Happy Jackie Robinson Day

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April 15 has a lot going on — it’s tax day and Patriot’s Day — but in baseball it’s most significant because it’s Jackie Robinson Day. Sixty-six years ago today Robinson became the first black man to play major league baseball in the modern era.

Players will wear 42 on their jerseys today. Just about every columnist you read will have a remembrance or retrospective of the man today.  Even if you’ve read a lot of these and know the general story, you should take some extra time to reacquaint yourself with it again. Or, maybe even better, go check out Jackie’s Baseball-Reference.com page. I sometimes feel like we spend so much time on talking about Robinson’s breaking the color barrier that we forget he was a hell of a baseball player and would have been Hall of Fame worthy regardless.

Also worth checking out are some things about Robinson’s post-playing career, which includes a lot of important work in the civil rights movement and which is often overlooked. Here’s a nice start to that.

Robinson was a complex and interesting man and that often gets lost as so much time is spent on the well-known and well-told partys of his story.

Happy 42 Day.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.