Sunday, April 15, 2007

Celebrating Jackie; Those Slammin' O's; Hill Calms Piniella

Today marks the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first appearance in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform. On April 15, 1947, Robinson became the first African-American to play in baseball in the major leagues. Dodger club president
Find Jackie Robinson Facts at Wikipedia.
and general manager Branch Rickey, who took the heat for putting Robinson on the roster, made no mistake about Jackie's ability nor his attitude. After playing the 1946 season for the Montreal Royals in AAA ball, Robinson was deemed ready for the big time, having led the International League with a .349 batting average. Robinson started at first base for the Dodgers and went 0-3 against the Boston Braves, though his performance that day would soon be overshadowed by his on-field accomplishments covering a stellar 10-year major league career. Robinson won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, the NL MVP Award in 1949, was a National League
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All-Star 6 times and played in 6 World Series with the Dodgers. In 1962, he won election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Major League Baseball will commemorate Robinson's contributions to the game on Sunday with a variety of events throughout the league, including ceremonial first pitches at the Dodgers-Padres game by Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson. All players will be sporting a #42 decal on their helmets, and selected players from each major league team will wear a #42 jersey, including all of the Dodger players. For more information on the festivities planned around the majors, click here. Saturday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops American League On Friday, Nick Markakis hit a grand slam out of Camden Yards. On Saturday, it was Chris Gomez's turn. Gomez (right) took a 6th inning offering from reliever Joel Peralta over the wall in left for his first home run and first four RBI of the season. The blast turned a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead and that's how it ended. The win evened Baltimore's record at 6-6 while sending Kansas City to their 3th consecutive loss and the AL Central cellar at 3-9. Jason Giambi homered in the top of the 13th to provide the Yankees a 4-3 decision at Oakland. Alex Rodriguez pounded out his major-league leading 7th home run of the season in the 5th inning. It was A-Rod's only hit of the game in 5 at-bats. Detroit's Brandon Inge had a pretty good night in the Tigers' 10-7 win in Toronto. The 3rd baseman stroked a single, hit a 2-run home run, stole 2 bases and scored twice in 5 at-bats. Despite his heroics, Inge is still batting just .139. Curt Schilling (right) improved to 2-1 with a masterful 8 innings of shutout ball over the LA Angels at Fenway Park. Schilling allowed just 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4. With the game already pretty much decided, David Ortiz blasted a 3-run home run in the 8th, adding to his RBI single in the 6th. The 4 RBI gave "Big Papi" 11 on the year. Michael Cuddyer went 3-4 with a double, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored, as the Twins went to town on the Devil Rays, 12-5, at the Metrodome. Cuddyer's .366 average leads the Twins, who are tied with Detroit for the AL Central lead at 7-4. National League Maybe manager Lou Piniella should lose his temper more often. Just a day after blowing a 5-run lead - and Piniella's press conference blow up - the Cubs got their first 2007 win at Wrigley Field, a 7-0 thumping of Cincinnati. Starter Rich Hill set down the Reds over the first 7 innings on just 3 hits. Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster finished the job, each working an inning of scoreless relief.

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