Talkin’ Baseball: Jackie Robinson Day 2017

Today marks the 70th anniversary of Major League Baseball’s colour barrier being shattered by the late, great Jackie Robinson! From MLB.com:

Saturday will mark the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson taking the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers and breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier, and special activities planned for this Jackie Robinson Day will include the unveiling of the Hall of Famer’s statue at Dodger Stadium, the introduction of a “Trailblazer Series” for girls, the annual donning of No. 42 by all active players and a lot of buzz about the upcoming Jackie Robinson Museum.

In what promises to be an emotional ceremony before the Dodgers’ 9:15 p.m. ET home game against Arizona, Robinson’s 94-year-old wife Rachel and their children Sharon and David will be on hand for the unveiling of a statue depicting Jackie in his rookie season of 1947, sliding into home plate in his signature style. Dodgers owner Magic Johnson, Dodgers President Stan Kasten, and legends Frank Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, Don Newcombe and Vin Scully will among participants in that invitation-only dedication a few hours before the game. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a replica Jackie Robinson statue, with seats available at dodgers.com/tickets.

As has been tradition each year since 2009, MLB will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day with all players and on-field personnel wearing the now-retired No. 42 during all Saturday games. One jersey will be signed by each member of every club and auctioned live on Saturday at MLB.com/42jersey, with proceeds benefitting the Jackie Robinson Foundation.”

This man has always been an admirable individual, displaying the attributes of courage, strength, dedication, selflessness, and humility. According to his official website, he was born to a family of sharecroppers in 1919. His mother single-handedly raised him and his four other siblings. They were a close-knit family, united against the prejudice and hatred they faced from their neighbours as they were the only Black family on the block in the area in which they lived:

Growing up in a large, single-parent family, Jackie excelled early at all sports and learned to make his own way in life. At UCLA, Jackie became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. In 1941, he was named to the All-American football team. Due to financial difficulties, he was forced to leave college, and eventually decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. After two years in the army, he had progressed to second lieutenant. Jackie’s army career was cut short when he was court-martialed in relation to his objections with incidents of racial discrimination. In the end, Jackie left the Army with an honorable discharge.

In 1945, Jackie played one season in the Negro Baseball League, traveling all over the Midwest with the Kansas City Monarchs. But greater challenges and achievements were in store for him. In 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey approached Jackie about joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Major Leagues had not had an African-American player since 1889, when baseball became segregated. When Jackie first donned a Brooklyn Dodger uniform, he pioneered the integration of professional athletics in America. By breaking the color barrier in baseball, the nation’s preeminent sport, he courageously challenged the deeply rooted custom of racial segregation in both the North and the South.”

There will be many events at baseball parks across the USA commemorating this historic day. On Thursday, 13 April, the Seattle Mariners unveiled a statue celebrating our own hometown hero, Ken Griffey Jr. A little-known fact: Ken Griffey Jr. was a prime motivator behind getting all players in the MLB to wear Jackie Robinson’s number, 42, on Jackie Robinson Day. From the Seattle Mariners website:

Ken Griffey Jr. takes immense pride in the fact his retired No. 24 hangs alongside Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in center field at Safeco Field. He relishes his role in getting every Major League player and coach to wear No. 42 now every year on Jackie Robinson Day.
So yes, as MLB celebrates another Jackie Robinson Day on Saturday, Griffey fully appreciates his latest link to baseball’s African-American pioneer as part of the intricate detail of the new statue of his likeness that was unveiled Thursday at the front gate to Safeco Field.

Sculptor Lou Cella included a Jackie Robinson patch on the right sleeve of the seven-foot bronze statue, much to Griffey’s approval. “Like I tell everybody, if it wasn’t for him, when’s the next time somebody would have played?” Griffey said. “For him to sacrifice pretty much his life and go through the trials and tribulations that he had to go through [is greatly appreciated].” Griffey’s home in Orlando is 35 minutes from Sanford, Fla., where Robinson lived during his first Spring Training in 1946 with the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ Triple-A farm club, in a time of considerable racial tension…Griffey was the first player to wear Robinson’s No. 42 as a tribute on Jackie Robinson Day, having the Mariners flip-flop his normal 24 to 42 on the 50th anniversary of the day Robinson broke into the big leagues on April 15, 1997.

Ten years later, when Griffey was with the Reds, he called then-Commissioner Bud Selig to ask if he could again wear No. 42 on the 60th anniversary of Robinson’s historic day since MLB had by then retired the number throughout baseball.

Selig not only granted his approval, he liked the idea so much that the process began where now everyone wears 42 on Jackie Robinson Day.”

Here’s to Jackie Robinson on his day in history. His contributions were many, and should not be diminished.

Protected: Indigenous Peoples’ Day – 2016!

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Monday Musings…31 August 2015

This weekend has been quite eventful, weatherwise! From the Pacific Northwest, to Hawai’i and the Gulf states; from the Bahamas, to the ‘Greater Antilles’ and the ‘West Indies’ …it has been windy, wet, wild and deadly. We didn’t lose power here on the coast, but some of the cities near Puget Sound did.

President Obama is in my home state of Alaska on a 3-day trip, and this part of it makes my heart sing – he plans to restore the name of Mount Denali. From Al-Jazeera:

President Barack Obama will change the name of North America’s tallest mountain peak from Mount McKinley to Denali, the White House said Sunday, bestowing the traditional Alaska Native name on the eve of a historic presidential visit to Alaska.

By renaming the peak Denali, an Athabascan word meaning “the high one,” Obama is wading into a sensitive and decades-old conflict between residents of Alaska and Ohio. Alaskans have informally called the 20,320-foot mountain Denali for years, but the federal government recognizes its name evoking the 25th president, William McKinley, who was born in Ohio and assassinated early in his second term.

“With our own sense of reverence for this place, we are officially renaming the mountain Denali in recognition of the traditions of Alaska Natives and the strong support of the people of Alaska,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The announcement came as Obama prepared to depart early Monday on a three-day visit to Alaska, becoming the first sitting president to travel north of the Arctic Circle. As part of his visit, Obama is attempting to show solidarity with Alaska Natives, and planned to hold a round-table session with a group of Alaska Natives just after arriving Monday in Anchorage.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who had pushed legislation for years to change the name, said Alaskans were “honored” to recognize the mountain as Denali — a change in tone for the Alaska Republican, who had spoken out against Obama’s energy policies in anticipation of his visit to her state.

I was born in the state of Washington, where I currently reside, but I consider myself an Alaskan. My family moved there when I was 3 years of age, and my schooling and formative years were spent there – I moved to the “lower 48” in my 20s. So many memories, though – good, bad, ugly and indifferent. I met my first husband there. My son was born there. I’ve “driven” the Alaska Marine Highway. We’ve been through Yukon Territory, driving along the Al-Can (Alaska / Canada) Highway. Moose and mosquitoes, wolves and bear, salmon and sea lions. Living on a boat. Deer carcass hanging in a smokehouse…fresh venison on the table. Totem poles. Dancing and singing in a longhouse.

I know that climate change exists. The Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau looked vastly changed in July of 2012, horribly shrunken and dirty-looking compared to its gleaming splendor when I first saw it on a trip with the Girl Scouts in August of 1978. Back then, it was huge…the cold air that blew from it was amazing to feel. Massive, icy edifice. There were no chunks of it floating in the waters nearby, then. The pictures I took of it in 2012 clearly show how much recession has occurred…and that saddens me.

I’ll close with the song that always played on the radio during the midnight sign-off – “Alaska’s Flag,” the state song. Here are the lyrics, if you want to sing along.

🙂

Eight stars of gold on a field of blue – Alaska’s flag, may it mean to you
The blue of the sea, the evening sky – the mountain lakes and the flow’rs nearby
The gold of the early sourdough’s dream – the precious gold of the hills and streams
The gleam of the stars in the northern sky – The Bear, The Dipper, and shining high
The great North Star with its steady light, o’er land and sea a beacon bright
Alaska’s Flag to Alaskans dear…the symbol flag of the Last Frontier.

 

“Hold fast…secure the rigging!”

Credit: blog.gwcollegedemocrats.com

So…are you ready for the torrential flood? Are you ready for the onslaught of emotion and cut-to-the-chase intensity? Some are, and some aren’t…c’est la vie, non?

Those who have followed me and can read between the lines get it…and I appreciate them immensely, even if I don’t express it on a daily basis. All the rest are still trying to figure me out and place me in some narrow category. That won’t work. The more you try, the less you know…own it and accept it, and meet me on my grounds – otherwise, don’t even try.

The following links will either make things clear, or they will be lost on those who are trying to overthink things – I could care less either way. I speak pretty plainly. People who don’t understand me have chosen that option for themselves… *SHRUG*

🙄

Credit: dogsanddoubles.com

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