Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



Vintage Video: Remembering Jackie Robinson 2

Posted on April 14, 2017 by Dean Hybl
The first Jackie Robinson Day was held on April 15, 1997.

The first Jackie Robinson Day was held on April 15, 1997.

As the years since Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, 70 years to be exact, continue to grow, it becomes harder for the increasing number of people who do not remember a time when the color of ones skin eliminated a person from consideration for “America’s Pastime” to understand just how significant and difficult an action it was for Robinson and those who helped him break the color barrier.  That is why 20 years ago, April 15, 1997, Major League Baseball forever retired the number 42 jersey of Jackie Robinson and set up an annual day to honor his legacy across the league.

In recognition of Jackie Robinson’s first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947 and the first “Jackie Robinson Day” on April 15, 1997, we have below some video links to remember this American hero and the day set aside to recognize his accomplishments.
Read the rest of this entry →

Major League Baseball Honors Jackie Robinson Today 6

Posted on April 15, 2016 by Mike Raffone

MIKE Comic 125 Jackie RobinsonOn April 15, 1997 Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig mandated an unprecedented edict. It was never before witnessed in any American professional sport.

Selig ordered all Major League Baseball teams to officially retire the #42 jersey in honor of Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson.

Selig’s historic move recognized Jackie Robinson on the 50th anniversary of his 1947 debut. On that day Robinson became the first black baseball player in the modern era to cross the color barrier that existed in the sport.

It’s hard for us to image today, but Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson’s bold, courageous decision to break the color line in 1947 opened the gates for other worthy, yet unfairly discriminated against, black baseball players.

Thanks to Robinson, other talented black baseball players quickly followed and begun playing on other previously all white teams in Major League Baseball.

As a player with the Brooklyn Dodgers, #42’s fortitude also kindled dialogue beyond the baseball diamond when it came to our country’s ugly segregation policies. Many attribute that Robinson’s brazen baseball move of crossing the color barrier helped propel the long overdue and ultimately successful Civil Rights Movement.

The Movie 42 Tells Robinson’s Story

Robinson’s heroic and individually spectacular personal life story was told in the motion picture 42 (release date: April 2013). It chronicled Robinson’s struggles and success as one of America’s most respected athletes ever.

When he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 as a 28 year-old rookie, #42 overcame significant public scrutiny as well as regular cruel and unnecessary racial abuse. He was the target of ugly taunts, knock-down pitches and hateful insensitivity directed at him because of his skin color.

However, the Dodgers’ tough talking manager Leo Durocher took a firm stand in defense of Robinson. Also, legendary Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reece’s comment in support of Jackie Robinson will never be forgotten. While standing with his arm draped around Robinson’s shoulders, Reece said, “You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them.”

The son of a Georgia sharecropper and a Southern California domestic laborer, Jackie Robinson immediately proved his mettle and demonstrated his athletic excellence. Despite the racial abuse he suffered, Robinson rose above the fray.

Instead of fighting back on the low ground, he immediately made an impact on Major League Baseball and quickly became a rising star.

Robinson was voted Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year in 1947. Soon after, he won both the National League batting title and the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949.

Jackie played his entire ten year career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. A first-time ballot Hall of Fame inductee, Robinson’s career accomplishments included six all-star games, a World Series Championship in 1955 and impressive lifetime stats of a .311 batting average, 1,518 hits, 137 home-runs, 734 runs batted in and 197 steals.

In addition to being selected to Major League Baseball’s All-Century team, Jackie Robinson was named #44 on The Sporting News’ list of top 100 baseball players ever.

As a result of what he accomplished after formally hanging up his baseball cleats in 1956, this remarkable athlete became a cultural icon.

Robinson is widely admired and credited for overcoming other barriers beyond the baseball diamond. He broke additional color lines that existed in mainstream America at the time.

Jackie Robinson Broke Through Other Racial Barriers

ABC Sports hired Jackie Robinson as the first ever black sportscaster ever to cover Major League Baseball. In the late 50s, Robinson crossed a business barrier and became the first ever black Vice President of a major United States corporation when appointed by Chock full ‘o Nuts Coffee.

Before his death in 1972, Robinson accumulated a never-to-be duplicated resume as a distinguished retired athlete.

Besides his Major League Baseball Hall of Fame induction, Robinson chaired the NAACP.

Plus, he received our country’s two single greatest non-sports related individual honors; i.e. the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

TIME Magazine named Jackie Robinson among the top 100 most influential people of the 20th Century.

TIME Magazine’s ranking not only honored a most worthy athlete, but also a courageous American who helped transition our country away from its ugly discriminatory past.

MIKE on sports!

Jackie Robinson Displayed Greatness On and Off the Field 66

Posted on April 15, 2012 by Dean Hybl
Jackie Robinson made his Major League Baseball debut on April 15, 1947.

Jackie Robinson made his Major League Baseball debut on April 15, 1947.

Editor’s Note: In honor of today being the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier I am reprinting an article I originally published in recognition of the anniversary a year ago.

I am learning that one difficult challenge of being a parent is explaining to our children pieces from past history that are inconsistent with how we want them to think and experience daily life.

Recently my five-year-old son and I were watching a section from the wonderful Ken Burns Baseball documentary. The section first focused about baseball during World War II and then about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947.

Because he is growing up in a time and culture where racism isn’t a noticeable part of daily life and he has been fortunate in his short life to meet and regularly interact with many people from all backgrounds and races, it was very difficult for him to grasp that there was a time in our country when discrimination was part of the norm in certain places and where not everyone was given the same opportunities.

While trying to give him enough information to explain why Jackie Robinson was a special person and should be celebrated, I found myself focusing on how great Robinson was as a player, rather than simply focusing on his crucial role in breaking racial barriers. Not that I was trying to shield him from the ugly elements of America’s past, but rather because it was easier for him to understand and because what I want him to know as he moves forward with his own life is that people are judged and celebrated for their achievements, performance and success and that skin color isn’t an important part of that equation.

When you think about it, that is probably one of the greatest components of Jackie Robinson’s legacy. He paved the way for us to be able to judge greatness not based on ethnicity or race, but instead on how someone performs in whatever area in which they participate.

There are certainly still racial issues within our country, but while it is important for my son and all children to know and understand our history, things will continue to change as more generations of youngsters live through times where, to quote Martin Luther King Jr., “they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”

It was 64 years ago today that Robinson played his first game as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The future Hall of Famer didn’t get a hit that afternoon, but his mere presence forever changed professional baseball and American society.

During his rookie season, Robinson hit .297 and was named the National League Rookie of the Year.

Despite being 28 years old at the time of his major league debut, Robinson played 10 seasons for the Dodgers and helped them reach the World Series six times and claim the World Series title in 1955. He had a career batting average of .311 and was named the NL MVP in 1949.

In honor of Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball, we are including several Youtube videos that celebrate his greatness both as a baseball player and as the man who paved the way for baseball to truly become the American pastime.

Read the rest of this entry →

Jackie Robinson Paved the Way 3

Posted on April 15, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Jackie Robinson made his Major League Baseball debut on April 15, 1947.

Jackie Robinson made his Major League Baseball debut on April 15, 1947.

It was 63 years ago today that Jackie Robinson played his first game as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The future Hall of Famer didn’t get a hit that afternoon, but his mere presence forever changed professional baseball and American society.

During his rookie season, Robinson hit .297 and was named the National League Rookie of the Year.

Despite being 28 years old at the time of his major league debut, Robinson played 10 seasons for the Dodgers and helped them reach the World Series six times and claim the World Series title in 1955. He had a career batting average of .311 and was named the NL MVP in 1949.

In honor of Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball, we are including several Youtube videos that celebrate his greatness both as a baseball player and as the man who paved the way for baseball to truly become the American pastime.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Follow Us Online

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Musso: From Longshot to Hall of Famer
      August 5, 2017 | 4:52 pm
      George Musso

      George Musso

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month went from small college long shot to Pro Football Hall of Famer.

      When George Musso finished his college career at Millikin College in 1933, Chicago Bears coach George Halas offered the 6-foot-2, 265 pound lineman a tryout and eventually a $90 per game contract, but had serious doubts whether he could make the transition from small college football to the NFL.

      It took a year for Musso to adjust, but by 1935 he was an All-Pro tackle. Two years later, he moved to guard and again earned first team All-NFL honors. He became the first player in NFL history to earn first team All-League honors at two different positions.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Sign up for Email Updates

    Sign-up to get daily updates of all the great articles and information on Sports Then and Now.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Affordable Satellite TV Great prices on Dish network packages.

  • Gear up for your next trip with new North Face Backpacks from SportsUnlimited.com. Shop great Field Hockey Sticks from Grays & Gryphon.

    Football Jerseys

    Cold Stone Franchise
  • Current Poll

    Which Rookie Quarterback Will Start More Games in 2017?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top