Here’s to you, Jackie Robinson

It’s tax day and also Jackie Robinson day in baseball.  April 15.  I don’t think you could have given Jackie a worse day to commemorate him on, but that’s just me.

I obviously never got to see him–heck, he died well before I was born–but I remember hearing stories of him playing.  My dad had that famous photograph of when he stole home in the World Series framed and hanging in his office and, later, in the living room.

But throughout my youth, I only knew Jack as the breaker of the color barrier.  I had no idea how great he was.

And boy was he!  He had a career line of .311/.409/.474.  At second base.  And with decent defense, if legend is correct.  He had a career walk rate of 12.8% and a career K-rate of 6.0%.  His career wOBA was .412–Alex Rodriguez, who has a shot at retiring as the all-time home run king, is at a solid .411 right now.

So not only did he break the color barrier, but he was one of the best players of his generation.

I wish that was told about Jackie, sometimes.  I wish the legend of just how great he was was mixed properly with the reason why he was honored, like Roberto Clemente.

But at least he’s remembered.  Here’s to a great baseball player and one of the greatest men of his generation.



Filed under Jackie Robinson, MLB, MLB history

3 responses to “Here’s to you, Jackie Robinson

  1. You’re right. I didn’t know those stats either. It’s almost disrespectful not to include that with the usual “first black in baseball” litany.

    • I agree. Baseball falls over itself to show its anti-racism and likes to think of itself as the canary bird before Brown v. Board of Education, which is … kinda not true, but w/e. Selig’s made it pretty clear Jackie Robinson Day is only to commemorate the breaking of the color barrier. Now even the baseball players are feeding that, when black baseball players are asked what they think of Robinson and say “I wouldn’t be here without him.” Never any mention of how good he was.


      • That’s a gross over-generalization on my part, that all black baseball players say that, but I should say I haven’t seen any baseball players period acknowledge how great Robinson was.

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