30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, April 15, 2016

Every Picture Has A Story

When I think of Jackie Robinson... a few things come to mind.  Obviously I think about him crossing the color barrier.  There's also his iconic jersey number that has been retired by Major League Baseball.  Then there are the multiple images of Robinson either crossing, sliding, or hopping across home plate.

Today... I figured I'd analyze the ones I have captured on either baseball cards or memorabilia and see if I can retell the story that the picture shares.

Let's start with this lenticular restaurant oddball from the 90's...

1997 Denny's #29

Who:  Jackie Robinson and Clyde McCullough
What:  Jackie gets caught stealing home.
Where:  Ebbets Field
When:  May 2nd, 1951

The season is young and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in town.  The Pirates third baseman kicks things off with a leadoff home run to give them an early lead.  But in the bottom of the second, Jackie Robinson beats out a ground to third base to become the Dodgers first baserunner.  Two batters later, Roy Campanella hits a ball to right field and Robinson advances to third.  With Pee Wee Reese at the plate, Campy steals second base.  When Clyde McCullough threw the ball to second, Robinson took off from third.  Pirates' second baseman fired the ball back to McCullough and nailed Robinson at the plate.  The Pirates won the game 4 to 3, but wound up with the second worst record in the National League.

The Dodgers?  They finished tied for first with the New York Giants and were forced into a three game playoff to see who would face the New York Yankees in the World Series.  Bobby Thompson hit the Shot Heard 'Round the World and the rest is history.

1956 Topps #30

Who:  Jackie Robinson, Johnny Podres, and Bill Sarni
What:  Jackie stole home.
Where:  Ebbets Field
When:  August 29, 1955

Here's the original image the artist used to create Robinson's 1956 Topps card:

It's late in the season and the 7th place St. Louis Cardinals are in Brooklyn to battle the first place Dodgers.  This particular photo depicts Robinson stealing home in the bottom of the 6th inning to give the Dodgers a 5 to 1 lead.  It's actually a pretty crazy play where the Dodgers successfully pulled off a triple steal.  However... when Sarni threw the ball down to second... Gil Hodges (who stole third when Robinson stole home) took off and tried to score but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

The Cardinals fought back in the top of the 7th when Ken Boyer launched a 3 run homer off of Podres that ended his evening.  Unfortunately... that's all the offense the Cardinals could conjure up... and they ended up losing 10 to 4 that day.

2007 UD Masterpieces Windsor Green #54

Who: Jackie Robinson and Yogi Berra
What: Jackie stole home... again.
Where: Yankee Stadium
When:  September 28th, 1955

It's the first game of the 1955 World Series and the Brooklyn Dodgers are facing Whitey Ford and the New York Yankees.  With the Dodgers down 6 to 4, Jackie steals home in the top of the 8th to reduce the Yankees lead.  Yogi tried to argue the close call, but Bill Summers stood his ground.  In the end, the Yankees held on to win the first game of the series... however the Dodgers walked away the World Champions that year.

1998 Apple Think Different Poster

Who: Jackie Robinson and Tommy Tatum
What: Jackie hits his first MLB home run
Where: Polo Grounds
When:  April 18th, 1947

In his third MLB game, Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers face the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds.  Entering the game, he had struggled at the plate going 1 for 9 his first two games against the Boston Braves.  But in the top of the third inning, he launched his first MLB home run off of Dave Koslo to give the Dodgers a 2 to 1 lead.

The poster captures Robinson touching home plate where he's greeted by teammate Tommy Tatum.  The Giants bounced back and won the game 10 to 4 with Koslo earning the complete game win.  But don't feel too bad for the Dodgers.  They went on to face the New York Yankees in the 1947 World Series.

Well... that wraps up my history lesson for the day.  I had a lot of fun sifting through Google images and Baseball Reference pages in an effort to put the puzzle pieces together.

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!


  1. Those pictures are great. Awesome post Fuji.

  2. Great job Fuji! I love baseball card detective work! And it's even cooler when the pics are meaningful like these are.

  3. great post fuji. i remember seeing a huge version of the apple poster on a building in la when i lived in socal. i'm off to find one for my office...

  4. great post Fuji. One would think they wouldn't fall for the steal of second steal of home routine

  5. zippy - thanks for the kind words. it was fun doing the research

    robert - my favorite posts to read are ones involving some research... so i figured i'd give it a shot.

    john - thanks!

    gcrl - thanks. good luck on grabbing that poster. they've actually become very affordable the past few years.

    brady - i know, right