“Baseball Has Yet to Deliver Greatest Tribute to Jackie Robinson” the New York Times regrets, recalling April 15, 1947, the day he broke the major league color barrier. “The sport celebrates Robinson every year, but with few blacks and Latinos in management, it has resisted the changes he hoped for,” writes William C. Rhoden, adding: “For me, Jackie Robinson Day is a celebration of struggle and perseverance, a reminder that hope and progress in civil rights are often mistimed allies.
There are steps forward, then back, with incremental advances to show for it. The process is frustrating, frequently demoralizing, and shaves years off the lives of the pioneers and activists who have been compelled by conscience or circumstance to challenge the status quo.”
“Created by Major League Baseball to recognize one of the most important individuals in United States history, Jackie Robinson Day commemorates April 15, 1947, the day he broke the major league color barrier,” Rhoden continues. “It resonates more deeply this year, thanks to Ken Burns’s four-hour film on Robinson’s life, showing this week on PBS.
The documentary tells a familiar story with great depth, though this time Robinson’s wife emerges as the heroic pillar of strength for the Robinsons and their three children. Rachel Robinson, now 94, has been the keeper of the flame and a paragon of strength from the time she met him at U.C.L.A. to the morning he collapsed in her arms from a fatal heart attack at their home in Connecticut on Oct. 24, 1972.”
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.