The reason I’ve been blogging up a storm this morning is that I’m killing time before heading off to the Giants game. A friend offered to go with him, and I accepted. My friend has a interest in collecting bobbleheads. I’m sort of neutral, but I must admit that today’s Johnny Cueto Shimmy Bobble is quite neat. Check it out.
That being said, April 15 is MLB’s Jackie Robinson Day. As a devoted San Francisco Giants fan, I am not a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, I think Jackie Robinson is awesome. Any man who can break the color barrier in baseball, which he did 70 years ago today, and play great baseball under great immense pressure is worthy of the highest respect.
A number of years ago, I got into a heated argument about how good a baseball player Jackie Robinson actually was. This person admitted to not knowing a lot about baseball, but still felt entitled to make some pointed political comments about how Robinson’s election to the Hall of Fame was tokenism. That guy was an idiot. He’s probably still an idiot. He probably hangs out with other idiots who also pontificate about topics they know nothing about.
Check out Jackie Robinson’s career statistics. According to the advanced statistics, he is certainly worthy of being in the Hall of Fame with a WAR (wins above replacement) of 57.2. The fact he only did it in ten seasons makes it even more of a feat.
My favorite seasons are 1947 and 1949. In both those seasons, he won major awards even though many of the voters probably weren’t a fan of integration at the time.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson was the only person of color in baseball until Larry Doby joined Cleveland at the end of the season. The pressure must have been enormous. That didn’t stop Robinson from winning NL Rookie of the Year. The award was well-deserved because he literally was the best rookie in the National League according to Fangraphs WAR.
In 1949, Jackie Robinson won NL MVP. According to WAR, he literally was the most valuable player in the National League that season. He was second in all of baseball in WAR to Ted Williams, who won the AL MVP. The comparison to Williams is quite insightful. Both had the same batting average, but had on base percentages well-above .400. Williams’ of .490 is quite impressive. Williams hit more home runs than Robinson, but that’s the only area he did markedly better. Robinson did everything else better, especially in the areas of defense and base running.
In any event, I should start getting ready for the game. Much respect to Jackie Robinson on his day. That dude was a badass.