Jaffe: On Jackie Robinson Day, appreciating his extraordinary numbers

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at Sports Illustrated on April 15, 2016:

With the release of Ken Burns’s two-part documentary, Jackie Robinson is in the spotlight again, both his baseball career and his life and his legacy, just as the 69th anniversary of his major league debut—and with it, the fall of MLB’s longstanding color line—comes around. The social significance of Robinson’s debut and the impact it had both on the game and the country cannot be overstated, nor can the immeasurable courage with which he battled racism both during his career and afterward in his all-too-brief life.

All of those things are worth remembering, particularly as baseball recognizes April 15 as Jackie Robinson Day, and it’s fair to point out not only the progress that has been made but also the areas where the sport is lagging and needs to redouble its efforts. As a baseball writer who both lives in Brooklyn and has roots in the borough where Robinson made history, I’ve taken several swings at doing so over the years. This time around, I wanted to take a swing at renewing appreciation for his on-field performance. At first glance, the numbers look “pretty good,” as Bill James once wrote. In a proper statistical context they look even better, and when one adds the weight of what his success meant not only to baseball’s further integration but also of progress within this country, they are off the charts.

Read the full article here: http://www.si.com/mlb/2016/04/15/jackie-robinson-statistics-hall-of-fame

Originally published: April 15, 2016. Last Updated: April 15, 2016.