My father's family was from Brooklyn. Flatbush. Church Avenue. The Dodgers were the nexus that connected the brothers and sisters, the aunts and uncles. There supposedly is a picture of my grandmother kissing Gil Hodges outside of Ebbets Field that ran on the front page of the Brooklyn Eagle after the Dodgers had clinched one of their pennants in the early 1950s, but I never have seen it.
Duke Snider, the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer who passed away on Sunday, will forever be remembered as part of New York's great center field triumvirate of the 1950s along with the Giants' Willie Mays and the Yankees' Mickey Mantle.
Jackie Robinson could really get on base. You might not hear much about that, even Thursday on Jackie Robinson Day because, um, it seems to me that he accomplished something other than getting on base that was fairly important. Even when people talk about Jackie Robinson, the player, they will likely concentrate on Robinson's audacious nature as a base runner -- how he would purposely get caught in rundowns, how he would steal home and so on -- or his pure and naked hunger to win.
The Hall of Fame clock is about to tick much faster for the stars of the 1980s. Another election has passed without the likes of Tim Raines, Jack Morris and Dale Murphy getting very close to enshrinement. Even worse, they have only two years remaining before an avalanche of candidates joins them on the ballot, threatening not only to harm their candidacies but also to flat-out end them.
After a one-week vacation, we are back with the continuing evolution of an experiment that last appeared two weeks ago: a combination column with Boston Red Sox senior advisor and baseball writer extraordinaire Bill James ...
In the spring of 1949, Tommy Lasorda saw Dodgertown for the first time. "Except I couldn't see anything at all," Lasorda said. "I walked through the gates at 10 at night. The place was so dark, you couldn't see a thing. There wasn't one light on. I was scared to death. I was just a 21-year-old kid, an aspiring left-handed pitcher, who didn't know where I was or where I was going or what would end up happening to me."
This is not about baseball. Or, rather, it's about so much more than baseball. When Jackie Robinson took America by the collar 60 years ago and shook it for all it was worth, he did it on a baseball field, yes. But why he did it, how he did it, the era in which it took place -- and, of course, that he did it at all -- are infinitely more important than where it happened. Then and now, the act itself was much bigger than the stage. None of us should ever forget that.