#3: From Daytona Beach to Dodgertown

If you think about it, 67 years is not such long a time.

Sometimes it takes the post office 67 years to deliver a letter.

Sometimes it takes 67 years to become an Eagle Scout.

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were both born in 1946 – 67 years ago.

So were pitchers Bill (Spaceman) Lee and Catfish Hunter. (And, why aren’t player nicknames as good as those anymore?)  So were Bobby Bonds and Rollie Fingers.

And, Reggie Jackson.

It was 67 not-so-long years ago that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by playing a racially integrated, professional game.

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Reproduction number #LC-L9-54-3566-O

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Reproduction number #LC-L9-54-3566-O

But, no, not as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  (You knew there had to be a twist, didn’t you?)

He did it during Spring Training, on Sunday, March 17, 1946, at City Island Park in Daytona Beach, Florida as a member of the Class AAA Montreal Royals, a Dodgers farm-team.

I don’t think a lot of my friends understand my passion for baseball (hi there, friends!)

One of the reasons is that baseball so perfectly seems to mirror the tenor of the times. It’s an opening to history and reflects us as a society and as a culture.

( I also love three-run homers, double steals, and spectacular defensive plays.  But, I digress …)

Many historians believe that the modern era of civil rights began with the integration of major league baseball.

And, so we come to Jackie Robinson and Daytona Beach, the only place in 1946 Florida that would allow a colored man to play in a white man’s game on a white man’s field.

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