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Today is the birthday of two of the top baseball players of all time: Jackie Robinson and Ernie Banks. I respect both of these men for the way they played the game, but more importantly for the way they handled themselves as they were faced with the harsh racism of the mid-1900s.
Jackie Robinson would be 94 years old today.
As you know, Jackie Robinson broke the “color barrier” in Major League Baseball. Without Jackie Robinson, there would have been no Hank Aaron, no Willie Mays, or no Ernie Banks. He endured years of abuse, but he never fought back. The best resistance he could offer to the widespread racism and ignorance was to play better than anyone else. He won the Rookie of the Year and the MVP. He also won the World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Jackie Robinson Stats:
Career Batting AVG: .311
1947 Rookie of the Year
1949 NL MVP
1949 NL Batting Title
2x Stolen Base Champion (1947 & 1949)
Every February in elementary school we had to do a report on someone that contributed to Civil Rights and equality. I always wrote about Jackie Robinson. I’ve probably read 5 biographies of him. He is the only player to have his number retired for the entire MLB. Happy Birthday Jackie!
Ernie Banks is 82 years old today. Happy birthday to you Mr. Banks.
Ernie Banks is a super classy man. He played for 19 years with the Cubs. He won the MVP twice, but he never made it to the World Series. When asked if he would go to another team with the chance of making the World Series he said: “I didn’t say anything. But the answer to that was, ‘No, I’m satisfied playing for the Cubs, playing day-baseball in Chicago, the middle of the United States.’ I was satisfied with that.” (source: Ernie Banks: A Beacon for Baseball). He put up great numbers throughout his career, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot (a very rare achievement). As I wrote last week, I recently got to meet Ernie Banks, and it was a joy.
Ernie Banks Stats:
512 Home Runs – #21 All-time (#15 if you don’t count the steroid users)
2x NL MVP (1958 & 1959)
14x All Star
A very hearty birthday to Mr. Jackie Robinson and Mr. Ernie Banks from For Aslan…and the Volunteer State.
Until later friends…
(To all you non-sports fans, I apologize for this post)
This weekend was great. I loved being with my family for the entire weekend. I got to spend a lot of time with my wife, parents, sister, and nephew, and that makes for a great weekend. I really enjoyed watching March Madness with my family. Our team – Austin Peay – didn’t even make the tournament this year, but we still enjoy watching all the games cheering for underdogs and old favorites, and jeering the Big East.
This weekend was absolutely crazy! I will summarize my thoughts concerning March Madness in bullet-point format:
- The Big East is Overrated
- The Mountain West Conference has as many teams in the Sweet 16 as the Big East
- The ACC has more
- The Butler vs Pitt game was one of the best NCAA Tourney games I’ve ever seen (and I love seeing Pitt lose)
- Although the ‘stache was pretty sweet last year, I think Matt Howard is even better without it.
- Glad UNC and Duke survived this weekend (partially because they helped support my post from a while back, and partially because they preserved my bracket)
- Texas. You let me down.
- My Final Four picks were: UNC, Texas (fail), Kansas, and Florida
- My Championship pick is: UNC vs Kansas with Kansas winning 67-64.
In other sports news, Barry Bonds‘ perjury trial begins today. That’s right, Barry Bonds is being tried for lying about his alleged steroid use. I hate to use the word alleged, because anyone with functioning eyeballs and half a brain is well aware of the fact that Barry Bonds took enough steroids to turn Mugsy Bogues into Larry Johnson.
Just look at the difference in girth between Barry Bonds from 1987-2007. There is a slight resemblance, but the 2007 Barry Bonds reminds me more of the guy from Men in Black that was inhabited by a giant alien cockroach. Word is Bonds’ massive growth in shoe, neck, and head size will be used as evidence.
I hope Barry Bonds is found guilty. I also hope he is stripped of his artificial home run record, and that it is returned to the noble Hank Aaron. I learned as a child that cheaters never win, and I still believe it.
I found out this weekend that the US Men’s Soccer team is playing the team from Paraguay in Nashville next Tuesday (3/22). If it were on a weekend, I would make that trip in a heartbeat, but the prospect of trying to drive 3.5 hours after a soccer game (or the next morning) to make it to work is not that appealing. I have been a fan of the US Men’s Soccer team since I was a kid and Alexi Lalas replied to a letter I sent him with an autogrpahed 5″x7.” Thanks Alexi for solidifying my soccer fandom!
That’s all my sports ramblings for the day. Until later friends…