Posnanski: A baseball story of Bobby Bragan and Jackie Robinson

From SABR member Joe Posnanski at Joe Blogs on March 28, 2015:

When Bobby Bragan was young and in the minor leagues, people used to call him “Nig.” This was because he was of a darker complexion than most. He found this to be a funny and fitting nickname, and he embraced it. Bobby Bragan grew up in Alabama. The only black people he knew were servants and the people who worked for his father’s construction company. He did not see African Americans as fully human, and he did not even consider that his nickname might be offensive to anyone until he reached the Major Leagues and a teammate told him.

Bragan began his big-league career as a shortstop. He couldn’t hit much, and he was an erratic fielder … to say the least. In 1940, as a rookie, he made 49 errors and a year later he made 45 more. He realized that his future wasn’t bright at shortstop, so he offered to become a catcher. It was a wise baseball decision. He was traded to Brooklyn in 1943 and a couple of years later went to war. When he was discharged in 1947, he traveled straight to Cuba and the Dodgers spring training. He had himself a job as a backup catcher.

You might remember that Dodgers’ spring training in 1947 was unlike any other. That was Jackie Robinson’s spring.

Read the full article here: http://joeposnanski.com/a-baseball-story/

Originally published: April 3, 2015. Last Updated: April 3, 2015.