COMMENTS: Already a Giant

The attention paid all week to the black basketball players of Rutgers University inspired both ABC and CBS to note the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game in the previously all-white major leagues of baseball. CBS' Cynthia Bowers (no link) introduced us to Ronnie Rabinowitz, a Robinson fan from Sheboygan, who struck up a friendship with the player as a penpal at the age of seven. ABC had Jim Wooten file a tribute to Jack Roosevelt Robinson as its Person of the Week: "Nigger, nigger, go back to the cotton field, nigger," was an example of the taunts Robinson heard from the opposing dugout. That one was from Ben Chapman in 1947. Wooten remarked it was like that all season long: "Ugly abuse spewed at him. Beanballs thrown at him. Hate mail sent to him. Threats on his life." When he finished his career with the Dodgers, Brooklyn tried to trade him to the New York Giants. Robinson retired instead: "He was, of course," Wooten concluded, "already a giant."

Check out the film of Robinson on the basepaths: sliding into second base, stealing home in the World Series, sidestepping off first base, skipping into home plate.


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