Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Todays African American fact from baseball's "Golden Era" - Jackie Robinson

On September 30, 1951, the last day of the season, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants were tied for first place in the National League.  After trailing the Dodgers by 13 ½ games on August 11, the Giants won 16 games in a row and 19 out of 24 in September to catch the Dodgers.  When the Giants 3 – 2 win over the Boston Braves concluded that fall Sunday afternoon in September, the Dodgers were trailing the Philadelphia Phillies 8 – 5.  It would take a tremendous performance from Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson to save the team’s pennant hopes.

The Dodgers tied the score 8 – 8 in the top of the eighth, but in the bottom of the 12th inning the Phillies had the bases loaded with two outs.  Eddie Maitkus hit a line drive up the middle to the right of second base heading towards center field.  Robinson makes a head first dive with his entire body stretched horizontally in the air and catches the ball just inches off the ground for the third out.  Then in the fourteenth inning, he homers off of Phillies’ ace pitcher Robin Roberts to win the game.
The Dodgers lost the three game pennant playoff series on the Giants’ Bobby Thomson’s ninth inning three run home run on October 3, famously called “the shot heard round the world”.  But there would not have been a playoff or Thomson’s home run had it not been for Jackie Robinson’s heroics in the Dodgers’ last game of the season.  What many consider one of the greatest game performances of  Robinson’s career is overlooked due to the dramatics of the 1951 Dodgers-Giants playoff.  

Which of Jackie Robinson’s Dodger teammates received the first of his three Most Valuable Player Awards in 1951?

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