“This is the future of sports.”
It’s a bold statement, but one that we can agree with. Sports and gaming are intertwined in many ways – it’s likely you know someone who plays both or enjoys watching them on TV. But as they continue to grow closer together, fans need more than just NBA playoffs and FIFA World Cup to keep up with their favorite teams. Enter esports: competitive games played at an international level for millions of people each month.,
Baseball is returning to Cuba in the wake of its re-opening after decades. It’s a big deal for baseball fans, but what will it mean for Cuban society?
The game has been banned since Fidel Castro came into power and sought control over every aspect of life on the island nation. The return may also stir up old rivalries between rivals like the United States and Cuba that have not seen each other face-to-face in nearly 60 years. Sports Business Journal investigated whether this historic moment could help MLB grow or put it back at square one with little growth potential among players who are still learning how to play ball again .
The “sport magazine archives online” is a website that has the complete history of SPORT magazine. It’s a great resource for those who want to learn more about the magazine or those who want to read back issues.
During Jackie Robinson’s fifth season in the big leagues, this article first appeared in the October 1951 issue of SPORT magazine. In honor of the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s premiere on April 15, 1947, we’re republishing it today. For the sake of clarity and space, this narrative has been condensed.
The Brooklyn Dodgers’ JACK ROOSEVELT ROBINSON wore an armor of humility throughout his record-breaking assault of professional baseball. It was an odd clothing for him, one that chafed constantly and dug savagely into both his skin and his soul on occasion. Jackie was the unresponsive target for barbs of humiliation that no man but Robinson could fully appreciate. Hiding his true combativeness behind the armor carefully selected for him by Branch Rickey, and allowed to vent his with his bat, glove, and flying feet, Jackie was the unresponsive target for barbs of humiliation that no man but Robinson could fully appreciate. The humility he cultivated so assiduously — or maybe more accurately, sternly — did not come easily to him. No meek and modest guy could ever play baseball with Robinson’s fire and speed. Jackie, on the other hand, had considerably more restraint than any white baseball player had ever shown. He had to have it, and just as he manages to keep his emotions in check when a base-hit is required, he managed to keep his emotions in check when it was necessary to ensure his success. But it’s been five years since Jackie came into the National League, five years full of incredible accomplishments and innumerable accolades, and each year the Dodgers’ great second baseman has been inclined to appease fewer and fewer people. The fact that Robinson is now, at long last, his own man is a watershed moment in baseball history.
Jackie has been gently but intentionally removing her bonds. Commissioner A. B. Chandler compelled him to apologize to umpire Cal Hubbard at the World Series in 1949 after he fought with the umpires. He released the brakes on his dispute with Leo Durocher in 1950, and it erupted into the open. He claimed that a group of National League umpires had formed a heckling conspiracy against him and were seeking to provoke him. He requested that National League President Ford Frick conduct an inquiry. He stood chin to chin on the field in an exhibition game in Asheville, North Carolina, this past spring and fought vehemently with umpire Frank Dascoli for many minutes. In their interboro skirmishes with the Giants, he despised bean balls being hurled at his head and the heads of his teammates. He once bunted the ball to compel pitcher Sal Maglie to field it on the first-base line, where he could bump him. “”I did it on purpose,” Jackie acknowledged, “to urge the league to intervene and put an end to this beanballing before anybody is harmed.” I’ll accept the punishment, suspension, or whatever else comes with it, but this hurling of objects at a man’s head needs to stop. Mr. Frick should step in if the umpires don’t have the fortitude to stop it.”
“”Larry Jansen struck me with a pitch last Sunday,” Robinson said. The mark is still visible. Maglie had already tossed one that was a little too near to my face. I resolved to do something to defend myself and my companions. I set out to cause enough havoc to bring this situation to a head.”
Jackie’s wife, Rachel, who has made invaluable contributions to her husband’s pioneering career in baseball, was acutely aware of the tension as she watched the game from her normal seat at Ebbets Field that night. She listened intently to the remarks about her spouse, as she had done from the beginning. “There’s a person becoming bigheaded,” a man sat close her commented as Jackie nudged Maglie. Rachel said it again to her husband later that evening as they drove back to their Long Island home in St. Albans. It’s a remark that has been repeated many times in recent months in some form or another, as Robinson has proved that he no longer recognizes any constraints imposed on him that do not apply to other players. I’ve heard it in locker rooms, dugouts, pubs, planes and trains, and wherever else where baseball enthusiasts congregate, as well as among casual fans. I’ve been watching Jackie from the beginning and have witnessed his aggression grow. …
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Mrs. Robinson, a certified nurse who knows the limits to which a man can subject his body and mind to self-discipline, didn’t reveal the agony she and her husband through during the seasons Jackie wore his armor of humility until a few months ago.
“I grew quite concerned about Jack towards the conclusion of his first season in baseball,” she added. Nobody could keep his emotions bottled up day after day, week after week, and month after month, I knew. I was aware of Mr. Rickey’s advice and, like Jack, concurred. Even if he couldn’t do it on the field, I wanted my husband to let free at home. I would have welcomed an explosion at home if I had understood his dilemma, which was also mine. When we were alone together, I invited him to say his piece. When a guy has a problem, he has to talk himself out of it, but Jack grew less chatty instead.
“”He couldn’t eat,” Mrs. Robinson said, “and he’d toss and turn in his sleep all night.” Finally, I persuaded Jack to see a doctor, who told him that if he didn’t avoid the ballpark, he would have a psychological breakdown. But Jack was adamant about keeping it. He was back in two days, performing as well as he had before and bringing the same difficulties with him.” …
THE RESTRICTIONS APPLIED TO HIM WHEN HE FIRST STARTED MADE FOR AN UNUSUAL BASEBALL LIFE, which would have been unusual enough due of his skin tone. Before Robinson ever walked onto a field, he was bound by a strict code of behavior. Rickey dispatched his advance man and advance preparations to manage the natural and sometimes bestial energies wherever he was scheduled to arrive.
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They refer to him by his name in a manner that no other player’s name is. They beg him to shake his hand or sign their autographs. They brush their hands against his clothing as he passes by, unhurried, nice, friendly, and cooperative, because Jackie has never forgotten what the game has meant to him and what he has meant, means now, and will always mean to his people. Robinson, despite his pioneering, never desired the position of reformer.
Once he had shown himself to Rickey, who had believed in him from the start, all he ever wanted was to be accepted as a player among other players. When the constraints were imposed on him and the opposition started to put his bravery and fury to the test, he did not whimper. He accepted all that was offered to him. He started his professional baseball career under a manager steeped in Mississippi’s anti-Black culture, and his first season with the Dodgers was marked by the danger of two strikes against him, both literally and symbolically. …
[Now, it was only natural for Jackie to realize his own value at the gate and want to break free from the strange ties that bound him.]
YOU COULD PICK ANY TIME DURING THE PREVIOUS SEASON WHEN JACKIE FINISHED HIS OWN EMANCIATION AND BE BOTH RIGHT AND WRONG. Perhaps the Maglie incident at Ebbets Field comes the closest to determining when the final shackle was pulled free.
That episode typified the new Jackie, according to many who recalled the confined Robinson playing with a fence around him. Before he raced up the Giant pitcher’s back, there had been telltale signs of his new attitude to the profession in which he makes his livelihood, and there would be more after he did, but this one neatly packaged up the new Jackie into a tidy little package for everyone to see.
Robinson was a trailblazer, but identifying as a reformer was not something he sought or enjoyed when the opportunity arose. But he felt compelled to see it through that frenetic night at Ebbets Field last April, even at the risk of his reputation, his body, and his fortune, and despite his wife’s counsel. When I asked why he chose to make himself the avenging aggressor for the beanballing conflict that had been the theme of the Dodger-Giant series, he gave me this reply.
I informed Jackie that Maglie denied throwing anything at him.
“I think I’m to blame,” he said.
“Every time anything goes wrong, I pick up a piece of paper and read that I’m to blame.” If Maglie hadn’t thrown at me, his catcher may have had a different opinion. When I returned to the plate after the bunt and took up my bat, Westrum stated, ‘Sal wasn’t throwing at you.’ We’ve had enough of you. He was just brushing you off.’
“For me, that’s too little a difference,” Robinson remarked. “I read this morning that Durocher said it was a bushleague ruse. Durocher makes me that way if I’m in the wilderness. He was the one who taught it to me. ‘If they hurl one at your head, don’t say anything,’ he used to advise us every day right here in the clubhouse. ‘Push one down and run straight up his neck,’ says the narrator. Leo is a pro at it. He was absolutely correct. No pitch came close to me the following two times I was at bat.”
Jackie and Mrs. Robinson traveled back to their Long Island home after the game that night, and Jackie communicated his point of view to her. She, in turn, discussed the big picture. “I’ve been trying to help Jack see it from the fans’ point of view since they can’t grasp what’s in Jack’s head,” she remarked later when she relayed their talk to me. They don’t like the fact that he’s prepared to sacrifice his life to stop something he feels is wrong. It looked to them that he was attempting to hurt Maglie on purpose. What are they supposed to do if they don’t know what’s on his mind?
“Perhaps today Jack has a different perspective on what occurred,” she speculated. “I believe I have a greater understanding of his condition than the majority of people. He doesn’t have a lot of time to ponder while he’s at bat. He may think and act differently a few hours later.”
Mrs. Robinson, as much as I love her and her extraordinary commitment to Jackie’s partnership, I knew she was incorrect as she spoke since Jackie had already told me so.
“I don’t want to do anything like that again,” he continued, “but if I have to, I would.”
Jackie, on the other hand, no longer feels restrained in any way. Perhaps even less than any other player since he has done more in the end. Other players are hesitant to express themselves, but Jackie, who had kept so much hidden for so many seasons, speaks out anytime he has anything on his mind. Much of it is fiery, but Jackie isn’t afraid of exploding quotes. He despises Durocher and expresses his disdain for him. He believed he had been traded before to the start of the season and felt comfortable to inform me about it.
This is Robinson in his purest form. The only difference between Jackie and the others is that, due to the city’s segregation laws, he, Don Newcombe, and Roy Campanella are unable to stay at the same hotel in St. Louis.
But that’s where the differences stop. Where he previously couldn’t earn sponsorships, Jackie now believes there are no restrictions on him cashing in off the field on his on-field abilities. If he wants to make a public appearance, whether for free or for money, he does it without previously consulting Brooklyn’s upper management. He confesses he sees no reason why he should act any differently from the Joe DiMaggios, Bob Fellers, or Ted Williamses. He does not want a license and accepts no additional conditions.
Because of his precarious position, his bat speaks louder than the others on the field, and his speech and actions in the clubhouse are devoid of reverence. Robby no longer considers himself sensitive in terms of his bodily, moral, or spiritual well-being. He showed Rickey that he could handle it. For a decent amount of time, he kept his lips shut and his feelings bottled up, but that time has come to an end. And no one bothers to oppose him or has the authority to say he’s incorrect.
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