Swanson: ‘They beat the hell out of us’: Jackie Robinson’s final game

From SABR member Ryan Swanson at The National Pastime Museum on April 9, 2015:

“Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end.”

I wish these were the noble words of someone like Thomas Jefferson or Mother Teresa. That way I’d sound smarter quoting them. The statement actually comes from a Tom Cruise character in a lousy 1980s movie. But the point still stands: endings, especially in sports, are usually disappointing. Final games and last-season-farewell-tours rarely capture the essence of the athlete at hand. Willie Mays stumbled through his final games with the New York Mets. Michael “Air” Jordan could barely dunk in his last seasons with the Washington Wizards. Even the “Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, suffered beatings at the hands of Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick during his second comeback.

I find the endings of athletes’ careers fascinating. Will a star athlete go out on top? Sandy Koufax. Will he find himself trading in his long-worn jersey for that of another team to prolong his career? Brett Favre. Will he do whatever’s necessary to draw a few additional paychecks? Babe Ruth. Will he stun us with an early departure? Barry Sanders.

In light of this interest, if I could choose any game in MLB history to attend, I would select the final game of the 1956 World Series. That game marked the end of the most important career in the history of American professional sports.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/they-beat-hell-out-us-jackie-robinsons-final-game

Originally published: April 9, 2015. Last Updated: April 9, 2015.