We’ll be writing a lot about Robinson this year. The 66th anniversary of his major-league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers is April 15. Three days earlier is the planned release date of “42,” the biopic starring Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. You can view the trailer here.
In light of this week’s news about a Miami-based PED lab that claimed several major-leaguers as clients, I’ll take this space to point out that Robinson was neither a drinker nor a smoker – let alone a juicer.
An often-overlooked local landmark is the plaque commemorating Robinson’s boyhood home at 121 Pepper Street in Pasadena. (There’s no home there now, just a plaque, as the home was torn down in the early 1970s.) Feel free to leave a present there today. Or a doodle.
Lots of links today:
• Per BaseballAmerica.com, the Dodgers have signed two minor-leaguers: right-hander Kyle Cofield, who was released by the Pirates on June 29, and outfielder Jaylen Harris, whose name we can only guess was misspelled. (The only Jalen Harris listed on baseball-reference.com is this 20-year-old third baseman who spent the last two years in the Brewers’ organization.)
• Scott Rolen reportedly wants to play this year. Money and playing time could be an issue for him in Cincinnati, less of an issue with the Dodgers. Don Mattingly said last weekend that he reached out to the 37-year-old third baseman. Both are from Evansville, Indiana, and you can bet that Mattingly’s ability to sell a fellow Hoosier on the merits of playing in Los Angeles was part of the conversation. Maybe we’ll see how good of a salesman Mattingly is.
• One of the National League West’s best players, Chase Headley, avoided arbitration by re-signing with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday for a reported one year and $8.575 million. Headley’s 31 home runs, 115 RBIs and .286 batting average for a fourth-place Padres team got him enough MVP votes to finish fifth in the final voting. Headley, 28, had been seeking $10.3 million for 2013 through arbitration; the Padres had offered him $7.075 million, according to UTSanDiego.com. He made $3.475 million in 2012. The third baseman won’t be a free agent until 2015.
• Want to have dinner with Ned Colletti? Make your reservations here.
• In honor of Robinson’s birthday, one of the most-covered songs of the Civil Rights era, “I Wish I Knew.” Actually, this is Nina Simone’s 1967 version of Billy Taylor‘s original, which she titled “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free.” (Taylor says he wrote it for his daughter Kim. Considering it was covered by everyone from The Smothers Brothers to Sharlene Hector of Basement Jaxx, it must have touched many more):
Bonus track. The Jackie reference here is less obtuse: