Yesterday while in Tony’s Barbershop in Silver Lake waiting to get my long-overgrown hairdon’t buzzed and clipped into something more resembling a ‘do, I was thumbing through a recent issue of the The Sporting News (TSN) and came across a two-page spread devoted to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Dodgers final game in Brooklyn and featuring several Dodger greats of that era, among them my all-time favorite: Jackie Robinson, whose 60th anniversary of his major league debut was in April of this year.
Reprinted in the bottom corner was a document titled “The Sporting News Baseball Questionnaire,” completed by Robinson and dated December 18, 1947. Going online to TSN’s website I found that item as well as another completed June 23, 1947, right in the middle of his inaugural season with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Of note: he listed his nationality not as American but as American Negro, and in both questionnaires when asked “What do you consider your outstanding performance in baseball?” the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year answered with only a straight line.
But what I found most interesting were the home addresses he listed in the off-season. I’d long known his family’s connection to Pasadena and figured that had been his homebase. Nope: it was L.A.’s University Expo Park West neighborhood next to USC. In June of 1947 he and wife Rachel lived at 1588 W. 36th Place in Los Angeles, andby December of that year he’d moved a block north and a few east to 1283 W. 35th Street. Upon cursory inspection of Google Maps’ satellite view it appears as if both houses are still standing and I’m thinking a bike pilgrimage will soon be in order to look upon the unremarkable places this extraordinary man hung his hat during such a tumultuous and spectacular and history-making time in his life.
P.S. The Sporting News documents referenced above along with others can be examined here.