With ’42′ officially hitting theaters today, many across the country are taking this opportunity to reflect on the groundbreaking accomplishments of Jackie Robinson – who changed baseball and a nation when he became the first African American to sign a contract with a Major League Baseball team.
When most people think of ‘home’ and Jackie Robinson, they usually recall his epic steal of home against the Yankees (and Yogi Berra) in the ’55 World Series. While he certainly had a penchant for “stealing home”, we think ‘home’ meant a lot more to Jackie than the one on the baseball diamond.
Born in Georgia in 1919 but raised in Pasadena, California, Jackie Robinson unequivocally had an affinity for ‘home’. You see, while many athletes in New York might opt for the luxury and prestige of Manhattan, Jackie placed real deep roots within the community of Brooklyn, making it his ‘home’ in every sense of the word.
Shortly after he signed his contract with the Dodgers, he bought a charming home on a small block in the tight knit community of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Located at 5224 Tilden Avenue, his home was a two-story brick house with a large bay window that looked a whole lot like every other home in the neighborhood.
In a story told by his daughter Sharon, after Jackie moved into the Tilden Ave house, he bought an extra Christmas tree and gave it to his next door neighbor because he noticed they didn’t have one up for the holidays. It turned out that the family was Jewish but they were so touched by his thoughtful act that they kept the tree anyway!
It is in these random acts of kindness and generosity that we see the beauty of Jackie Robinson’s character, and what makes placing roots in a community so powerful. Your neighbors become more than just neighbors, they become parts of your extended family. Jackie and his wife lived in the quaint and cozy home through some of his greatest baseball related accomplishments; including a Rookie of the Year and a Most Valuable Player of the Year award. Jackie Robinson loved home, and so do we.
With Major League Baseball celebrating the 10th annual “Jackie Robinson Day” on April 15th, and with ’42′ hitting theaters this weekend, we’re happy to take time to remember one of the most genuinely important people in American history.
*Header Image of Jackie Robinson’s House Courtesy of: Wikipedia
*Header Image of Jackie Robinson in Uniform Courtesy of: New York Daily News
*Image of Jackie Robin and family in Header Courtesy of: New York Daily News