Tomorrow baseball is going to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking the color barrier. I am sure we are going to see a lot of articles celebrating the historic milestone set by one of the greatest Bruins of all time. I wanted to share with you one of them that moved me:
"Jackie tried to be gracious, but he was really nervous," Newcombe told Platt. "Jackie was afraid of how well he was or was not going to do and he didn't do very well that day. But he was out there in a Dodger uniform, playing a strange position at first base, which was another worry for him. But he was the kind of man who had no fear for no man or no problem that was going to face him."
Coffey noted that Rachel was "wary, feeling equal parts excitement and trepidation. It was the beginning of an experiment, and if you are mature and realistic, you know experiments don't always work."
The first pitch was imminent. Baseball's color line was about to be broken. "Robinson trotted out to first base in the top half of the inning, a smile creasing his face," Eig wrote. "The Braves sent their first batter, Dick Culler, to the plate. Culler hit a ground ball to third base, where Jorgensen scooped it up and threw to first. Robinson squeezed it for the out. It was a simple catch, but the crowd expressed its delight as if they'd never seen anything quite like it.
For all the details on tomorrow's festivities at Chavez Ravine (and nation wide) make sure to check out the coverage on Dodgers official team site (BTW they are in first place!). As bruinbabe pointed out below all the Dodger players are going to wear number 42:
Robinson will be honored in each of the 15 ballparks where games will be played this April 15, but the big ceremony will be in Chavez Ravine, six decades and 3,000 miles from Flatbush and tiny Ebbets Field, where Robinson went out to play first base. The Dodgers defeated the Boston Braves that day and the grand old game was never the same.
Commissioner Bud Selig will be there. So will Rachel Robinson, Jackie's seemingly ageless widow and the founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which offers college scholarships to underprivileged minority students. And when the Dodgers take the field to play the Padres, each and every one of the starters will have on his back the famous No. 42. That's the number Selig retired on the occasion of Robinson's 50th anniversary in 1997, but was "unretired" by the Commissioner's proclamation for the day on Sunday.
Unfortunarely the coverage on UCLA's athletic department and administration have been shamefully very bland. I happen to think our athletic department could be doing lot more than just this to honor one of the immortals sons of Westwood:
What is stopping our football program from honoring the legacy of Jackie Robinson (a legacy which Dorrell used/flaunted to land his head coaching gig) during next Saturday's spring scrimmage.
What is stopping the Morgan Center from honoring the legacy of Robinson through all its athletics programs including basketball and track & field in which Robinson left his mark. If the UCLA Sports Information Department had shred of professional savvy they would make sure to release statements from Savage, Dorrell, Howland, and all other UCLA coaches honoring number 42. But as usual most of the officials from Morgan Center are a day late and dollar short.
Oh well ... we will try to do our part by paying our tribute to one of our greateast heroes from Westwood.