Brownie McGhee, Robbie – Doby Boogie, May 1948 (archive.org)
Jackie Robinson was born 100 years ago today.
“Hooray Hooray, The Time Has Really Come!”
Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in 1947. In Jersey City, New Jersey, on April 18, 1946, while playing for the Montreal Royals (farm club team of the Brooklyn Dodgers) and against the Jersey City Giants (farm club team of the New York Giants), Jackie Robinson “broke the color barrier in a game between two minor league clubs,” (the Royals won, 14-1). Opening today is a great exhibition “In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend” at the Museum of the City of New York. A beautiful portrait by Nina Leen (1914-1995), pair of contemporaneous songs (Brownie McGhee’s song is dedicated to Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby), and a thoughtful sports page to commemorate the centennial of the birth of Jackie Robinson (1919-1972).
“Cleveland’s got Larry Doby and Brooklyn’s got Jackie Robinson!”
I asked [Branch] Rickey too what the reaction has been since the news of Robinson’s signing.
“I have been flooded with telegrams and letters and phone calls,” he said. “Only one was bitterly derogatory… I had another calling me ‘a second Lincoln’ and that was from Chicago.”
He said that it was mostly spontaneous praise…
Robbie – and what a name for a Dodger possibility – was born Jan. 31, 1919, at Cairo, Ga. He moved with his family to Pasadena, Cal., when he was a year old. He was a standout star in all sports at Muir Technical High and Pasadena Junior College, where he played baseball, basketball, and football and was a 25-foot broad jumper. At UCLA he stood out as a great halfback and in 1942 he played in both the Chicago and the Honolulu all star games. He was a lieutenant in the Army until his release last Summer.
Rickey told me today that there’s a lot buzzing around his head now. But the man who has spent most of his life in baseball is a hard guy to shave. And I’ve heard from history that so was a guy named Abe.”
PM, October 25, 1945, p. 13
Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra, Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?, 1949 (archive.org)