Jackie Robinson lived only ten years in the Hall of Fame. He suffered from diabetes and died of a heart attack at the age of 53, in 1972. Robinson united the Premier League a quarter of a century ago, and he never stopped striving for social justice.
“I’m amazed at how much this man has done in such a short period of time,” said Doug Glenville, a former major league outfielder and ESPN analyst who named his son after his father Robinson. “He lived, for example, five lives. He was about 50 when he passed away, and you sit and say, “How did he do all this? How did he take it all in? ”
Glenville teaches sports and society at the University of Connecticut and assigns students a letter that Robinson wrote to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1960, urging King to help quell the strife between the South Christian Bank and Christian Leadership Conference. owned by blacks, in Harlem, served as a columnist for New York newspapers and wrote in his autobiography that he could not stand and sang the national anthem.
In other words, his contribution was much deeper than that of April 15, 1947 at the Brooklyn Dodgers at Abbets Field. As the Major League Baseball celebrates the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s debut, his legacy is undergoing a thorough crossing at the Hall. Fame in Cooperstown, New York
On Friday, the Hall will announce the start of a two-year project to create a permanent black baseball display. This will replace the current one – “Ideals and Injustice”, which was established in 1997 to mark the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s debut.
“We know that these stories have more depth that probably haven’t been told in the past, including darker perspectives and interpretations,” said Josh Rovich, president of the Hall of Fame.
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“When you think about the research that has been done and how society now understands the racism that existed both before and after Jackie Robinson, all of these are really important things that are in some ways covered in the current exhibition, but in a different probably not done to the extent they can be ”.
The project’s advisory board will include several former players – Glanville, Adam Jones, Dave Stewart and Hall of Fame Ken Gryffy Jr., Barry Larkin and Dave Winfield – as well as historians and representatives of the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Moles, and the Alliance. , a non-profit organization consisting of current and former players. Ravich also spoke with current players such as Dee Strange-Gordon of the Washington Nationals who could be involved.
The Hall – located in a predominantly white community and with predominantly white staff – has also created a new, full-time position for someone to help coordinate the project from a different perspective.
“We need to be able to tell the story authentically,” Ravich said. “So we are looking for a curator who has gone through this experience either through their race, through their studies or through their understanding of what it was like to feel what these players went through.”
Winfield noted that since 1997, many more black players and officials have been inducted into the Hall of Fame – more than three dozen, including pioneers such as Bad Fowler, Minnie Minos and Buck O’Neill – and said it was time for a new see.
“The most important thing that has been researched, discovered, and unearthed is a lot more history – and that’s American history,” Winfield said. “Sure, it’s the story of baseball, but baseball is an integral part of America. Now you hear many times that people are trying to erase or whitewash history, and that’s not good. It is very important that worthy people can take their place and be recognized. “
MLB officially recognized the Negro League as a major league in late 2020, and Hall struggled with how to recognize the efforts of some of its winners to support the color line. It has preserved all the signs, choosing the context rather than erasure: a sign at the entrance to the gallery now reminds visitors that “the fixation reflects the point of view of voters at the time of the election.” The museum and library, the sign adds, provide a deeper analysis – brilliant and shameful – of the conscripts ’careers.
Such accounting will be important for the new exhibition, and with more than 150 years of history to consider it – a large-scale event. Glanville said he prefers the term to research rather than consulting because there is still so much to learn about black’s experience in baseball, so much that continues to evolve.
“There is a red thread even in 2022,” Glanville said. “Pioneering efforts, be it Ketanji Jackson, whatever – there’s a lot of barbed wire, a lot of pain, there’s a lot of familiarity with some of the hurdles Robinson has faced.
“And at the same time there is something to celebrate, a lot of hope. Because when you first and open certain doors, you see opportunities. You see a chance to bring everyone together through the best of what we say to celebrate – at least fundamentally – equality and what our country was founded on. ”
Ravich said the exhibition will have a digital and traveling component for those who can’t get to Cooperstown. This will highlight not only the hardships suggested by Glanville, but also how the experience of blacks has enriched and revitalized baseball – a useful reminder, as the sport seeks to increase black participation in major competitions that have fallen sharply since the peak in the 1980s. .
It was the best for Winfield, and he said he hoped the video would show stars such as Griffins and Bo Jackson – and, yes, he himself – climbing walls that seemed unscaled, Ricky Henderson stealing bases at an unprecedented pace today, Dave Parker is rounding the basics with his flair.
“Speed, style, power – just a unique style of play,” said Winfield. “You tell people what many of these players have achieved, it’s almost incomprehensible.”
This is the mission of the Hall of Fame, again reflected in her latest project: to revive the incomprehensible, put in context and glorify those who change the game. Jackie Robinson is just one of many.