You should already know this, but today is the 61st anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball. And I say you should know it, because Jackie Robinson Day deserves every bit the observance as Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, etc.
Baseball is celebrating it in understated fashion, because it’s not a major anniversary. Still, to see all the No. 42’s on the field today _ Times beat writer Joe Stiglich reports that all the A’s are wearing the number _ is wonderful, because inevitably that will cause at least one child to ask a parent what it’s all about. And that will lead to a discussion of one of the most important figures in American history.
That’s right, I said American history. What Jackie Robinson achieved in the face of unimaginable duress is one of the great human achievements of our time. All he did was carry the hopes of an entire race on his shoulders. And remember, failure was not an option.
I get so tired all the time of hearing the word “hero,” tied to athletes. In reality, most of them are gutless cowards, cows in a herd, afraid to stand up for any conviction or fight. How many times do you hear Michael Jordan take a stand on a social issue? Or Tiger Woods? Or, for that matter, Tom Brady?
Robinson bettered out country, and he made his most significant contribution without ever opening his mouth. He was every bit as important in his trail blazing as Dr. King was in his. Why Jackie Robinson Day isn’t a national holiday is something I’ll never understand.