Brooklyn Public Library


Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit that Ball?

Apr 2, 2008 10:24 AM | 1 comment

Count Basie asked the title question in his hit song from 1949, and the start of baseball season got us pondering another important question: What would baseball be without Brooklyn? You decide.

  • In 1857, Brooklyn sportswriter Henry Chadwick grew so disgusted with the method of scoring a baseball game that he designed his own system. With a few minor differences, it’s the same box score we use today.
  • That same year baseball’s first centralized organization, the National Association of Base Ball Players, was formed by delegates from New York and Brooklyn. It counted 71 teams in Brooklyn.
  • On August 26, 1939, five hundred homes saw the Dodgers battle Cincinnati in the first televised Major League Baseball game, though according to The Sporting News, “it was not possible to pick out the ball.”
  • In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, playing first base* for the Brooklyn Dodgers and winning Rookie of the Year.

Want more? Don’t “wait ’til next year” to read Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers by Peter Golenbock. See more great photos (like the one above) in an historic slideshow from BPL’s Brooklyn Collection. And all ages can enjoy the books and internet links on BPL’s Baseball Season webpage.


Baseball without Brooklyn? No way. Jackie hit that ball.


*Robinson moved to second base the following year (see comments).

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