Wednesday, April 20, 2016
SWINGIN A’S/FAN SIDED -- One of the nice things about being a baseball fan is that April 15th is Jackie Robinson Day instead of Tax Day. On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson played his first major league game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In my class on the history of baseball at SF State, I devote about four lectures to this remarkable breakthrough. I’m a good storyteller, and there are some phenomenal stories in these early years of integration. The best description of what it was like to be Jackie Robinson is in Robinson’s autobiography, “I Never Had it Made,” which is a book I heartily recommend. My friend and mentor, Jules Tygiel, wrote “Baseball’s Great Experiment,” which is a very good read and is rated by Sports Illustrated as one of the best sports books of all time. Jules created the baseball class at SFSU, but he passed in 2008 from pancreatic cancer. I think of Jules often, and I miss him.