Mad props to SoSG Orel and all of his transcribing of Vin Scully's audio, one piece of which was picked up by Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe on Jackie Robinson Day:
As for Scully, while he wasn’t a firsthand witness to Robinson in 1947, he began his career with the Dodgers in 1950, early enough to see the majority of his stellar major league career. Hearing him retell stories of his interaction with Robinson is a delight. One in particular stands out, for it clarifies MLB’s oft-misunderstood decision to allow all players to wear number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day. As transcribed by the Sons of Steve Garvey blog from Scully’s 2011 recounting, wearing 42 isn’t just an anodyne gesture of unity, it’s a gesture of defiance in the face of the forces that tried to defeat Robinson.:
Told a story last year. It’s only worthwhile on Jackie Robinson Day. At the time, it was a very funny crack made in a Dodger clubhouse in Cincinnati… Jackie had received some serious threats against his life, so that when the Dodgers came to Cincinnati, the old Crosley Field, they had riflemen on the rooftops and on the roof of the big laundry building back in left field. It was serious.
And before the game, the Dodgers held a meeting in the clubhouse. And everybody, understandably, was tense. This was really serious. And they had an outfielder named Gene Hermanski, who suddenly broke the silence by saying, “I’ve got it!”
And everybody stopped and said, “What?”
And Hermanski said, “We’ll confuse them. We’ll all wear number 42!”
Well, everybody broke up and it released the tension and they went out and played. But little did we know there would be a day where indeed, like Gene Hermanski, we’ll all wear number 42.
Thanks for the mention, Jay!