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Damien Barling: 1947

circa 1945: A portrait of the Brooklyn Dodgers' infielder Jackie Robinson in uniform. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Let’s be clear about something – Jackie Robinson was hated. If Jackie Robinson was around today, he’d be hated. Baseball can pretend otherwise but theres plenty of proof to back that claim.

Major League Baseball got its start on this date in 1947. Yes, I’m aware MLB was founded in 1903 but it was the major leagues in name alone. MLB was the segregated whites only league. The Negro leagues had been in existence since the 1870s but it wasn’t until Jackie Robinson 71 years ago that African Americans were allowed in MLB. To acknowledge the 27 Yankees as the greatest team or Babe Ruth as the greatest player that ever lived completely ignores the circumstances in which these men played in. They did not compete with the greatest players in the world. They competed with and against, the greatest white players in the world. 

If baseball purists are so concerned about the so-called steroid era and how that effects baseball history, they should also be willing to acknowledge anything before Jackie Robinson is nothing more than a celebration of segregated athletics.