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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show


Straight No Chaser is the place for jazz lovers (and those who will soon be jazz lovers) to enjoy podcasts with their favorite music and artists. Winner of the 2017 JazzTimes Readers' Poll for Best Podcast, your host Jeffrey Siegel will take you inside the world of jazz, from the new releases to the best festiva;s to remembrances of jazz legends.

"Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?"

Apr 15, 2014

The 67th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers will be celebrated as usual throughout baseball today with ceremonies from Yankee Stadium to Vero Beach, Fla.

The main event will be staged in the Bronx prior to an Interleague game tonight between the Cubs and the Yankees. Robinson's wife, Rachel, daughter Sharon, Commissioner Bud Selig and members of the Steinbrenner family are scheduled to be in attendance. Robinson's "legacy lives on," Rachel Robinson said about her husband, who passed away at just 53 in 1972.

Robinson jogged out to play first base at Ebbets Field against the Boston Braves that day in 1947, shattering Major League Baseball's decades-old color barrier, and the sport was irrevocably changed forever.

In 1997, under Selig's direction (one of the few things he has done as Commissioenr that is worth noting), Robinson's No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball in an unprecedented tribute. With the retirement of Yankees epic closer Mariano Rivera at the end of last season, this is the first time the No. 42 is no longer active anywhere in baseball, and it never again will be. Rivera was among the active players wearing the number who were grandfathered in when Selig retired the famous numeral, and he wore it proudly his entire career. All uniformed personnel will again wear that number for the 15 Major League games scheduled throughout the nation tonight.

By far the best know song honoring Robinson is Buddy Johnson's classic, "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?" Johnson submitted this sheet music for copyright in June, 1949. In August of that year, his recording of the song (Decca 24675) hit its peak position on the charts at number 13. Today many baseball fans are familiar with Count Basie's recording on the Victor label (Victor 20-3514), featuring vocalist "Taps" Miller. This recording, made in the Victor studios in New York City on July 13, 1949, has become synonymous with the song itself.

Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball?
It went zoomin cross the left field wall.
Yeah boy, yes, yes. Jackie hit that ball.

And when he swung his bat,
the crowd went wild,
because he knocked that ball a solid mile.
Yeah boy, yes, yes. Jackie hit that ball.

Satchel Paige is mellow,
so is Campanella,
Newcombe and Doby, too.
But it's a natural fact,
when Jackie comes to bat,
the other team is through.

Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball?
Did he hit it? Yeah, and that ain't all.
He stole home.
Yes, yes, Jackie's real gone.

Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball?
Did he hit it? Yeah, and that ain't all.
He stole home.

Yes, yes, Jackie's real gone.
Jackie's is a real gone guy.