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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Robinson’s legacy fading, says Arizona’s lone black softball player”

    Imagine stepping up to the plate for the first time knowing your teammates want you to fail while thousands of angry faces are screaming death threats and derogatory remarks at you.

    Sounds like a hellish nightmare, doesn’t it?

    For Jackie Robinson, it was a reality.

    As a Brooklyn Dodger on April 15, 1947, he found himself as the first black player in Major League Baseball.

    Robinson continued to endure a season full of hatred from teammates and fans. Yesterday baseball celebrated Jackie

    Robinson Day on the 60th anniversary of his first game.

    Robinson’s memory has lived on since his death in 1972, but to some his legacy has begun to fade.

    “”I think he’s slowly started to be forgotten,”” said freshman Lisa Odom, the only black player on the UA softball team. “”People forget it wasn’t easy getting there. I think they just bypass and overlook that sometimes.””

    “”You know, that’s the sad part of generations,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”It’s like Mickey Mantle. When I talk to kids about him, they don’t know who he is. If they don’t know Mickey Mantle, they don’t know Jackie Robinson, obviously.””

    MLB teams honored Robinson all over the country yesterday, with more than 200 players on all 30 teams wearing Robinson’s now-retired No. 42 jersey.

    Odom said she is thankful for the sacrifices Robinson made.

    “”He’s the guy who definitely opened the doors for us,”” Odom said.

    Odom’s current role model is USA softball player Natasha Watley, who Odom said has been a sort of pioneer in softball.

    “”I’ve spent most my life basically trying to model how she plays,”” Odom said. “”She’s pretty awesome.””

    Watley has been considered a pioneer in softball as one of the few black softball players to make an indelible mark on the sport.

    “”Softball has been a mostly a middle-class sport,”” Candrea said. “”A lot of those kids in the inner cities aren’t able to play it because of the fields and equipment needed, and that’s why you see a lot of basketball players, but I think we’re trying to bring more exposure to those kids.””

    – Savir Punia

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