Friday, April 15, 2011


Today is Jackie Robinson Day. It's a day I'm very excited about, but it's hard to express something meaningful without sounding clichéd or sappy. My son is reading a biography of Jackie Robinson right now. I am hoping it impacts his view of baseball, because after attending a baseball camp last fall in which he was the only African-American kid, he told me "baseball's a white kid's sport." I tried to tell him it's not. I recited a laundry list of black players in MLB today. But the truth is the number of African-Americans in baseball has been declining for a long time. It's good to see programs like Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) and companies in the Detroit area funding urban youth baseball. I can only hope my son will stay with baseball, because I absolutely love going to his games.

How can you quantify someone being willing to endure slurs and worse hurled at him not only fans, but players as well? I'm not that strong. I know it. He's not the only brave one. He was just the first. Many other qualified players were denied membership in the elitest of clubs, the Major Leagues. Others got in only during the twilight of their careers, and never got to show the country the true measure of their talent.

I'm glad there is a Negro Leagues Museum to provide a showcase for these players who went largely unrecognized in their time. I'm glad that the league has Negro Leagues weekend each year. Seeing the Detroit Stars uniforms always stirs me up.

I'm sorry I can't be more eloquent on the subject, but I think a lot of people have similar feelings. Let's remember together.

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