Doing the Right Thing

Let me toot my own horn and encourage readers to check out my Los Angeles Times review of a new collection of Jackie Robinson’s political correspondence, “First Class Citizenship.” I think it’s safe to say that most fans—most Americans—don’t realize what an important role Robinson played in the struggle for civil rights after his playing days had come to an end. Robinson made his misjudgments (on Nixon: “There is something about him that leaves me with the feeling of sincerity”), but his overall contribution to the American march for racial justice is hard to overestimate. He certainly wasn’t pleased with the direction of things when he died, in 1972. A few months before he passed away, he wrote his erstwhile friend Nixon, telling him “You are polarizing this country to such an extent there can be no turning back. I hope you will take another look at where we are going and be the president who leads the nation to accept difficult but necessary action, rather than one who fosters division.” Kind of hits home, doesn’t it?

27 comments… add one

  • I wish we had a Jackie Robinson today, or at least somebody with a modicum of his strength and credibility to hold up a mirror to our country so we could see how desperately far off-track we’ve gotten. Great piece, YFat.

    Joba Chamberlain October 1, 2007, 11:04 am
  • Joba, you can read? I would have thought you grunted along to hooked on phonics. Fist pumps when you complete sentences or pages?

    Pete October 1, 2007, 11:37 am
  • This thread is NOT going to degenerate into name-calling. The topic is Jackie Robinson. Stick to it. Seriously. Have just a tiny bit of shame.

    YF October 1, 2007, 12:34 pm
  • I recommend Howard Bryant’s [url=http://www.amazon.com/Shut-Out-Howard-Bryant/dp/0807009792]Shut Out[/url] to anyone (especially Sox fans) interested in this topic.

    Ron Newman October 1, 2007, 12:51 pm
  • It was a joke directed at “Joba” specifically because I thought impersonation was outlawed here.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 12:51 pm
  • Whoops, let me try that again:
    Howard Bryant’s book Shut Out

    Ron Newman October 1, 2007, 12:52 pm
  • If one were to compare Cano’s September stats to Jackie Robinson’s they would realize Cano is a shoo-in for the HOF.
    As far as Jackie the man, I didn’t know him personally so I cannot comment on what kind of guy he was, but I can safely say that Sheffield would not have respected him because he played to whitey. That means a lot to me because Shef has always been a very level-headed dude.

    BostonRAW October 1, 2007, 12:56 pm
  • Meanwhile “Joba” is squatting on someone else’s name and looking to turn a profit while advertising here. I hope the real Joba sues their ass.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 1:10 pm
  • I know this is somewhat offtopic, but Daisuke is scheduled to start Game 2 against the Angels, not Schilling. He’ll be pitching on 6 days of rest.
    Anyone else surprised that Schilling is getting pushed back to Game 3?

    Atheose October 1, 2007, 1:15 pm
  • I’m surprised Atheose. That means Schill would only get one start and they’d either go back to Dice for Game 5 or they throw Wake. Very surprising. My only guess is that they’re looking at something like this:
    Home – 4.86 ERA but 8 HR
    Away – 4.02 ERA but 17 HR
    Or that he’s never pitched in Anaheim? I have no idea what they’re thinking. Maybe it’s because Schill pitches better on the road this year (3.65 ERA vs. 4.06 ERA) and they’d rather have him in the “pivotal” game?

    Pete October 1, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • I do not understand what you are saying about Gary Sheffield and Jackie Robinson. Could you explain better?

    Ron Newman October 1, 2007, 1:28 pm
  • nice piece yf…thanks for sharing…i saw an interview with jackie’s widow not too long ago during the time mlb was honoring him and she shared some of the behind the scenes stuff about jackie’s efforts, and his frustration with the lack of progress…what a classy lady…gave me goosebumps to listen to her…

    dc October 1, 2007, 1:29 pm
  • Perhaps, Pete. If Daisuke pitches the way he did the other night, then awesome. But if he’s shakey… will they pull him and throw Lester/Wake? I’m nervous, especially with regards to Daisuke pitching Game 5 on only 5 days of rest.
    By the way, why did we even choose the longer schedule if we weren’t planning on using Schill + Becks for 4 of the games? I’m pissed.

    Atheose October 1, 2007, 1:29 pm
  • by the way yf, don’t give up trying to inject thoughtfulness into the posts…most of us are learning to just ignore pete and b.raw…

    dc October 1, 2007, 1:30 pm
  • Where’d you see the report, A.? I’m shocked and pissed too – it makes no sense (unless Schill has an injury they haven’t reported).

    Pete October 1, 2007, 1:32 pm
  • Atheose October 1, 2007, 1:35 pm
  • Tom (Stratford, CT): Hi Buster. Can you enlighten me as to why the Red Sox selected the longer series? Seems natural that they would want to force Lackey to pitch games 1 and 5 at Fenway, not to mention that the longer series highlights the disadvantage of Escobar vs. Red Sox number 2.
    SportsNation Buster Olney: (1:28 PM ET ) Tom: Their bullpen is thinner than they might’ve expected, so this builds in more rest for Papelbon and Okajima, especially in light of the fact that the Red sox really have no idea what to expect from Eric Gagne.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 1:35 pm
  • Oh, I wouldn’t read too much into that. The MLB guys are just projecting from the season use. I would be very surprised (and pissed) if the Sox didn’t start Schill in game 2. I bet the Boston papers will have it right first.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 1:38 pm
  • I hope so, Pete. MLB.com new about Clay Buchholz’ spot start on September 1 before anyone else, so I’ve trusted them above most other sources. But like I said, I hope I’m wrong.

    Atheose October 1, 2007, 1:52 pm
  • Keep an eye out for the documentary on the Brooklyn Dodgers that was playing on IFC (at least I think it was IFC). Some great behind the scenes stories on and from Robinson, Reese, O’Malley, Durocher, Rickey, and some of the sports writers of the era, as well as some trash talking against the Yanks by the Dodgers fans of old.

    Tyrel SF October 1, 2007, 3:58 pm
  • Tyrel, are you taking about “The Ghosts of Flatbush”? If so, that was on HBO.

    Andrews October 1, 2007, 4:28 pm
  • That might have been it Andrews. I’m a little confused, because I cancelled HBO this summer (too long of a wait between the Sopranos and the Wire to justify keeping it…)

    Tyrel SF October 1, 2007, 5:02 pm
  • Nice article YF

    rob October 1, 2007, 5:17 pm
  • There’s a book for kids called “Teammates” about Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese that my son and I have used for the last two years to do a presentation to his class on January 31 (Jackie’s birthday). I use it to talk about how you respond to something that’s unfair even if it’s not directed at you. Even in his kindergarten year, the kids listened so intently and seemed really affected by the story.

    rootbeerfloat October 1, 2007, 5:19 pm
  • Thanks for the alert on the book. It sounds excellent – and important.
    “I wish we had a Jackie Robinson today, or at least somebody with a modicum of his strength and credibility to hold up a mirror to our country so we could see how desperately far off-track we’ve gotten.”
    There are many such people today. There are dozens, hundreds, thousands of Americans working for justice, in myriad ways. (Rachel Robinson, Jack’s widow, is one example.)
    If you are actually interested, leaders are not hard to find. But it’s easier to sit back and say, if only we had someone like that…

    L-girl October 1, 2007, 11:35 pm
  • Great piece, YF. Thanks for posting it.
    I’m just finishing up (for the 2nd time) David Halberstam’s “October 1964.” Racial relations are a key element of the story. Nearly twenty years had passed since Robinson broke the barrier, yet prejudice was still rampant in baseball, primarily in management. Bob Gibson’s experiences are especially compelling; one example being how he noticed that white people, after they shook his hand, would subconsciously (or not) wipe their hand on their pants.
    The decline of the Yankees began with their Series loss to the Cardinals, largely because they had refused to sign and bring up more than just a few token African-American players.
    Despite my life-long love of the Yanks, I’m ashamed to say they were one of the most racially backwards teams in baseball.

    nettles-yf October 2, 2007, 4:52 pm
  • Great review, YF. The letter from X at the end of the review articulates just how complicated Robinson’s position was as a figure of the civil rights movement, and how the term “civil rights movement” doesn’t come remotely close to explaining things, however charged with meaning it might be.

    SF October 2, 2007, 5:39 pm

Leave a Comment