April 2015 PAD – Day 15: Forty-Two

On this day in 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, became the first African-American player in Major League Baseball when he stepped onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers (yeah the Dodgers used to play in Brooklyn!). Robinson broke the colour bar in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years. Exactly 50 years later, on April 15, 1997, Robinson’s groundbreaking career was honoured and his uniform number, 42, was retired from Major League Baseball.

“It’s a hard rain a-gonna fall” Bob Dylan

It was raining in Brooklyn
a hard rain
a warm spring rain
the kind that washes the filth and grime
off the city streets
and down into the sewers.

“Play Ball!”

Down in the sewers they were screaming abuse
down in The South Jim Crow was still loose
Down in the dugout the coach yelled “Swing!”
Well, it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing!
Questions were asked, sometimes with fists
they were all answered, always with the bat

Some wouldn’t travel
on the same bus
they got dropped or sent down                                                                                                       that ended the fuss
some said it wasn’t natural,
just not right
when Jackie took the plate
that stopped the fight
he opened the door
for many to come
and is honoured each spring
for the greatest homerun

It’s still raining in Brooklyn
a hard rain that washes away the hate
and inequality of every shade and hue
still the haters hate on and prejudice is rife

Down in the streets they are marching again
not just in The South preachers preach sin
down in the dugout the coach screams “Pitch!”
We’re too many to stop, they can’t scratch our itch
Questions are still asked and people take sides
there is only one winner and that is Freedom

It comes as no surprise
that a wise-man once said
the answer to Life,
the Universe
and Everything
is really quite simple:
Play Ball!


One Response to April 2015 PAD – Day 15: Forty-Two

  1. Pingback: April 2015 PAD – Day 15: Forty-Two | Iain Douglas Kemp Writes – Without Anaesthetic

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