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Thread: Jackie Robinson Day

  1. #1
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Jackie Robinson Day

    1947 - Jackie Robinson goes hitless in three trips in his debut but handles 11 chances at first base, a new position for him, in a 5-3 Brooklyn win over the Boston Braves. Coach Clyde Sukeforth, interim manager and the man credited with first scouting Robinson, guides the team to two wins before stepping down.

    Remember, all players wear 42 today in honor of Jackie Robinson.

    Lots of games all day

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    Games of the Day

    It’s one of those great 12 hour baseball days, starting at 1 PM EDT and ending around 10 PM PDT. The best game of the afternoon involves the Rockies and the Cubs, where ex-Cub Jason Marquis face Rich Harden. Marquis was a solid back of the rotation starter for Chicago, posting a 23-18 record over two seasons with an ERA of 4.57. Harden gives the Cubs another ace, however, as he’s kept his ERA under 2.00 since leaving the Athletics.

    It’s the Andy-Andy game in Tampa Bay as Pettitte of the Yankees face Sonnanstine of the Rays. Pettitte did a great job shutting down the Royals, but the Rays should prove a tougher challenge. (It’s made a little easier by the absence of Longoria.) Sonnanstine’s great control was not on display in Baltimore as he walked four batters in 4 2/3 innings of work.

    Andrew Miller makes his first 2009 start as the Marlins continue to impress in the NL East. He’ll take on new Atlanta ace Derek Lowe. Miller’s relief appearances were not impressive as he allowed five hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings without a strike out. The Braves are using their days off effectively to get Lowe his third start in game nine instead of game 11. Lowe’s added a higher strikeout rate to his game this season with 10 in 11 innings.

    Scott Baker returns to the Twins rotation tonight after recovering from shoulder stiffness. He posted the lowest ERA among the Twins starters in 2009. The all Scott game features Richmond taking the mound for the Blue Jays. His strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed are in line with his minor league record, he just needs to bring down his hits allowed.

    Finally, Matt Cain and Clayton Kershaw battle in Los Angeles as the Dodgers host the Giants. Cain pitched so well in his first start, one run in seven innings, that even the San Francisco offense could score enough runs to get him the win. Kershaw continued his 2008 ways in his first start of 2009, striking out batters at a high rate but walking a lot also. If he finds his control, he’ll be great.


    Enjoy!

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  3. #2
    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Finally, Matt Cain and Clayton Kershaw battle in Los Angeles as the Dodgers host the Giants. Cain pitched so well in his first start, one run in seven innings, that even the San Francisco offense could score enough runs to get him the win. Kershaw continued his 2008 ways in his first start of 2009, striking out batters at a high rate but walking a lot also. If he finds his control, he’ll be great.
    Kershaw was dominant tonight against the Giants. His line: 7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 13 K. This kid is going to be special. He'll win a Cy Young or two if he stays healthy.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

  4. #3
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Nice day for Jackie, apparently not everyone feels that way. Just take a gander at the SD for some opposing POV's.

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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    That's interesting they started him at 1B. You don't hear of a guy moving from 1B to 2B very often. I wonder how that happened with Jackie?

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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Nice day for Jackie, apparently not everyone feels that way. Just take a gander at the SD for some opposing POV's.
    Are opposing points of view bad?

    Personally, I read the thread long before you posted this and I was just going to let it be....but, since you brought it up, I agree that making it mandatory that every player on every team wear #42 was silly, silly, silly.

    I also agree that, if MLB really wants to pay homage to black players, how about focusing on some of the other 'pioneers'. Larry Doby was mentioned as the first AL black player. I grew up in Cleveland watching Doby and, as an eight year old, I didn't know he was black. He was simply a guy that played great center field and hit lots of home runs for my favorite team. He and Al Rosen (he's jewish? what's that mean, Mom?) were my two favorite players at that time. Who knew! (famous shrug)

    Want to honor black ballplayers? Next year, instead of every guy wearing #42, have every team wear the number of the first black ballplayer on their team. I don't know what Chuck Harmon's number was but it might get kids in Cincinnati to ask about him. Same in Cleveland, Boston, Chicago, etc.

    And how about hispanics, some of who were considered 'black' before they became a seperate set? Is MLB going to honor them?

    Those are opposing viewpoints and I think they are certainly valid.

    Rem

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    So long old friend rotnoid's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Have to agree with Rem and the sentiment on the SD that doing it every year seems to cheapen the mystique a bit. I'm fine with recognizing what Robinson did, God knows I'm not half the man he had to be to endure what he did, but we've already been down this road. But doing it every year and bigger and better than last year seems like an image/money move to me.

    As for having kids ask about Robinson, I explain it to my son every time we're at the ball park and he asks me about the #42 being retired. Hasn't every team retired the number 42 already? How is it then OK to wear 42 now? Just asking.? Seems a little bit conflicting.
    Last edited by rotnoid; 04-16-2009 at 02:55 PM.
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Are opposing points of view bad?
    Nope, sure aren't, fire away champ.

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    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Quote Originally Posted by remdog View Post

    Want to honor black ballplayers? Next year, instead of every guy wearing #42, have every team wear the number of the first black ballplayer on their team. I don't know what Chuck Harmon's number was but it might get kids in Cincinnati to ask about him. Same in Cleveland, Boston, Chicago, etc.


    That's a really nice idea.
    Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun

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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro View Post
    That's a really nice idea.
    I totally agree. remdog has the right answer.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

  11. #10
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Harmon wore #10, I'm certain though a few of the teams first black players might have numbers that are already retired by the team for another reason.

    Two years ago they went all out on the 60th anniversary of his first game, I think that they saw (MLB) the buzz it created and they see a chance to have an annual event that can be tied to marketing in the black community as well. Sure it's overblown, it's new and maybe it needs to be toned down a tad or encompass more of the other pioneers in the game. We don't celebrate all the Presidents birthdays or every participant in the Revolution, but part of Washington's birthday is tied to their efforts as well.

    As for the other guys there are two guys who played that same year as Jackie and Larry and they didn't fare as well and they were in a southern city.

    Everyone knows of Jackie Robinson, many folks went out their way to make sure that Larry Doby was mentioned as well this past week as the honoring of Robinsons legacy came to its yearly day on the baseball calendar. This year honors the 60th anniversary of Robinsons emergence and the end of the color line in Major League baseball.

    Also occurring that season was a sudden surge in the games popularity, every turnstile in the game was turning at a healthy click, except one place… St. Louis, but only when the Browns were the home team. In early July Bill Veeck the games biggest promoter followed Branch Rickey’s move and signed Larry Doby, to many it seems that the rest of the season involving breaking the color line stops there .

    But they are wrong, they are missing a big story, one that shows the other side Robinson saga, one fraught with mis aimed plans and poor decisions. One that involves the third and fourth black ballplayers in MLB, one that involves the first black teammates, and the first black man to hit a home run in the American League.

    It all begins with a seven game losing streak, a new owner and a Rickey protégée running a moribund club. To understand the move and it’s appearance from know where you would first need to scan the attendance figures of the Browns in July of 1947. It had been years since the Browns were the hot ticket in town and during the attendance surge it was becoming apparent that they were not the choice for many in town when it came to entertainment, a crowd of 428 for a weekday afternoon game sealed that opinion.

    Bill Dewitt and his brother Charlie ran the team, and it was Charlie who noted the size of the crowds being drawn by the Dodgers as they (and Robinson) appeared throughout the National League, not lost to the Dewitt’s was the increased numbers of black patrons. Also not lost on the brothers was the fact that 1 out of every 7 of the St. Louis population was also black, feeling the pain of the cellar and the pressure of the lagging gate (some contests were so sparsely attended that paying for the lights became the main thrust of evening) the brothers put their heads together and decided to tap the Negro Leagues for some talent, talent that they really hoped would help them at the gate as much as it would on the field, they committed one major error though, they did it without consulting the manager or testing the teams demeanor when it came to bring black players to the border state, in a town that Fred Lieb said, ‘Still had Confederate Sympathies” and “Retained Old Prejudices.’

    On July 17th 1947 the DeWitt’s bought the contracts of three Negro League Players (Kansas City Monarchs) Willard Brown, Henry Thompson and Piper Davis. Davis was allowed to stay in the Negro League while the other two were sent to St. Louis and to the ballpark. Meanwhile at the ballpark manager Muddy Ruel had heard of the new players, just not their skin color, when they arrived he was just as surprised as his players, a mixture of men that were most likely not prepared to being confronted head on with the paradigm they were about to encounter. One player, Paul Lehner who was born and raised in Alabama “reportedly” threatened to jump the club and his late arrival to a contest following the signing of Thompson and Brown was high point of a clubhouse that was already termed by the press as possessing “ a gloom thick enough to make one gasp for air.”

    Thompson was a 21 year old former reform school child who allegedly always carried a gun and had a confirmed drinking problem even then, Brown was reported as a 26 year old slugger by The Sporting News, this was a typo, Brown had been a star in the Negro leagues for years (picked as Bill James Negro league Player of the year 1937)

    In the Puerto Rico Winter League Brown had a pair of Triple Crowns and topped the .400-mark two times and earned the nickname “Ese Hombre” or “That Man”

    He would be voted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in a special election in 2006

    As for the Browns, they wanted to win, Thompson was inserted at second base when he was signed and he made an error (to feel at home is the likely reason) in the Browns 16-2 loss that night. He was officially the 3rd black player in modern times. Brown meanwhile had left his bats in Kansas City and confronted with the overt hatred of his teammates he felt less then comfortable, he finally got a start after a few appearances as a pinch hitter, with him and Thompson in the lineup together they became the first black teammates in Major League history. However during the contest Willard came to the plate with the bases full twice and both time he grounded into a double play.
    After a couple of weeks Willard was still struggling to find a good bat in his new surroundings. Brown (who liked heavy bats) finally found a discarded one once used by another recent acquisition, Jeff Heath.

    Willard who was nicknamed “Home Run” Brown by Josh Gibson had been putting on impressive batting shows during BP, but had yet to find a pitch to his liking in eth American League. In this game with his new bat he stepped to the plate and got his best cut as a Brown, a home run, making Brown the first black man to hit a home run in the American League. Returning to the dugout Heath grabbed his “Discarded” bat and destroyed it against the dugout wall. Hostility was common and it extended to the field where Thompson was faced with no one to warm up with one day when Brown was not on the field, one by one many of his available teammates just shook their head and let the young player look for someone else. Success was short for both, while Jackie won the hearts of many, Brown and Thompson struggled in their appearances. Thompson eventually lost his starting job and Browns high came with a four hit day at Yankee Stadium. The bottom line was the Browns needed help, lots of it and most would involve more fannies in the seats at Sportsman Park. This however wasn’t happening, the team with it’s new black players drew well on the road, pulling in 250 K in a 12 game road trip in Philly, New York and D. C. but at home the team struggled, on the field and at the gate.

    When Brown and Thompson were signed the Browns were 28-51 and 27.5 games back of 1st place, on August 23rd they were 42-77 and 35 games back of first place Brown was hitting .179 and Thompson .256 (with a .346 OB%) it had been over a month since the Browns had inked the duo, they had made baseball history when they became the first black teammates in the big leagues, and it was on this day they became the first black ballplayers to be cut from a major league team when the Browns decided to end their ill timed experiment and let the season that was already lost, choking in the dust it was creating as it fish tailed out of control. Concerning his release Thompson was told by DeWitt that “There are things I can’t discuss.”

    Thompson would reemerge again and would catch on with the Giants in the early 50’s. Brown would continue to play baseball in the Negro and Winter Leagues and eventually finished his career in the Texas League in 1954, knocking 34 Home Runs out before calling it a career.

    So when we remember Jackie we should also remember Willard Brown and Henry Thompson, for they also touched the game in 1947 and that’s a fact that gets lost in the rather large shadow of Mr. Robinson.

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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Robinson's #42 is 'retired' by every team per Bud's edict. They didn't seem to have a problem with that for their own purposes so I don't think that, if a team has retired the number that their first black player wore, it would be a problem for one game.

    I'd actually find it interesting and, think what the announcers could do with it! Every game would have two distinct stories about the people involved. If you were to make that the 'annual event' then, as the years float by, the matchups would usually change and the public watching each suceeding game would have both a greater understanding of the people and the era but also get a fascinating insite to who these men were.

    I'm not saying that Jackie Robinson should be ignored but that there is much more to the tale.

    Rem

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    Knowledge Is Good Big Klu's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Quote Originally Posted by remdog View Post
    Are opposing points of view bad?

    Personally, I read the thread long before you posted this and I was just going to let it be....but, since you brought it up, I agree that making it mandatory that every player on every team wear #42 was silly, silly, silly.

    I also agree that, if MLB really wants to pay homage to black players, how about focusing on some of the other 'pioneers'. Larry Doby was mentioned as the first AL black player. I grew up in Cleveland watching Doby and, as an eight year old, I didn't know he was black. He was simply a guy that played great center field and hit lots of home runs for my favorite team. He and Al Rosen (he's jewish? what's that mean, Mom?) were my two favorite players at that time. Who knew! (famous shrug)

    Want to honor black ballplayers? Next year, instead of every guy wearing #42, have every team wear the number of the first black ballplayer on their team. I don't know what Chuck Harmon's number was but it might get kids in Cincinnati to ask about him. Same in Cleveland, Boston, Chicago, etc.

    And how about hispanics, some of who were considered 'black' before they became a seperate set? Is MLB going to honor them?

    Those are opposing viewpoints and I think they are certainly valid.

    Rem
    According to baseball-almanac.com, Chuck Harmon wore #10 with the Reds. Also, he made his major-league debut 55 years ago tomorrow.

    I never really liked the idea that every team was required to retire #42. While I definitely think that it is good that every club should have something (maybe the date--4/15/47--prominently displayed in the stadium) to remember Jackie Robinson (and other black pioneers in MLB), I have always thought that only the Dodgers should have his number retired, since he only played for them. Of course, I look at the number retirement ceremony as being a sacred thing in baseball. I find it interesting that almost every club (the Dodgers being the obvious exception) displays Jackie's number in a different way than they show the rest of their retired numbers--for example, the Reds show #42 in blue instead of red. The Brewers' display of #42 was also slightly different from the rest of their retired numbers. I find that somewhat ironic, considering what MLB is celebrating with the retirement of #42.
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Quote Originally Posted by remdog View Post
    Robinson's #42 is 'retired' by every team per Bud's edict. They didn't seem to have a problem with that for their own purposes so I don't think that, if a team has retired the number that their first black player wore, it would be a problem for one game.

    I'd actually find it interesting and, think what the announcers could do with it! Every game would have two distinct stories about the people involved. If you were to make that the 'annual event' then, as the years float by, the matchups would usually change and the public watching each suceeding game would have both a greater understanding of the people and the era but also get a fascinating insite to who these men were.

    I'm not saying that Jackie Robinson should be ignored but that there is much more to the tale.

    Rem
    I suppose though this would only be limited to the original 16 franchises, as all the expansion teams had multiple players of color in their first season.

  15. #14
    Knowledge Is Good Big Klu's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    I suppose though this would only be limited to the original 16 franchises, as all the expansion teams had multiple players of color in their first season.
    Expansion teams could wear #42, then.
    Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman. Damn glad to meet ya.

  16. #15
    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Jackie Robinson Day

    I think it's silly every team has to retire #42. There's a lot of political correctness going on here. I don't see other sports retiring numbers of the first black player or a player that didn't play for a given team. When you come right down to it, #3 had the greatest impact on the game and ought to be retired by every team...


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