The first baseball team I played on was the Dodgers. I’ve been a Dodger fan ever since, checking their place in the National League standings almost every day of the season, year after year. It would have been difficult to learn more about sports and life from any professional sports franchise than one could learn from the Dodgers as I was growing up.

It was the Dodgers who returned integration to the Major Leagues in 1951, which from my home in central Wisconsin seemed unremarkable; and when I became old enough to think about baseball, Jackie Robinson was my most favorite player for a long while.

It was the Dodgers who led the Major League’s migration from the northeast to the west, which my young mind could not grasp. From historic Brooklyn to Los Angeles? To play in the Coliseum?

I could not know then that this leading edge of professional sports franchise mobility would become an early adopter of a new toy called “television,” and that this would solidify baseball’s place as the national pastime for two more generations.

I coped with tragedy as catcher Roy Campanella suffered a paralyzing injury. I considered religion’s place in life as Sandy Koufax declined to pitch on Jewish holy days.

The Dodgers of my youth already knew that life is not fair. How could it be after Oct. 3, 1951, when the hated Giants’ Bobby Thompson hit a ninth-inning homerun to steal the National League pennant from my Dodgers?

Sadly, the Dodgers of more recent years have been beset by the kind of ownership dramas now common among professional sports as the insipid idle rich ruin even the most stable and storied franchises.

And speaking of rich, had it not been for my dear mother’s insatiable desire to clean out every closet she found, I might be rich too. For I had collected, and kept in mint condition, the baseball card of every Dodger player of the 1950s. They were thrown out while I was away at college.

Posted in: Baseball, Diversity


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From the Director

From the Director is the official MHSAA Blog which will touch on pertinent school sports topics periodically throughout the school year from various MHSAA Staff.