Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's death, just nine days after he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the 1972 World Series at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. Robinson's son, David, sat down with Bob Costas for an MLB Network special that aired on Tuesday.
David Robinson reflected on his father's final days.
"There was a sadness, of course. He knew he was dying and his life was coming to an end, and what he had done was only partially done. There was not the manager that he saw, but there’s got to be the celebration," Robinson said. "There’s tragedy in life and there’s the potential of taking the years you have, however short, and making them meaningful. In those short years, he did more than men who would live to 100.
"One of the definitions of greatness I think is someone who carries on until the final moment and continues to push the agenda and the issues that one has. That was forefront in his life," Robinson continued. "It was about something that impacted the civil development of American society and I think that’s an important and great thing that a baseball player did."
Robinson talked about his father's penchant for stealing home as well.
"I’m always amazed to this day thinking about a man challenging the speed of a baseball," Robinson said. "You got to have a lot of heart and a lot of confidence to figure you can make that run and beat that ball with the catcher and the pitcher against you."
The competitive spirit of Jackie Robinson is something his son will always remember.
"I have a picture in my office in Tanzania. I’ve got his back, watching the field. Somebody’s hit a home run. My father is watching to see if he’s touched all the bases," Robinson said. "I love that. I show my children that ... to say, basically, it’s against our rules to give up. That’s a great motto for Jackie Robinson’s children and any children today."
In other news, the Dodgers will begin a weekly offseason edition of Dodger Talk on KLAC AM 570 next Wednesday on Halloween night, hosted by Jorge Jarrin. The weekly show will run from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m PT, and his first show will feature first baseman Adrian Gonzalez as a guest.