#Shortstops: A Page in Time
But this particular one is unique, having recorded the day 72 years ago that the National Pastime changed forever.
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The Times-Tribune from Scranton, Pa., on April 16, 1947, interviewed Robinson in the home clubhouse after the Opening Day victory, where the 28-year-old showed no outward nervousness having just made history.
“It felt good, very good,” said Robinson. “But they really think fast up here.”
Robinson wanted to make clear that he didn’t go hitless because of nerves.
“I wasn’t at all excited or scared,” Robinson said. “I was as loose as I could be. And I can’t honestly say that this was my biggest thrill in baseball. That came, I guess, when I signed with Montreal. But I would have liked a couple of hits.”
And Robinson wanted to make clear that nobody on the Braves had been “riding” him.
“If they did, I didn’t hear it,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned they can’t ride my any more than they did when I played football at UCLA or in the International League.”
As headed for the postgame shower, he looked upon on a pile of congratulatory telegrams waiting for him.
“Holy smokes,” he laughed, “somebody certainly got excited about this.”
When MLB announced the creation of “Jackie Robinson Day back in 2004,” Commissioner Selig said: “I have often stated that baseball's proudest moment and its most powerful social statement came on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson first set foot on a Major League Baseball field. On that day, Jackie brought down the color barrier and ushered in the era in which baseball became the true National Pastime.
“By establishing April 15 as 'Jackie Robinson Day' throughout Major League Baseball, we are further ensuring that the incredible contributions and sacrifices he made – for baseball and society – will not be forgotten."
Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum