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Thread: Remembering OUR JACKIE......

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Remembering OUR JACKIE......

    On this day, January 31st, 89 years ago, OUR JACKIE ROBINSON was born.

    While he left US much too soon (1972), he did leave all of US with wonderful memories of his incredible life.

    Please share any memories you have of OUR JACKIE on this day.

    c.

  2. #2
    Well I was born 3 years after Jackie passed, but I do have a memory of his widow. When I graduated NYU in 96 she was one of the commencement speakers. The graduation was in the rain and she shared the stage with Steven Speilberg and Robert DeNiero, but she outshined them all talking about breaking barriers and maintaining dignity in the face of adversity.

  3. #3
    shlevine42 Guest
    Some odds and ends about Jackie
    (from ESPN.go.com/sportscentury/features)


    While growing up in the nearly all-white public schools in Pasadena, a guidance counselor listed Robinson's probable future employment as "gardener."

    Robinson wasn't a likable person as a youth, a childhood friend said, "because his whole thing was just win, win, win, and beat everybody."

    In March 1938, the Chicago White Sox played a benefit exhibition with the Pasadena Sox, a group of young players from the city. After the 19-year-old Robinson made a couple of brilliant plays, White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes said, "Geez, if that kid was white, I'd sign him right now."

    Jackie's older brother Mack won a silver medal at the 1936 Olympics, finishing second to Jesse Owens in the 200-meter dash.

    On May 7, 1938, while at Pasadena Junior College, Jackie set a national J.C. record in the long jump with a leap of 25 feet, 6˝ inches, breaking Mack's record. Then he traveled about 40 miles to play in Pasadena's baseball game.

    Baseball was Robinson's worst sport at UCLA - he batted just .097 in his one season (1940) and tied for making the most errors on the team.

    In football, Robinson led the country in punt returns both his seasons at UCLA, averaging 20.1 yards in 1939 and 21 in 1940. He averaged an eye-popping 12.2 yards on 42 rushes in his first season, but only 3.64 in his second.

    After leading the Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division in scoring in basketball with an 11.1 average in 12 league games, he dropped out of UCLA in March 1941.

    In Aug. 28, 1941, Robinson caught a 36-yard touchdown pass for the College All-Stars in a 37-13 loss to the NFL champion Chicago Bears. "The only time we worried," said Bears end Dick Plasman, "was when that guy Robinson was on the field."

    In the Army in 1942 at Fort Riley, Kan., Robinson became friendly with another soldier, heavyweight champ Joe Louis. The two worked out together, played golf and rode horses regularly.

    In 1945, Robinson spent an unhappy season barnstorming with the Kansas City Monarchs. The educated Robinson, a nonsmoker and nondrinker, never quite fit into the boisterous life of the Negro Leagues.

    On April 18, 1946 in Jersey City, Robinson became the first African-American to play in organized ball this century. In his debut with the Montreal Royals of the International League, he went 4-for-5, with a three-run homer. He scored four runs (two after his feints on third caused balks), knocked in four and stole two bases in the 14-1 victory over the Giants.

    Montreal manager Clay Hopper was raised in Alabama and reportedly begged Branch Rickey not to put Robinson on his team.

    Robinson's nicknames in Montreal were "the Dark Destroyer" and "the Colored Comet."

    After the Royals defeated Louisville to win the Little World Series, admiring fans besieged Robinson. "It was probably the only day in history," Sam Maltin wrote in the Pittsburgh Courier, "that a black man ran from a white mob with love instead of lynching on its mind."

    Robinson was a middle infielder before the Dodgers switched him to first base in spring training in 1947.

    In his rookie season he led the National League with 29 steals, more than twice as many as the runner-up, teammate Pete Reiser (14).

    During Robinson's first season with Brooklyn, Jimmy Cannon wrote, "In the clubhouse Robinson is a stranger. . . . He is the loneliest man I have ever seen in sports."

    Phillies manager Ben Chapman was the most vocal of Robinson's tormentors that year. He came under criticism for the vulgar, biting slurs with which he and his team attacked Robinson.

    National League president Ford Frick headed off a players' strike, instigated by the St. Louis Cardinals, that sought to force Robinson from baseball in 1947.

    Robinson's anger contrasted with the calm of catcher Roy Campanella, who joined the Dodgers in 1948. Campanella thought the mercurial Robinson was a bit of a troublemaker; Robinson thought the catcher was subservient.

    Robinson led National League second basemen in double plays from 1949-52.

    He stole home 20 times in his career, 19 in the regular season and once in the 1955 World Series.

    Robinson believed that when Branch Rickey broke down the color barrier in baseball, he "did more for the Negroes than any white man since Abraham Lincoln."

  4. #4
    He was the most important player in the history of the game.
    After 1957, it seemed like we would never laugh again. Of course, we did. Its just that we were never young again.

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    He was also a gracious star, who went out of his way to comply with requests of fans.

    When I was 10 or 12 we used to hang out outside to wait for players and ask them for autographs or hand them penny postcards which they would sign at their leisure and hopefully mail back to us. (most did!) One day after most players had left, Robinson was sighted and a gang of us (probably 15 to 20) ran to him and surrounded him in his convertible. A cop saw us and bellowed us to move, and in those days, when a cop said jump, you only asked "how high." But Jackie interceded and told the cop if we lined up he would sign one at a time, which we did. And he did, and shook the hand of each and every kid.

    Some years ago when I was leaving the BAT dinner going to the garage to get my car, I saw Rachel Robinson walking alone. I introduced myself and asked if I could walk her home, as this was about 11pm on the east side of Manhattan. She said it wasn't necessary; she had been at the dinner; and it was only a few blocks to where she lived. I told her this story of Jackie and she was pleased. And I told her that I couldnot enjoy telling that story in the future if I let Jackie's widow walk home alone, so I proceded to walk the few blocks with her.

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    Bill Russell joins Red Sox's sixth annual celebration of Robinson
    BOSTON -- Celtics great Bill Russell joined a celebration Friday to honor Jackie Robinson at Fenway Park, where the Hall of Fame ballplayer was once given a sham tryout that would have made the Red Sox the first team -- instead of the last -- to field a black player.

    It was the sixth annual Robinson celebration hosted by the Red Sox, who did not integrate until Pumpsie Green played in 1959 -- 12 years after Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    On Thursday, the day Robinson would have turned 89, Russell and Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree spoke to 150 Boston students about the importance of his life.

    On Friday, the two held a panel discussion along with Red Sox vice president Elaine Steward, Washington Nationals part-owner Faye Fields and Newsday columnist Steve Jacobson, who wrote the book "Carrying Jackie's Torch."

    "Jackie was a hero to us. He always conducted himself as a man," Russell said. "He showed me the way to be a man in professional sports."

    The feeling was mutual, Russell found out when Rachel Robinson called and asked him to be a pallbearer at Jackie's funeral.

    "She hung the phone up and I asked myself, 'How do you get to be a hero to Jackie Robinson?'" Russell said. "I was so flattered."

    Jacobson told about how the Red Sox, under pressure from the Boston city council, agreed to hold a tryout at Fenway for Robinson and fellow Negro Leaguers Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams. The Red Sox chose not to sign any of them; it was 1945, two years before Robinson took the field for the Dodgers.

    By the time Russell came to Boston in 1956, he had already won two NCAA titles and an Olympic gold medal. But Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach was still second-guessed for drafting him.

    "People said it was a wasted draft choice, wasted money," he said. "They said, 'He's no good. All he can do is block shots and rebound.'

    "And Red said, 'That's enough,'" he said.

    Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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    Strange, Jackie being honored in Boston. Joe Cronin, "Pinky" Higgins and rest of the crew of bigots are turning over in their respective graves... I wonder why Bill Russell ever steps foot in Boston, after the way he was treated.
    ---
    Pushing on the doors of life marked "pull."
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  8. #8
    Yankeebiscuitfan Guest
    Hey Ralph Zig Tyko, with that NY Giants avatar, you will make a lot of friends here...

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    Hey Yankeebiscuitfan,
    I need all the friends I can get. After all, I loose so many because of the way I understate my opinions. :-)...


    Keep on keepin' on,

    Zig
    ---
    Pushing on the doors of life marked "pull."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Zig Tyko View Post
    Strange, Jackie being honored in Boston. Joe Cronin, "Pinky" Higgins and rest of the crew of bigots are turning over in their respective graves... I wonder why Bill Russell ever steps foot in Boston, after the way he was treated.
    How was Bill Russell treated in Boston? Quiet literally I've always felt he was considered somewhat close to a God in Boston. I've talked to a number of Bostonians from back then, in person/online, and Bill Russell is revered in Boston. Don't let the few imbeciles that may have resented him because of his skin color provide a view of the majority.

    Yankees Fan Since 1957

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    The Red Sox were the last team in the majors, I believe, to sign an African American player. But I don't recall Celtic fans being rude to Bill Russell.

    Does anybody know which team in the National League was the last one to sign a black ballplayer? Not coincidentally, it was the team that gave Jackie Robinson the hardest time, and not coincidentally, it happens to be the worst franchise in the history of professional sports.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donzblock View Post
    I don't recall Celtic fans being rude to Bill Russell.
    They weren't so bad in Boston Garden, but breaking into his home and defecating in his bed wasn't very nice.

  14. #14
    Does anybody know which team in the National League was the last one to sign a black ballplayer? Not coincidentally, it was the team that gave Jackie Robinson the hardest time, and not coincidentally, it happens to be the worst franchise in the history of professional sports.
    Guess that would be the Philadelphia Phillies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yanks0714 View Post
    I've talked to a number of Bostonians from back then, in person/online, and Bill Russell is revered in Boston.
    True, but many of those who revere him as a player wouldn't have wanted him to own a house in their neighborhood. Bob Gibson ran into the same problem when he first went house hunting in St. Louis. Some people had even came forward to the Cardinals when they heard a player was looking for a home --- until they found out he was black.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yanks0714 View Post
    How was Bill Russell treated in Boston? Quiet literally I've always felt he was considered somewhat close to a God in Boston. I've talked to a number of Bostonians from back then, in person/online, and Bill Russell is revered in Boston. Don't let the few imbeciles that may have resented him because of his skin color provide a view of the majority.
    I thought it was the Boston press that was quite negative towards him. I guess that led to the regular people doing the same, but I'd heard that, like Ted Williams, he had lots of problems with the press. I would guess that most of this was racially-related, unlike Williams.

    I'd like to believe that Red Auerbach's interest in black ballplayers backthen may have helped, but I don't know the whole story.

    I'm just pleased that Rachel Robinson called Bill Russell and requested that he be one of Jackie's pallbearers. He was understandably floored by this request.

    Does anyone know who the other pallbearers were for that sad moment?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattingly View Post
    I thought it was the Boston press that was quite negative towards him. I guess that led to the regular people doing the same, but I'd heard that, like Ted Williams, he had lots of problems with the press. I would guess that most of this was racially-related, unlike Williams.

    I'd like to believe that Red Auerbach's interest in black ballplayers backthen may have helped, but I don't know the whole story.

    I'm just pleased that Rachel Robinson called Bill Russell and requested that he be one of Jackie's pallbearers. He was understandably floored by this request.

    Does anyone know who the other pallbearers were for that sad moment?
    I attended OUR JACKIE's Funeral Service on October 27th, 1972, at The Riverside Church in Manhattan.

    The ACTIVE PALLBEARERS were: Bill Russell, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Martin Edelman, Jim Gilliam, Don Newcombe, Arthur Logan, Ralph Branca, Pee Wee Reese, Ray Bartlett, and Joe Black.

    There were also HONORARY PALLBEARERS which included: Willie Mays, Joe Louis, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Cohen, Willie Stargell, Peter Long, Roy Campanella, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Martin Stone, Robert Boyd, Frank Schiffman, Roy Wilkins, Elston Howard, and Kiah Sayles.

    I happen to be doing some work on OUR DODGER history, and had my copy of the Service Program out, so I am able to provide you with the complete listing, Matt.

    You might also be interested in knowing that Jesse Jackson gave The Eulogy, and Roberta Flack sang.

    c.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DODGER DEB View Post
    I attended OUR JACKIE's Funeral Service on October 27th, 1972, at The Riverside Church in Manhattan.

    The ACTIVE PALLBEARERS were: Bill Russell, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Martin Edelman, Jim Gilliam, Don Newcombe, Arthur Logan, Ralph Branca, Pee Wee Reese, Ray Bartlett, and Joe Black.

    There were also HONORARY PALLBEARERS which included: Willie Mays, Joe Louis, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Cohen, Willie Stargell, Peter Long, Roy Campanella, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Martin Stone, Robert Boyd, Frank Schiffman, Roy Wilkins, Elston Howard, and Kiah Sayles.

    I happen to be doing some work on OUR DODGER history, and had my copy of the Service Program out, so I am able to provide you with the complete listing, Matt.

    You might also be interested in knowing that Jesse Jackson gave The Eulogy, and Roberta Flack sang.

    c.
    *THAT*, Dodger Deb, is priceless information!

    There should be a "THUD" smiley where one falls on the floor at getting such great info. I am further in your debt, as if I weren't already in the past!

    I hadn't realized that Jesse Jackson eulogized. I know he'd given something like this for legendary jazz trumpeter/bandleader Miles Davis in 1991 at that Church near Citicorp Center (the Church itself is downstairs at 54th & Lexington in Midtown Manhattan). Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Cosby, Max Roach and many others were there.

    I don't think they could've picked a better singer than Roberta Flack. I'm wondering if her song "The First Time ... Ever I Saw Your Face" could've been molded into one certain *VERY MEMORABLE* event on April 15, 1947. I think that would've been a great thing!

    Of course, we would've also have required Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" song as well.
    Last edited by Mattingly; 02-04-2008 at 01:09 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DODGER DEB View Post
    I attended OUR JACKIE's Funeral Service on October 27th, 1972, at The Riverside Church in Manhattan.

    The ACTIVE PALLBEARERS were: Bill Russell, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Martin Edelman, Jim Gilliam, Don Newcombe, Arthur Logan, Ralph Branca, Pee Wee Reese, Ray Bartlett, and Joe Black.

    There were also HONORARY PALLBEARERS which included: Willie Mays, Joe Louis, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Cohen, Willie Stargell, Peter Long, Roy Campanella, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Martin Stone, Robert Boyd, Frank Schiffman, Roy Wilkins, Elston Howard, and Kiah Sayles.

    Jesse Jackson gave The Eulogy, and Roberta Flack sang.

    c.
    Impressive turnout. Jesse gave a pretty good speech, too, if memory serves me correctly. Wasn't that the speech where he played on the different meanings of the dash that separated Jackie's birth and death dates? (Never mind that he was really talking about a hyphen.) Is there a website that has that speech?

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    Quote Originally Posted by donzblock View Post
    Impressive turnout. Jesse gave a pretty good speech, too, if memory serves me correctly. Wasn't that the speech where he played on the different meanings of the dash that separated Jackie's birth and death dates? (Never mind that he was really talking about a hyphen.) Is there a website that has that speech?
    I don't know if it's the full speech, but since it's from our parent site, I presume that it is:

    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/p_robij5.shtml
    Jackie Robinson Eulogy by Reverend Jesse Jackson

    Today we must balance the tears of sorrow with the tears of joy. Mix the bitter with the sweet in death and life.

    Jackie as a figure in history was a rock in the water, creating concentric circles and ripples of new possibility. He was medicine. He was immunized by God from catching the diseases that he fought. The Lord's arms of protection enabled him to go through dangers seen and unseen, and he had the capacity to wear glory with grace.

    Jackie's body was a temple of God. An instrument of peace. We would watch him disappear into nothingness and stand back as spectators, and watch the suffering from afar.

    The mercy of God intercepted this process Tuesday and permitted him to steal away home, where referees are out of place, and only the supreme judge of the universe speaks
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattingly View Post
    I don't know if it's the full speech, but since it's from our parent site, I presume that it is:

    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/p_robij5.shtml
    For some reason, my recollection is that it was much longer than what BA is showing, but perhaps I am wrong.

    c.
    Last edited by DODGER DEB; 02-04-2008 at 08:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DODGER DEB View Post
    For some reason, my recollection is that it was much longer than what BA is showing, but perhaps I am wrong.

    c.
    It was much longer. Once Jesse got past his own bombast, he delivered a very moving speech.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DODGER DEB View Post
    For some reason, my recollection is that it was much longer than what BA is showing, but perhaps I am wrong.

    c.
    In that case, I stand corrected. If anyone else has the full speech, then I hope that they can post this.
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  24. #24
    Pee Wee Reese (l) and Monte Irvin (r), former baseball players, join other mourners as they leave the Riverside Church where they paid their respects to former baseball great Jackie Robinson Reese was a former teammate who played with Robinson of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, while Irvin was a member of the Dodger's bitter rivals, the old New York Giants.
    October 26, 1972
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    So far, no leads re Jackie's full eulogy. However, here's a nice find:

    http://www.nytimes.com/specials/base...son-index.html (several nice links from the NY Times)

    Jackie's story's at least inspirational to black collegians:

    35TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

    Super Hero
    JACKIE ROBINSON

    Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia, in 1919, when many cities were erupting in race riots. World War I Black soldiers were returning from segregated quarters in the military to increased discrimination at home.

    Two decades later, Robinson, a top UCLA athlete, became the school's first four-letter man. He excelled in basketball, football, track, and baseball.

    When World War II was starting, Robinson, swept up in the fervor, entered the army as a draftee applying for Officer Candidate School (OCS). He was turned down because he was Black. Robinson, not one to take no for an answer, consulted with his friend and fellow draftee World Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis. Louis used his clout to get Robinson accepted into OCS. Robinson became a second lieutenant and spent the rest of the war fighting segregation at bases in Kansas and Texas instead of fighting enemies in Germany and Japan.

    It was during this tumultuous time that Robinson became friends with Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey encouraged the young athlete to use his talents and energies to integrate major-league baseball. According to Rickey, Robinson could help him take a losing team to the winner's circle while breaking the "color line."

    Rickey hated segregation as much as Robinson. Rickey had once seen a Black college player turned away from a hotel. He got the player a cot in his room. Rickey never forgot seeing this player crying because he was denied a place to lay his weary head just because of the color of his skin. Rickey wanted to change things, and he saw a way to do just that with the talented, poised Jackie Robinson.

    Robinson played shortstop with the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs, and he never lost sight of his ultimate dream, to play with Rickey's Brooklyn Dodgers. Finally, Rickey's scouts caught up with Robinson and invited him to come to New York.

    Told of the immense difficulties he would face if he played with an all-white team, the ever-confident Robinson agreed anyway. He gave his word he would never be part of a racial incident, and he kept his promise despite a lifetime of standing up to bigotry. Robinson had to endure fans calling him ugly names. Players, even sportswriters, defamed him with catcalls and verbal abuse. But Robinson didn't fight back. He knew his actions could ruin the chances of other African-American players. Besides, he had given Branch Rickey his word.

    After a year with the Dodgers' top farm team, the Montreal Royals, Robinson displayed amazing skill, winning the hearts of many who saw this Black wizard play ball. In his very first game, he hit a three-run homer. That year, the team won the Little World Series. After Robinson's last game in Montreal, the crowd stormed the field, recited Robinson's name repeatedly, hoisted him on their shoulders, and paraded him around the field.

    In 1947, after officially joining the Dodgers, Robinson was named Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News magazine. He helped the Dodgers win a National League pennant. Robinson also led the league in stolen bases and hit .297. This was the beginning of a series of accolades he would garner in his brilliant 10-year career with the team. Ford Frick, who was president of the National League, gave Robinson a Silver Bat award for winning the National League batting title in 1949.

    In 1949, the same year he captured the National League Most Valuable Player Award, two former teammates from the Negro leagues joined him on the All-Star Team—Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe. Robinson was still receiving threats on his life for playing a "white man's game," despite his great success. Robinson responded to a hate letter by hitting a home run in the next game he played.

    In 1955, the Dodgers won the World Series— a feat that Robinson called "one of the greatest thrills in my life." In 1957, at age 39, he retired with a lifetime batting average of .311. And in 1962, Robinson became the first African American elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame.

    Robinson went on to become both a civil rights activist and businessman. On the business end, he became vice president of a company called Chock Full O'Nuts. Now that other Blacks had joined him in integrating baseball, he was free to actively fight discrimination. His activism caught the attention of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesse Jackson, both of whom consulted with him on a variety of social justice issues. Additionally, Robinson continued to be a staunch supporter of the NAACP. Robinson's quest for economic justice for African-American entrepreneurs inspired him to reestablish the Freedom National Bank in Harlem in 1964, which was owned and operated by Blacks.

    Early in 1972, the Dodgers retired Robinson's number 42. Robinson died of a heart attack on October 24, 1972, in his Stamford, Connecticut home just a few days after he threw out the first pitch at the 1972 World Series. The Reverend Jesse Jackson eulogized the trailblazing athlete at the funeral. Robinson's ideals and values are kept alive today through the Jackie Robinson Foundation, a nonprofit organization launched in 1973 by Rachel Robinson, his widow. The organization provides leadership development and education for underprivileged youths.

    From Great African Americans. Copyright, Publications International, Ltd.
    Last edited by Mattingly; 02-04-2008 at 10:50 PM.
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