• TheCommish

Jackie Robinson Day

Today is not what it should be. When I think of Jackie Robinson day I think of baseball. There is no better way to pay respect to what Jackie Robison did for the sport and baseball and the African American Community in sports than playing ball. Unfortunately with our current circumstances that is not an option right now. Though there are still posts on social media and players trying to do their part it is not the same. I do hope when the sport of baseball returns they devote a day to play ball where all players don the #42 in out of respect for Jackie Robinson. Jackie did more than just expand the game of baseball, he opened eyes around the country. He showed the world that African Americans had just as much of a god-given right to play sports as white people do. Jackie's story runs way deeper than baseball. Jackie was a well-rounded athlete competing in basketball, football, track, and baseball when he was younger. This makes sense seeing his brother, Mack Robinson, won a silver medal in track and field in the 1936 Summer Olympics. Little do many know that Robinson served in the military from 1942-1944. Jackie's service in the military was not as perfect as his major league career, unfortunately. Robinson was in the 761st "Black Panthers" Tank Battalion stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. Robinson's service was on halt while he was awaiting test results on his ankle that he injured while playing in Junior College. During this time Jackie boarded a bus, and while doing so he was told to go to the back of the bus. Robinson refused the command of the bus driver because it was well known the Army had an unsegregated bus policy at that period in time. Jackie got his wish and got to sit where he pleased, but afterward was taken into custody by the military police. After Robinson's Commander refused to enact legal action against Robinson he was reassigned to a new Battalion where that Commander went on to charge him with many offenses such as public drunkenness, which is an absolute disgrace, not to mention it was well known that Robinson did not drink. Jackie never saw combat action with 761st "Black Panther" Battalion because of his court-martial proceedings. The 761st went onto be the first all-black battalion to serve in WWII. After the dust settled Jackie received an offer to play for the Kansas City Monarchs, a negro league team. From there, Robinson only got better and better. He was eventually offered a contract from the Brooklyn Dodgers which Robinson signed on November 1st, 1945. Robinson made his debut on April 15th, 1947 for the Dodgers. Jackie ended his career hitting .311 with 137 homers and 197 stolen bases. His infamous theft of home plate against the Yankees on September 28th, 1955 much to the chagrin of Yankee backstop Yogi Berra who was in disbelief at the call by the home plate umpire ruling Jackie safe at the plate. Was he safe? Jackie says yes, Berra says NO. Here we are nearly seven decades after Jackie's playing days have been over and his impact on the game is just as strong as ever. Without Jackie Robinson, this game we all have all come to know and love would not be the same. Without Jackie Robinson who knows if African American players would have had the courage to stick up for themselves and let their game speak for them. We all thank you, Jackie, for your courage, hard work, and guiding beliefs that left your long-lasting mark on the sport of baseball. - The Commish

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