Skip to main content

Baseball Great Jackie Robinson

At the 1972 funeral of Jackie Robinson, 2,500 people packed Riverside Church in New York City. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, NY City Mayor John Lindsay, Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and NAACP Executive Director Roy Wilkins were just a few of the dignitaries to join family and friends in saying good-bye to the baseball legend. Rev. Jesse Jackson told the 2,500 strong throng that “The body corrodes and fades away, but the deeds live on.” Indeed, the legacy of Robinson, the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball, has never left us.

The Georgia-born Robinson was a member of the Negro League when he was recruited by Dodgers VP, Branch Rickey, to help integrate the game of baseball. After playing a few seasons for the Dodgers farm team, Robinson made history on April 15, 1947, when he played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in Ebbets Field. That same year he was named the National League Rookie of the Year and, in 1949, he was its MVP. With Robinson on the team, the Dodgers won 6 pennants in 10 years. That’s not to say Robinson didn’t have to fight his way to the top, pushing back against racial attitudes of the times. Ultimately, he was accepted by fans and teammates alike with Pee Wee Reese being the first of Robinson’s teammates to publicly show support. In a telling incident --and a nod to Robinson’s playing skills -- Dodgers manager Leo Durocher once told the team that he “would sooner trade them that Robinson.” After playing his last game in 1957, Robinson’s #42 was retired and, in 1962, Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Robinson -- who suffered from diabetes -- died from a heart attack at the age of 53 on October 24, 1972. A day after his death, Robinson lay in repose in the now defunct Duncan Brothers Funeral Home in Harlem, an establishment chosen so that the people Robinson inspired could more easily come to pay their respects. By the time the funeral home’s visitation began at 1:15 PM, 200 people were already waiting behind police barricades in a line which stretched around the corner. For hours, mourners filed past the silver-blue casket bedecked with a blanket of red roses. Late in the day, Robinson’s body was moved to Riverside Church for another day of public visitation.

On the day of Robinson’s funeral, tens of thousands lined the streets of Harlem and Bedford Stuyvesant to watch the mile long cortege to Cypress Hills Cemetery. Robinson was laid to rest along with his son and namesake, Jackie Robinson Jr., who was killed in a car accident a year earlier. Robinson’s grave on Jackie Robinson Way, is not far from the Jackie Robinson Parkway which was renamed in his honor in 1998. The day after Robinson’s funeral, the New York Times headline proclaimed: Jackie Goes Home to Brooklyn: Baseball's First Black Given a Hero's Burial.

You can read more about Robinson in The boys of Summer by Roger Kahn and Teammates by Peter Golenbock.


  1. He was a heroe to many, even some Yankee fans.


  2. Softball is a version of football used a more substantial basketball on an inferior field. It had been created in 1887 in Dallas being an interior game. It had been at different occasions named interior football, mush basketball, playground, softbund basketball, cat basketball, and, since it had been also performed by girls, women'baseball. The name softball was directed at the overall game in 1926. A match presented in 1933 at the Dallas World's Good sparked curiosity about the game.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Joseph Pulitzer, the "Father of Journalism"

Hungarian-born journalist and newspaper publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, was born Jozsef Politzer in 1847. Several years after the death of his father--and after the family’s reversal of fortune--Pulitzer emigrated to the united States. Trying his hand at a variety of jobs, Pulitzer eventually found his true calling as a journalist. In his lifetime, he owned both the New York World and the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Yet, it was what his considerable wealth made possible after his death that has made the Pulitzer name synonymous with Journalism: In 1912, the fist school of journalism was established at Columbia University and in 1917, the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded.

In October 1911, Pulitzer died unexpectedly aboard his yacht in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor, at the age of 64. The boat had been en route to Pulitzer’s winter home in Jekyll Island, Georgia, when a hurricane threatened. “Leise, ganz leise, ganz leise (softly, quite softly), were said to be his last words.

On the day…

Charlotte Canda and a Tragic Accident

One of the most ornate monuments in Green-Wood is that of Charlotte Canda, who died in 1845, on her 17th birthday. Canda’s death was the consequence of a freak carriage accident that occurred on the way home from her birthday celebration. A tablet by the entrance to the monument makes note of this accident which took her life. Her Gothic monument, which --ironically --she helped design as a monument to her aunt, was personalized for young Canda and for years was the most popular monument in Green-Wood. Constructed of white Carrera Mable in the style of a tabernacle, the monument is decorated with 17 rosebuds, flowers, birds and musical instruments. A large statue of Canda in her birthday gown predominates beneath a marble canopy. In an 1893 article, The New World made reference to her “fair form still preserved in Marble.”
Charles Albert Jarrett de la Marie, said to be Canda’s fiancĂ© committed suicide a year after her death and is buried nearby.