Photo Credit: Mike Siegel
The Seattle Times
The Seattle Mariners celebrate after winning the American League West division title. (September 20, 2001)
This is my 1953 Jackie Robinson card. My cousin gave it to me in 1959. It, and the 1957 Hank Aaron card below, are the two most prized bits of memorabilia from my youth. The only thing that exceeds my adoration for these men as baseball heroes is my respect for their accomplishments in the field of social justice. It takes a lot of guts to endure what Jackie and Hank went through, something most of us will never fully comprehend. I'll take these guys as my role models; you can have Albert Belle and Roberto Alomar. And John Rocker.
Merry Christmas to me! The 50th Anniversary Jackie Robinson baseball, the Robbie biography written by Rachel Robinson, the Jackie Robinson Story video and several appropriate tree ornaments. The t-shirt I'm wearing was made from an iron-on transfer copied from my card. And yes, the back of the card, with all the stats, is on the back of the t-shirt.
But wait! There's more!
Once in a while the mega-banks do something truly cool. The November 1997 issue of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly carried a full page ad from FirstUSA Visa, offering four different Jackie Robinson VISA cards. This is the one I chose. (Of course, I doctored the jpeg a bit.) Get more info from 1-800-FIRST-USA. I have no other interest in this bank, although I do owe them some money. :) I should also note that as of January, 2000 all four Visa cards in this "set" were still available.
Swung on and belted...!
Fortunately, the Mariners have corrected many of their past pitching woes. But if you know anyone who can throw strikes and has an ERA less than 3.00, please contact:
The Seattle Mariners
Meanwhile, here's some other fine baseball stuff...
I know...this should be a former corn field in Iowa. Any real baseball stadium would have at least this much charisma. See it before they tear it down.
It doesn't get any better than this. Randy Johnson slams the door on the crumbling Angels, and the 1995 M's head for their first post-season in club history. The game's greatest visual moments include the bases-clearing triple-cum-inside-the-park homer punched by Luis "Say Hey!" Sojo, and former Mariner Mark Langston lying flat on his back at the plate after missing the tag on Sojo.
Well, maybe it does get a bit better. Game 5 of the 1995 Mariners-Yankees playoff, arguably one of the greatest series of all time. If you're a true baseball fan you had to love every minute of this match-up. (Unless, of course, you're also a Yankee fan.) The late inning pitching duel between eventual Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson and Yankees ace Black Jack McDowell, both of them starters pitching in relief, was one of the most amazing sights I've ever witnessed in sports. Two gunslingers at high noon. 58,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs, going completely bonkers when Junior scores all the way from first with the winning run. The unforgettable pig pile at home plate, Junior laughing as he's being squished by ecstatic teammates. I lost my voice for three days, and split my hand open from clapping so hard. Whew. Somebody get me another cold champagne, wouldja?
Cal Ripken, Jr.'s last 1995 game in Seattle before going back home to break Lou Gehrig's streak. Seats behind home plate. How many Albert Belles would you trade me for one Cal Ripken? Sorry...not enough. Wish Cal hadn't retired...I miss him already. And if he's not a unanimous first ballot choice for the Hall of Fame it'll only be because Selig screwed something else up.
e-mail Jef Jaisun
This page isn't done...but then the season never ends, either.
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