blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter
blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter

Jackie Robinson’s first trip to Philadelphia – May 9, 1947 – 73 years ago today

Today mark’s the 73rd Anniversary of Jackie Robinson‘s first trip to play in Philadelphia at Shibe Park when the Brooklyn Dodgers came to town to play the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the first game of a 4-game series between the red hot league-leading Dodgers against a lower-ranked Phillies team.

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Yes, controversy happened in Philadelphia with regards to Robinson’s race, it was something that at the time was a contentious subject for some. Phillies manager, Ben Chapman, was apparently letting his players know to razz Robinson from the bench with any and all comments and insults. Robinson had even been reported in the newspapers as bringing some hate mail to then NL President, Ford Frick, who commented on this for the media as well.

An original article, Chapman was an equal opportunity disrupter, he didn’t care who you were, if he could incite you with words, he tried to upset people, he was very outspoken. It was a very different era, even the Ben Franklin Hotel, where the Dodgers stayed in Philly wouldn’t let Robinson check-in

The Phillies went on to win the first game, 6-5 in 11 innings, and went on to take 3 out of the 4 games with Brooklyn at Philadelphia in this series. The Dodgers would return the favor in Brooklyn later in May of ’47 taking 2 out of 3 from the Phillies, and of course, the Brooklyn Dodgers went on to win the NL in 1947 with a 94-60 record, but went onto the World Series only to lose to the New York Yankees in 7 games, 4-3.

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It was a historic time for Robinson to gain access to play major league baseball, in many ways he opened doors that weren’t open before. All the while it was a different time for the Negro Leagues, now it seemed that this move would change a lot of what was going on there too. Robinson started out in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945, then in moved to the National League AAA team Montreal Royals in the International League a Brooklyn Dodgers affiliate.

Robinson at age 28 would go on to win the 1947 NL Rookie of the Year award, and the MVP just two years later. Some of Jackie Robinson‘s numbers below:

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