In 1974, Lee Elder won the Monsanto Open in Pensacola, Florida to become the first African-American to earn a spot in The Masters. He almost skipped the event because of how badly he had been treated there in 1968 in his rookie season on the PGA Tour. In 1997, Tiger Woods became the first African-American to win a Green Jacket at Augusta. It just so happens that the following week, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig celebrated the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first start for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
At the 50th anniversary celebration, Major League Baseball retired Jackie’s number 42 throughout baseball, and every year on this date, everyone in the league plays with the historic number on their back. As we get into Jackie Robinson Day today, the one thing lost from mainstream history is, Jackie loved to play golf, and after retiring, played as often as he could, but faced some of the same racial problems as he had overcome in baseball.
A nice article in the New York Times today entitled: Remembering Jackie Robinson, The Golfer tells us that the Brooklyn Dodger fought the the racial problem everywhere he went. Where he was able to live, where he was able to play tennis, and where he was able to play golf. It shows us that almost everywhere Jackie wanted to go, he had to blaze the trail.
As it developed, it was also the last year that Robinson, an avid golfer, would play at the High Ridge Country Club, which straddled the border between Pound Ridge and Stamford, and was, as Robinson said, ”a few good wood shots from my home.”
The reason? Another racial barrier. Only two years before, Robinson and his wife, Rachel, along with their three children, had surmounted a racial hurdle when they started building a house on a six-acre tract of land in a previously all-white section of North Stamford after having been rebuffed in Westchester.
This is a nice article, and is well worth a click. I have provided some excerpts and a link above!
— USGA (@USGA) April 16, 2014
For some more history regarding the baseball portion of Jackie’s fight, be sure to read this article at ESPN.com.
On the 67th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Baseball, be sure to read some of these articles, and familiar yourself with a true hero who fought the fight in a period of time when the fight was truly a fight!