It was sixty years ago today that Jackie Robinson officially broke the color line in baseball by making his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. There will be much to read and learn about this remarkable man and how he changed not only the game of baseball but arguably America itself, but the most interesting story I've read so far has been this one about the man who played Wally Pipp to Robinson's Lou Gehrig.
Jackie Robinson Day's central event will take place in Los Angeles, where Robinson's widow will be on hand to see each member of the Dodgers wear Robinson's No. 42 as they take the field against the San Diego Padres.
Houston will host a smaller event -- a youth baseball clinic at Memorial Park's Andy Anderson Field, sponsored by Major League Baseball's alumni association.
One of the senior members among the former players on hand will be Ed Stevens, 82, who keeps a copy of the box score from Robinson's first game on the office wall of his southwest Houston home, alongside a picture of himself with Robinson and some of their Brooklyn Dodgers teammates that year.
Stevens spent 29 years as a scout, so he enjoys working with young talent. He has another reason, though, to remember the events of April 15, 1947.
It was the day Jackie Robinson took his job.
Stevens has had 60 years to consider the consequences of the day that Robinson's dreams came true at the expense of his dreams for a long, successful career with the Dodgers. Still, he too will pause to remember Jackie Robinson.
"Jackie Robinson, with all he accomplished, with everything he went through, he deserves this recognition," Stevens said Friday. "I was a little put out with some things that happened at the time. But he was an outstanding ballplayer. I have no qualms about honoring him."
When he thinks of 1947, he recalls the abuse he endured in [his hometown of] Galveston for losing his job to a black man.
"Some of the older people wouldn't talk to me," Stevens said.
"I would even get phone calls from people asking me how it could happen. I finally had to threaten to whip some of them to get them off my back. But I never had any hard feelings or regrets toward Jackie Robinson."