Happy Jackie Robinson Day

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April 15th is the anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Major League debut.  Tons of players will wear #42 in his honor today (which I don’t much care for, but that’s another rant).  That dude down at that university in Georgia or Florida or wherever will issue his annual report about minority participation in baseball (which I don’t much care for either, but that’s also another rant).

Major League Baseball is obviously doing stuff too. One of them is the launch of www.IAM42.com where  60+ baseball players and other celebrity types appear on video and express what Jackie Robinson and his legacy means to them.  Also, tomorrow at noon and 6PM easter, MLB Network will air a documentary called Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson. It’s hosted by Curtis Granderson and narrated by Dennis Haysbert (who, sadly, is not likely to be doing the Cerrano voice).  It focuses on Robinson’s role in the civil rights movement, post-baseball retirement for the most part. A preview of it can be seen here.

This sounds cool. Because, while I mean this as no offense whatsoever to Robinson’s baseball legacy, that part of his life is a well-known and well-told story by now. Indeed, it’s bordering on fable and simplistic morality tale, and has been sapped somewhat of its historical power due to over-exposure and reductionism in my view.  Jackie Robinson’s post-playing career, however,  is every bit as interesting and complex as him breaking the color line, even if it wasn’t as significant.  And I tend to be a fan of interesting and complex, and I like to learn new things rather than recite the old, so I am really looking forward to this.

Anyway, happy 42 Day.

Former major league pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez dies in traffic accident

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Former Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez died in a traffic accident in Havana on Thursday, per reports from the El Nuevo Herald and CiberCuba. No other deaths or injuries have been reported in connection to the accident. Gonzalez was 34 years old.

The Cuban righty defected from his home country in 2013 and signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies. A bout of right shoulder tendinitis compromised his bid for a major league role, but he finally broke through to the big leagues at the tail end of the 2014 season and turned in a 6.75 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 in just six outings. Another case of shoulder inflammation derailed any progress he might have made in 2015, however, and he recorded just five innings in Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the team officially released him prior to the 2016 season.

The Phillies released a statement following news of Gonzalez’s death: