Results tagged ‘ Jackie Robinson ’

Brewers Visit Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Early this afternoon, I had the pleasure of touring the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) with a group from the Brewers that included Manager Craig Counsell, Bench Coach Jerry Narron, Hitting Coach Darnell Coles, Coach John Shelby, infielder Jason Rogers, Brewers Wives and a few members of the front office.

Founded as a one-room office in 1990 at the corner of 18th Street and Vine, the site of the 1920 founding of the Negro National League, by 1997 it had grown to the 10,000-square-feet museum that we visited today.

Founded as a one-room office in 1990 at the corner of 18th Street and Vine, the site of the 1920 founding of the Negro National League, by 1997 it had grown to the 10,000-square-feet museum that we visited today.

Our tour guide, Raymond Doswell, led us on the NLBM’s unique tour, which circles a large field, with bronze statues of Negro Leagues greats at each position. One must pass through the exhibits telling the story of the league in order to gain access to the field at the end.

Photo Jun 18, 12 26 42 PM

Negro Leagues Museum

Part of the tour involves watching a short film entitled “They Were All Stars,” narrated by James Earl Jones.

Along the way, our tour guide told us the interesting stories behind the photos and artifacts that we were viewing, such as a ball signed by Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Joe Black, Jim Gilliam and Ty Cobb; a letter regarding an assessment on then-Indianapolis Clown player Henry Aaron; a collection of baseballs autographed by Negro League veterans given to the museum by Geddy Lee (yes, that Geddy Lee, of the band Rush); and a copy of “Satchel’s Rules for a Good Life,” that prompted many to capture a photo.

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The Negro Leagues modern structure dates to 1920 when Andrew “Rube” Foster, a former player, manager, and owner for the Chicago American Giants, joined several others to start the Negro National League. Soon, other leagues formed throughout the United States, including Milwaukee in 1923.

In 1947, MLB’s Brooklyn Dodgers brought over Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs to become the first African-American in the modern era to play on a Major League roster.

“It’s history, an important part of baseball history,” said Counsell. “I learned a lesson about American history and baseball history. You get a better understanding about how important baseball was in the African American communities in that time period.”

Jason Rogers echoed that sentiment.”I knew some of the history, but I enjoyed learning a lot more about it,” he said. “I liked it a lot. I’m glad I came.”

Here’s a brief interview with Jason about his visit:


Each year, the Club honors the Negro Leagues with a tribute game at Miller Park. As part of the event, the Brewers’ players wear uniforms of the Milwaukee Bears team that played one season in 1923. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, July 18 when the Brewers face the Pirates. More details pertaining to this year’s Negro Leagues Tribute Game will be released leading up to the event, so stay tuned.

A huge thanks to Raymond and the staff at the museum for a phenomenal tour. I highly encourage all baseball fans to pay a visit to Kansas City to see it.

Jason Rogers, Jerry Narron, Darnell Coles, Craig Counsell and John Shelby pose with the statue of Satchel Paige at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Jason Rogers, Jerry Narron, Darnell Coles, Craig Counsell and John Shelby pose with the statue of Satchel Paige at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.






Congratulations to Breaking Barriers Essay Contest Winner Brianna Guzman!

Brianna Guzman, an 8th grader from J.F. Cooper Elementary School in Milwaukee, WI, is the Grand Prize Winner of this year’s Breaking Barriers Essay Contest where students shared their personal stories of overcoming obstacles in life.

Sponsored by the Milwaukee Brewers, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, the essay participants study the life of baseball legend Jackie Robinson and the values he developed to overcome life’s challenges – courage, determination, commitment, perseverance, integrity, justice, teamwork, citizenship and excellence.

Brianna was honored on the field  before tonight’s game.

Brianna Guzman

Congratulations, Brianna Guzman on your award winning essay in this year’s Breaking Barriers contest in Milwaukee.

Vote for Ryan Braun for the 2014 Branch Rickey Award

Fan voting for the 2014 Branch Rickey Award began this week and Brewers fans can vote for our nominee, Ryan Braun.

The Branch Rickey Award is an honor that recognizes professionals in MLB for exceptional community service.

The award was named in honor of Branch Rickey, who was voted “Most Influential Person in Sports in the 20thCentury” by ESPN’s SportsCentury panel.  Rickey was credited with breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. As President and General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945, he signed the first black player, Jackie Robinson.

Rickey was also dedicated to community service, encouraging the expansion of the “Knothole Gang” program to offer underprivileged kids who could not afford a ticket a chance to attend Major League games.

Each of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs nominates one person from their team for the annual award.

Among the charities supported by the Brewers nominee, Ryan Braun, are Brewers Community Foundation, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Habitat for Humanity, Make-A-Wish, YMCA Wisconsin and Sharp Literacy.

A National Selection Committee, comprised of members of the sports media, past Branch Rickey Award winners and Rotary District Governors in Major League cities vote on the nominees to choose the winner each year. This year, fans  also have the opportunity to help decide the winner by casting votes on Facebook. The independent accounting firm of RubinBrown LLP verifies the ballots.

Fans can vote online at and via Facebook.


42 a Must-See for Baseball Fans

Last night, I was privileged to attend a special screening of “42,” the highly-anticipated Warner Bros & Legendary Pictures biopic of the late, great Jackie Robinson, with a special reception for community leaders, hosted in part by Brewers Community Foundation.

42 Movie

The showing, which took place at Mayfair Mall’s AMC Theatres, was one of just three private screenings in the entire country. In addition to Milwaukee, the other screenings took place in Washington D.C. (hosted by Michelle Obama) and in Atlanta, GA (with Hank Aaron in attendance), also last evening.

The movie is scheduled to open in theaters on Friday, April 12, but I’ve got a review for you here, plus details on a play based on Robinson’s life opening in Milwaukee called Jackie and Me.

First, in case you haven’t seen it, here’s the 42 trailer to whet your appetite:

Although the movie is called “42,” referencing Jackie Robinson’s jersey number, this story is not only about Jackie—it’s also about legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey, whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball.

Because, in Rickey’s words, “There is more than playing. I wish it meant only hits runs, and errors-only the things they put in the box score. Because…a baseball box score is a democratic thing. It doesn’t tell how big you are, what church you attend, what color you are, or how your father voted in the last election.”

The movie opens in 1945 and chronicles Robinson’s journey from the Negro Leagues team the Kansas City Monarchs to the Brooklyn Dodgers’ AAA Club, the Montreal Royals and finally to his Major League debut on April 15, 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers (a date we now commemorate across MLB as Jackie Robinson Day).

I will warn you that there are a few scenes that are tough to watch—but then you remember that this is not just a fictional movie; it’s something that actually happened less than 70 years ago, and you think about how, if it’s so hard for you to watch, how hard must it have been for Robinson to endure?

That’s the feeling the filmmakers are trying to convey. And they don’t just want you to sympathize with Robinson (although that’s a key theme in the film)—they want to illustrate the type of man that he was, how primarily with help from Rickey, his wife, and a reporter named Wendell Smith, he prevailed in the face of the greatest of adversity and went on to not only break the color barrier, but become the 1947 Rookie of the Year and stolen bases champion, a six-time All-Star, and World Series Champion (1955).

Story aside for a moment, the acting in this film is just superb. Chadwick Boseman, a relatively unknown actor, gives an amazing performance as Jackie Robinson and Nicole Beharie, an actress of similar stature is stunning and gorgeous in her role as his wife, Rachel. And although I will admit that I had my doubts when I heard Harrison Ford was playing Branch Rickey (especially after reading this article), he surprised me with a very believable and powerful portrayal. The other actors in the film, particularly those playing Robinson’s teammates or rivals, also did an excellent job. Whether it was someone lovable who sympathized with Robinson and reached out to him; or someone despicable (and there are plenty), you could tell that each character and line of dialogue was specifically chosen by screenwriter Brian Helgeland and really (excuse the pun) hits home.

One of my favorite people in the story is Pee Wee Reese the Brooklyn Dodgers’ All-Star shortstop, portrayed by Lucas Black. His prowess on the field aside, Reese is also famous for his support of Robinson through the most difficult times.

Here's a graphic from the movie's Facebook page, depicting a powerful scene between Reese & Robinson.

Here’s a graphic from the movie’s Facebook page, depicting a powerful scene between Reese & Robinson.

In the movie he says to Robinson, “Maybe tomorrow we’ll all wear 42. That way they won’t be able to tell us apart.”

It’s a moment of levity and a moment of foreshadowing because, as you’re likely aware, each year on April 15, in an inspiring, league-wide effort, Major League Baseball teams observe Jackie Robinson Day. On this day, all players and on-field personnel wear the number “42,” in honor of his indelible legacy and commemorating the historic date when Baseball truly became our national game. This year, because the Brewers have an off-day on Monday, April 15, we’ll celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on April 16 when the San Francisco Giants come to town.

There’s also another Brewers-Robinson connection: First Stage Children’s Theater will feature the play Jackie and Me at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee. It will be performed April 12 through May 5 and Brewers Community Foundation and Rickie Weeks are serving as sponsors of the production. Tickets can be ordered online at


Now since the Brewers had a game last night, unfortunately none of our players were able to attend the screening. However, in Washington, in addition to the movie’s cast and crew, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals was in attendance on his off-day. He tweeted:

Likewise, some of the Atlanta Braves spent their off-day seeing the movie as well:


I hope you’ll take our recommendations and go and see this amazing film. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Please share your comments/reviews below.


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