining the organization in 1947.

Then, when he stepped onto Ebbets Field in a Dodgers uniform, Robinson pioneered the integration of professional athletics in America and courageously challenged the deeply-rooted custom of racial segregation in both the North and the South.

In addition, Robinson would go on to have a 10-year Hall of Fame career, batting .311 with 137 home runs, 734 RBI, 197 stolen bases and 1,518 hits.

Along the way, Robinson was a six-time All-Star, winning the 1947 Rookie of the Year Award, the 1949 National League Most Valuable Player Award and a World Series championship (1955) in the process.

During his playing days, Robinson’s impact was also felt off the field. On February 4, 1952, he was hired as the Director of Community Activities for a radio station, WNBC, and the television station WNBT.

Thus, Robinson became the first African-American executive of a major radio and television station.

“It also gives us a chance to combat communist propaganda by showing there are plenty of opportunities for Negroes in this country,” Robinson once said about his new position.

Robinson retired from baseball on January 5, 1957, and in 1962, his first year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Robinson was elected, becoming the first African-American player to be inducted into Cooperstown.

Since his death on October 24, 1972, Major League Baseball has honored Robinson many times.

In 1987, the American and National League Rookie of the Year Awards were both renamed the “Jackie Robinson Award” in honor of the first recipient (Robinson’s Major League Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 encompassed both leagues).

On April 15, 1997, Robinson’s jersey number (42) was retired throughout the league, the first time any jersey number had been retired throughout one of the four major American sporting leagues.

Robinson’s profound impact on the game of baseball is absolutely unquestioned, and his courage and strength can also be viewed as the genesis of the Civil Rights Movement in America.

Click here to read the original article at SportsHaze.com.

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