Robinson Celebration Significant for the Cubs
Despite rain delaying festivities, Cubs are celebrating ‘Jackie Robinson Day’ as part of a day-night doubleheader this evening.
“It’s an awesome day to be at Yankee Stadium,” Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode told MLB.com.”
With ‘Jackie Robinson Day’ topping Twitter trends, it is evident that Robinson still holds significance in the world of baseball. Since his debut as the first African-American to enter the league in 1947, many black players have left an ineffaceable mark on America’s favorite pastime.
This hits especially close to home for Chicago, because of Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks. Arguably one of the greatest players of all time, Banks also helped pave the way for black athletes after making his first appearance just five years behind Robinson’s.
The shortstop and first baseman spent his entire MLB career of 19 seasons with the Cubbies, and it was in Banks’ third season that he slammed 44 homers for Chicago. After his last MLB appearance in 1971, Banks finished with 512 career home runs, back-to-back MVP awards, and 11 All-Star game nominations. More importantly, he won the admiration of Cubs fans as one of the best ambassadors for the sport. He shaped the way baseball fans viewed shortstops (sorry Starlin Castro), and completed many exceptional defensive seasons after his transition to first base. Banks was a first-ballot Hall of Famer and made a lasting impact both on the Cubs, and baseball alike.
Banks, the epitome of what teams want in a player, radiated passion for the game. Although the delay, forcing a double-header, pushed back ‘Jackie Robinson Day’ ceremonies, the famous words of Mr. Cub couldn’t be more fitting on this beautiful day to honor such wonderful and influential African-Americans.
“It’s a great day for a ball game; let’s play two!”