The calendar says that today is Jackie Robinson Day. The anniversary of the iconic ballplayer’s first appearance in a Major League Baseball game arrives on the 15th of April every year. His number 42, retired across all of baseball, is adorned by all players on all teams, paying tribute to him.
But today is a little different. There are no games, no players wearing 42 on their backs and no game ceremonies to honor the legacy of the Hall of Famer.
His impact is not felt any less today. A brief look through some quotes attributed to him can reveal an almost prophetic look at situations today. It is a testament to the game itself not changing as much as we think it does. Time continues to march on despite the era the game is played in. We can see Jackie’s complete understanding of the world that is baseball through some of these thoughts.
Jackie once said, “Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.”
Part of the major impact of the Coronavirus-induced shut down of Major League Baseball right now is the players near the end of their careers. Some of these players were already in the position of wondering if they were hanging on too long.
Players like Adam Wainwright come to mind. Much like Jackie says, “nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead” and Waino had a fairly productive season in 2019. Success last year led the team and their once-ace pitcher to renew his contract for one more season. Is he hanging on too long? Like Jackie said, “Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing”, which ultimately was what drove Wainwright back to the game a few years ago. Friend of the site Daniel Shoptaw took an in depth look at this subject himself a few days ago. You can read his thoughts here.
Jackie once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Another quote that keeps the focus on Adam Wainwright.
All the way back in 2011, we published a piece about athletes as role models that focused on Wainwright and how he handled himself. Since then, fans have been subject to learning more about Wainwright’s family, faith and home life. Recently, Wainwright has uses his fame and significant social media reach to start a program reading the bible in a year. The program comes complete with emailed thoughts directly from Wainwright and conversations around the subject matter. Wainwright appears to be taking his impact on other’s lives seriously.
There are hundreds of quotes out there by, and about, Jackie Robinson. His political views, his views on Negro League Baseball and his spirit for life are all very well documented. It truly is amazing how many of those thoughts can still apply to today’s world.
Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball
He has written for Yahoo Sports, Bleacher Report, Baseball Digest and many other baseball outlets.