Friday, April 15, 2011

On this day 64 years ago, a black man made racist baseball fans and players very mad


That black man was Jack Roosevelt Robinson. Today we celebrate his major league debut--the day the color barrier in baseball was broken.


On April 22nd, 1947, in just his fifth game in the major leagues, Robinson's Dodgers played the Phillies. During the game, the Phillies players called Robinson a "nigger" and said he should "go back to the cotton fields". Phillies manager Ben Chapman, Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey later reflected, "did more than anybody to unite the Dodgers. When he poured out that string of unconscionable abuse, he solidified and united thirty men."  

As a Phillies fan this bit of history brings me a great deal of shame. But if it is any consolation, Robinson went 2 for 4 with a stolen base and a run scored that day. That run would prove to be decisive; his Dodgers won 1-0.

And if it is any further consolation, with Chase Utley on the disabled list, the Phillies currently feature a starting 8 with nary a honkey to be seen. 

Justice.

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