Jackie Robinson Day

Yesterday was Jackie Robinson Day throughout Major League Baseball.  66 years ago yesterday, Jackie Robinson broke through the established race barriers and made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Robinson’s notability within professional sports is not limited to the fact that he broke long-standing color barriers within MLB.  His career stats set him apart as well from players of his generation: 1947 ROY, .311 career BA, NL 1949 NL MVP, and 6 All-Star Game appearances.

His jersey number, 42, was the first number to be retired throughout MLB.  The only active player to still wear the number is Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.  When Rivera retires the number will no longer be used by any active MLB player.

Apart from Robinson’s accomplishments on the field, he also has a little known connection with the United Methodist Church.  In 1958 Robinson appeared in a television program produced by the UMC.  According to archivists it is unsure if Robinson had an official affiliation with the denomination.

The 1962 Hall of Fame inductee moderated the program.

Robinson, then an executive at the Chock Full o’ Nuts company, is not prominent in the 1958 program, Anderson pointed out, but simply introduces the morality play and moderates a panel of four respondents. “His total time on the tape may not be more than two or three minutes”.

You can check out the article on the UMC website here or watch a portion of the program below.