April 15, 1947 -- the most inportant, significant debut by a rookie player in Major League Baseball history took place as the Boston Braves visited Ebbets Field to take on the Brooklyn Dodgers. Attendees at the game saw a lot of notable ballplayers that day -- Johnny Sain, Mort Cooper, Sibby Sisti, Tommy Holmes, Earl Torgeson, Bobby Bragan, Pee Wee Reese, Hugh Casey, Carl Furillo, Arky Vaughn, Dixie Walker, Pete Reiser, Eddie Stanky - plenty of All-Stars with a few future Hall of Famers mixed in. But none more significant than the young fella playing 1B and batting second for the Brooklyns.
Kid named Jack Roosevelt Robinson. Jackie. #42 ... a number that, after this season, will never be worn by another major league baseball player again. After Mariano Rivera, perhaps fittingly the greatest closer to ever play the game, hangs up his spikes, that number, the one Douglas Adams once wrote was the answer to the great question of Life, the Universe and Everything, will fade into retirement as well, to honor Robinson, not the greatest, but absolutely the most significant player ever to wear a big league uniform.
To mildly misquote the renowned Simon and Garfunkel tune, So here's to you, Mr. Robinson ...
Thank you, Jackie.