Jackie Robinson and the Phillies

April 15, 2011

April 15th is a big day in MLB history, and the league does a fine job of honoring it. It was the day Jackie Robinson first stepped on the field as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and thus broke the color barrier in the sport that had been put up 60 years earlier. (He was not the first black player to play Major League ball. That was Moses Fleetwood Walker.) His first game was not as big a deal as you might think at the time. It was not a front page story on the New York Daily News, and the Times only had a short piece about it. The game was not a sellout. About 60% of the crowd was black. Robinson had a fairly forgettable game, going o-3 against the Boston Braves. The crowd roared it’s approval when Jackie performed well in the field. His first four games would pass rather quietly. It was a week later that things would turn ugly.

Ben Chapman was born and raised in the deep South, and the Phils manager did not approve of the integration of Major League baseball. Therefore he encouraged his players to yell every racial epithet they had ever heard at the Dodgers first baseman, who unfortunately was playing the position on the field closest to the Phils dugout. The Phils players were relentless, riding Robinson so hard that several fans in the area wrote the commissioner to complain.

The incident made waves, and after two games of viciously hounding Robinson, Chapman was told by Commissioner Happy Chandler to sit out the third game of the series. The Phillies PR team tried to protect their franchise, which was getting lambasted by the press. They had Chapman meet with the black media, explaining that “bench jockeying” was a rich baseball tradition, that his team called DiMaggio “The Wop” and White Korowski “The Polack”. Riding the opposition was the Phils way.

His excuse didn’t stick, but by that point it didn’t matter. He had served his purpose in the “Great Experiment”. Branch Rickey, the Dodgers President who had signed Robinson, was thrilled by Chapman’s behavior. According to Robinson’s autobiography, I Never Had it Made:

The Dodgers president wasn’t angry with Chapman or his players. As a matter of fact, in later years, Mr. Rickey commented, “Chapman did more than anybody to unite the Dodgers. When he poured out that string of of unconscionable abuse, he solidified and unified thirty men, not one of whom was willing to sit by and see someone kick around a man who had his hands tied behind his back-Chapman made Jackie a real member of the Dodgers.”

A year later, Chapman was being hounded so mercilessly by the media and by fair-minded fans that Rickey had Robinson and Chapman pose for a photo together as a conciliatory gesture. Chapman refused to shake Robinson’s hand for the photo, so they instead each man held the same bat.

The Phillies franchise was hurt by the incident, and Chapman was out of baseball a year later. The Phils would not sign their first black player for 10 more years, the last team in the National League to do so. That player was a man by the unlikely name of John Kennedy, who got all of 2 at bats in the major leagues.

As for Chapman, according to a 1994 Sporting News obituary, he possibly had some regrets a bit later in life.

“A man learns about things and mellows as he grows older,” Chapman began. “I think maybe I’ve mellowed. Maybe I went too far in those days, when I thought it was OK to try to throw guys off-balance and upset them with jockeying. I’m sorry for many of the things I said. I guess the world changes and maybe I’ve changed, too.”

Not exactly a tear jerker, but it was a far cry from the Chapman of 1947. As for Robinson, I found this summation of him in Mickey Mantle’s book, The Quality of Courage, perhaps the most interesting thing I’ve ever read about him.

There’s an odd thing about Jackie Robinson. I myself was never very friendly with him, and I have found that a lot of people who knew him in and out of baseball really dislike him. He’s a hard man for some people to like because he isn’t soft and smooth-talking and syrupy. He is tough and independent and he says what he thinks, and he rubs people the wrong way. But I have never heard of anyone who knew Jackie Robinson, whether they liked him or disliked him, who didn’t respect and admire him. That might be more important than being liked.

If you liked this article, you may also like The Tragedy of Slim Jones.




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Size Charts

Select your brand and style to read more about how your purchase will fit:

American Needle fitted hats | '47 Brand hats | '47 Brand apparel | Majestic apparel | Majestic jerseys | Red Jacket apparel | Junk Food apparel | Next Level apparel (Shibe Originals)

Use these tips as a general guide when finding your measurements:

 

American Needle Fitted Hats

If you do not know your size, first determine where on your head you want to wear your hat. Usually it is worn about a half-inch to an inch above the eyebrows and/or just above the ears. Have a friend hold the tape measure (cloth, plastic, or download a printable version here) at the point where you want the hat to rest on your head.  Insert the tip of your little finger between the tape and your head.  Record the measurement and find your Fitted Hat size using the chart below.  This should provide you with a comfortable fit.

 

'47 Brand Hats

 

47 Brand Adjustable Hats Size Chart Size Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Adjustable Hats Men's 6 7/8 - 7 5/8 55 - 61
Women's 6 5/8 - 7 1/4 53 - 58
Youth 6 5/8 - 7 1/8 53 - 57

 

47 Brand Fitted Hats Size Chart Size Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Fitted Hats XX Small 6 1/2 - 6 5/8 52 - 53
X Small 6 3/4 54
Small 6 7/8 - 7 55 - 56
Medium 7 - 7 1/8 56 - 57
Large 7 1/4 58
X Large 7 3/8 - 7 5/8 59 - 61
XX Large 7 5/8 - 7 3/4 61 - 62
XXX Large 7 7/8 63
XXXX Large 8 64
XXXXX Large 8 1/8 65

 

47 Brand Stretch Fit Hats Size Chart Size Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Stretch Fit Fitted Hats Youth 6 1/2 - 6 5/8 52 - 53
Small / Medium 6 7/8 - 7 55 - 56
Medium / Large 7 1/8 - 7 3/8 57 - 59
Large / X Large 7 1/2 - 7 5/8 60 - 61
One Size Fits All 7 - 7 1/2 56 - 60

 

47 Brand Knit Hats Size Chart Hat Size Circumference (cm)
Knit Hats Youth 6 1/2 - 6 3/4 52 - 54
One Size Fits All 6 7/8 - 7 1/2 55 - 60

 

'47 Brand Apparel

 

 
47 Brand Men's Size Chart S M L XL XXL
Neck 14"-14.5" 15"-15.5" 16"-16.5" 17"-17.5" 18"-18.5"
Shoulder 21" 22" 23" 24" 25"
Chest 36"-38" 39"-41" 42"-44" 45"-47" 48"-50"
Waist 28"-30" 31"-33" 34"-36" 37"-39" 40"-42"

 

47 Brand Women's Size Chart S M L XL
Size 2-4 6-8 8-10 10-12
Shoulder 14.25" 15.25" 16.25" 17.25"
Bust 32"-34" 35"-36" 37"-38" 39"-42"
Waist 26"-27" 28"-29" 30"-31" 32"-33"

 

 

Majestic apparel

Men's Sizing (measurements in inches)
  S M L XL XXL 3XL 4XL
Chest 34-36 38-40 42-44 46-48 52-52 54-56 58-60
Waist 28-30 32-34 36-38 40-42 44-46 48-50 52-54
Hip 34-36 38-40 42-44 46-48 50-52 54-56 58-60
Sleeve 32-33 33-34 34-35 35-36 36-36 1/2 36 1/2-37 37-37 1/2
Neck 14-14 1/2 15-15 1/2 16-16 1/2 17-17 1/2 18-18 1/2 19-19 1/2 20-20 1/2

 

Women's Sizing (measurements in inches)
  XS S M L XL 1X 2X
Size 0-2 4-6 8-10 12-14 16-18 16W-18W 20W-22W
Chest 32-33 34-35 36-37 38-40 41 1/2-43 1/2 43-45 47-49
Waist 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-32 33 1/2-35 1/2 36-38 39-41
Hip 34 1/2-35 1/2 36 1/2-37 1/2 38 1/2-39 1/2 40 1/2-42 1/2 44-46 46-48 49-51
Sleeve 29 1/4 30 30 3/4 31 1/2 32 32 1/2 33

 

Youth Sizing (measurements in inches)
  S M L XL XXL 3XL
Size 6-8 10-12 14-16 18-20 20 22
Chest 24-26 28-30 32-34 36-38    
Waist 21-23 25-27 29-31 33-35 37-39 40-42

 

 

 

Majestic Jerseys

Adult Men's Replica Jersey Sizing  
Jersey Size Small Medium Large X Large XX Large
Neck (diameter of neck) 6.5 6.75 7 7.25 7.5
Chest (underarm to underarm) 20 1/2 22 1/2 24 1/2 26 1/2 28 1/2
Sleeve (back of inside neck to end of middle sleeve) 8 1/2 8 3/4 9 9 1/4 9 1/2

 

Apparel Sizing Tips:

Use these tips as a general guide when finding your measurements:

Chest/Bust: With your arms at your sides, measure around the fullest part of your chest, across shoulder blades and under arms.

Waist: To measure your natural waistline, wrap the tape so it intersects your navel. Keep tape flat, but comfortably loose.

Hips: Stand with your heels together and measure the fullest part of your hips. Make sure the measuring tape is level all the way around your body.

Inseam: Stand up straight, and start the tape measure high in your crotch. Straighten the tape down the inside of your leg to the bottom of your ankle.

 

 

Red Jacket apparel

 

 

Junk Food apparel

 

Next Level apparel (Shibe Originals)

General Size Neck
(in inches)
Chest
(in inches)
Waist
(in inches)
Arm
(in inches)
Small 14-14.5 34-36 28-30 31.5-32
Medium 15-15.5 38-40 32-34 32.5-33
Large 16-16.5 42-44 36-38 33.5-34
X-Large 17-17.5 46-48 40-42 34.5-35
XX-Large 18 – 18.5 50-52 44-46 35.5-36