Jackie Robinson

April 20, 2006

Michael Brown has been a good friend of mine for over twenty years although, for the past few years, we haven’t seen each other very often. A few days ago I got a note from him followed by a phone call suggesting that we catch up over lunch.

The very same day I was looking at the NY Times Sports Pages and saw an article describing the first Black/White handshake in organized baseball which occurred 60 years ago on the 18th of April. Jackie Robinson had been signed by Walter O’Malley of the then Brooklyn Dodgers and was placed on the roster of the Dodger minor league team in Montreal. The Montreal Royals were in Jersey City playing the Jersey City Giants and, on his second at bat, Robinson hit a home run and, as he crossed the plate, was greeted with a handshake by George Shuba. That marked the first time that a black man and a white man shared a handshake in the history of organized professional baseball.

Mike and I agreed to meet at Grove Street in Jersey City at noon today to share a quick lunch as he had a 2:00 appointment in Manhattan. We walked into the “Hard Grove Cafe” which is a Cuban restaurant and the closest eating place to the Grove Street PATH station. The place was empty and the waitress told us to sit anywhere we wanted. As we sat down I mentioned to Mike that the 60th anniversary of that historic handshake had been 2 days ago. Jackie Robinson has been Mike’s role model for most of his life and Mike’s respect for Jackie runs so deep that he named his only son Robinson Brown. Rarely do Mike and I meet without mentioning Jackie and as I told him about the historic handshake he smiled and pointed at the table. The table had one of those varnished tops covering many old newspaper articles about Jersey City and there it was. The table we had randomly selected was displaying an old article about that handshake and the home run that had precipitated it.

I love that kind of synchronicity and it gives me tingles to know at some very deep level that we have the power to cause it to occur. No, I can’t prove it; it’s just one of those things that I know. I don’t know how it works but it seems to occur when two or more people are in resonance in terms of their most basic beliefs and desires.

Posted April 24, 2007

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