Jackie Robinson Day Is Awesome Even If It's Kind Of Confusing Everyone Wears The Same Number
Today’s April 15th which means two things: (1) you should have filed your taxes by now and (2) it’s Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball. Or for some of you it’s the one time each year you get extremely confused because literally every player, manager, coach is wearing #42. Jackie Robinson Day you say to yourself quickly as you internally debate whether or not it’s okay to complain about everyone wearing the same number.
Btw – it’s not okay. The Man earned his day and that’s exactly what we’re celebrating. Jackie Robinson was a bad, bad man.
Did you know he didn’t crack the big leagues until age 28? Or that he didn’t even play age 21-26 because he was busy being a 2nd lieutenant in the Army during WW2? Or that he was arrested and court martialed as a 2nd Lieutenant for riding in the front of an Army bus as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1944?
It was an extremely fucked up time:
BUT… because he got court-martialed, he wasn’t with his tank unit in combat. He was instead transferred to a base in Kentucky to work in the Army athletics department until receiving an honorable discharge in November. It was in those 3-4 months that someone on the base told him to write the owner of the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues and ask for a tryout.
Literally, the rest is history:
He played 10 years from age 28-37 averaging 6.1 WAR/year which is about 20% better than A-Rod in the same period of his career (5.2). Take out a World War and the collusion that kept him out of MLB in the first place and there’s no reasonable argument against him being one of the best statistical players of all time.
But honestly none of that matters in context of what he endured. By far and away the most impressive accomplishment is that he went out and played every day against all the hate. It’s one thing to get a mean tweet, it’s another thing to face daily death threats and systemic hatred
Heavy stuff aside, it’s also a time to share this all time classic Vin Scully highlight where he flawlessly weaves a Jackie Robinson story around a Ted Lilly 1-2-3 inning. So Jackie says to me… two hopper to Gordon, over to first for the second out… I’ve never nice skated.
Never forget Vin Scully was alone for all those years. Just an absolute content factory.
Anyways, remember tonight when you see all those 42’s that Jackie Robinson used to fuck people up and is worth every ounce of love, attention and respect he always gets. And not for nothing, he kinda was the original El Mago: