Happy birthday, Jackie Robinson! Can't wait to see your new movie this spring!
He's the Google "doodle" this Thursday morning--Jackie Robinson would've been 94.
To his eternal credit, Commissioner Bud Selig has made sure baseball never forgets what Robinson did for the game, nor the classy way he did it: breaking the color barrier by keeping his cool and letting his game prove his worthiness.
Discrimination didn't end with Robinson's MLB ascension. Henry Aaron and other African Americans who would follow Jackie to "the show" had to put up with plenty, too.
Robinson, though, was the first.
When anything Jackie-related happens--a birthday, a celebration, an acknowledgement--I always think of Ron Rabinowitz who, like me, grew up in Sheboygan. As a kid, Ron was a Dodgers fan in Milwaukee Braves country, and his letter to Jackie sparked a relationship that blossomed as both grew older and continued until Robinson's death. Ron tells his story to various groups--he's been a guest on several documentaries--and even did a stint at Cooperstown. I'm sure today is a special day in Ron's life as he remembers his late friend and their unlikely, incredible bond.
Hollywood knows a good story when it sees one and it's turning the Robinson saga into a film that's due out in April. Here's the trailer to "42".
New generations get to learn of Jackie's battles. New fans will be generated. And, a baseball legend who took on one of society's greatest challenges--integrating the national past time--will once again get the recognition he so richly deserves. The only sad thing is that "42" isn't around to acknowledge it.
Happy 94th, 42.