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Jackie Robinson Day

Jackie Robinson Signs Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

Another Jackie Robinson Day. This one feels a bit different than the last.

75 years ago today Branch Rickey met with Jackie Robinson to offer him a baseball contract.

There is a story about Robinson’s time in the army. He was drafted in 1942 and assigned to a segregated unit. He fought to be allowed to go to Officer school and became a Second Lieutenant.

Riding in a army bus, he was told to ‘move to the back of the bus’ by the driver. Jackie refused, segregation wasn’t allowed on army buses. The bus driver made up some stuff (including saying Jackie was drunk, Jackie didn’t drink) and had him arrested. He went to trial to be court-martialed but was acquitted. Since there were 9 on the jury and only one who was black, and they only needed 6 guilty votes to find him guilty, we can be pretty sure that there wasn’t much for evidence against him.

If he hadn’t been, there is no chance he would have made it to the MLB, which would have changed history in a number of ways.

If there was one person I could go back in time to watch play baseball, I’d pick Robinson (right after I killed baby Hitler and put baby Trump in adoption). Wouldn’t it be great to watch him play in Montreal?

Robinson stole home 19 times, in regular season games, caught 12 times. And he stole home once in the World Series. He did it mostly when there were two outs, which is the time to go if you are going to. Apparently the gain in expected runs would be 8.8. You often hear that the triple is the most exciting play in baseball, but the steal of home must by at last as exciting.

Richard Griffin wrote about Robinson a few years ago. It is very good.

Shakeia Taylor wrote a letter to Robinson, telling him about what is happening in America today, at Baseball Prospectus.