Al Wallace Blog: Me, My Mom and Jackie Robinson

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Today is Jackie Robinson day around Major League Baseball, and being the amateur historian that I am, I can’t help but think of my mother. Born in east Texas in 1932, she grew up with little means. No one had t-v in those days, and very few had radio. It wasn’t easy to information about the world in a small town east of Dallas.

But my mom knew that on April 15th, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and become the first black man to play Major League Baseball. I remember coming home from school on April 4th, 1974 as a high school junior, and my mom saying, “He did it!” “He” was Hank Aaron, and in an afternoon game at Riverfront Stadium that day, Aaron had hit career home-run number 714, tying the record of Babe Ruth. A few days later he would break the record by hitting number 715 in Atlanta.

I had a picture taken with Hank Aaron years later, in the spring of 1990, and gave it to my mother. She always told me that was her favorite picture of me. But her favorite baseball player of all time was Jackie Robinson. She always loved the Dodgers, whether they played in Brooklyn or Los Angeles. And she always loved Jackie Robinson. He was her favorite because he was the first.

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