Jackie Robinson’s debut still sharp in Branca’s mind

From SABR member Nick Diunte at Examiner.com on April 15, 2012:

Sixty-five years ago on April 15, 1947, Ralph Branca stood alongside Jackie Robinson as he was set to take the field in Brooklyn against the Boston Braves. While Robinson’s debut is now regarded as one of the most important events in sports, at the time, the 86-year-old Branca said this week at a dinner for his Sports Angels charity that most people didn’t fully understand what they were seeing.

“When Jackie broke the color barrier, I think nobody knew the significance of it; it was over everybody’s head. It was strange territory and nobody knew what to expect,” said Branca.

Through Sports Angels, Branca continues to give back to local sports programs, including the school that bears the name of his legendary teammate.

“Last week we went to the Jackie Robinson school to provide them with baseball uniforms. We enjoy giving back. Jackie opened the door for so many,” he said.

Read the full article here: http://www.examiner.com/baseball-history-in-new-york/jackie-robinson-s-debut-still-sharp-teammate-branca-s-mind-65-years-later

Related link: Read Lyle Spatz’s special excerpt on Jackie Robinson’s debut from The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, SABR’s new book from University of Nebraska Press.

Originally published: April 16, 2012. Last Updated: April 16, 2012.