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HR-24 (2013-2014)

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Amended  IN  Assembly  September 09, 2013


House Resolution
No. 24

Introduced by Assembly Member Bradford
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Bigelow, Bloom, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Brown, Buchanan, Ian Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway, Cooley, Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eggman, Fong, Fox, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gonzalez, Gordon, Gorell, Gray, Grove, Hagman, Roger Hernández, Holden, Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Linder, Logue, Lowenthal, Maienschein, Mansoor, Medina, Melendez, Mitchell, Morrell, Mullin, Nazarian, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Perea, John A. Pérez, V. Manuel Pérez, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Salas, Skinner, Stone, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk, Williams, and Yamada)

August 14, 2013

Relative to Hall of Fame baseball player Jackie Robinson.


HR 24, as amended, Bradford.

WHEREAS, Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia, on January 31, 1919, to a family of sharecroppers. His mother, Mallie Robinson, single-handedly raised Jackie and her four other children. In the early 1920s, the family moved to Pasadena, where they were the only black family on their block, and the prejudice they encountered only strengthened their bond; and
WHEREAS, In Pasadena, Jackie Robinson attended John Muir High School and Pasadena Junior College, where he was an excellent athlete and played four sports--football, basketball, track, and baseball--and was named the region’s Most Valuable Player in baseball in 1938; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson continued his education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became the university’s first student to win varsity letters in four sports, and where, in 1941, despite his athletic success, he was forced to leave UCLA just shy of his graduation due to financial hardship; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he played football for the semiprofessional Honolulu Bears, but his season with the Bears was cut short when the United States entered World War II; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army from 1942 to 1944. He was arrested and court martialed during boot camp after he refused to move to the back of a segregated bus during training; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson was later acquitted of the charges and received an honorable discharge. His courage and moral objection to the segregation he encountered were precursors to the impact he would have on major league baseball; and
WHEREAS, After his discharge from the Army in 1944, Jackie Robinson began playing in the Negro Leagues, but he was soon chosen by Branch Rickey, the President and General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to help integrate major league baseball; and
WHEREAS, He joined the all-white Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1945, and subsequently moved to Florida in 1946 to begin spring training with the Royals, and played his first game on March 17 of that year; and
WHEREAS, Despite racial abuse, particularly at away games, Jackie Robinson had an outstanding start with the Royals during the 1946 season, leading the International League with a .349 batting average. This excellent year led to his promotion to the Brooklyn Dodgers, and his debut game on April 15, 1947, marked the first time in the 20th century that an African American athlete played in the major leagues; and
WHEREAS, Even though some of his Dodger teammates objected to Jackie Robinson’s joining the team, Dodgers manager Leo Durocher informed them that he would sooner trade them than Jackie Robinson. Durocher’s loyalty to Jackie Robinson set the tone for the rest of Robinson’s Dodger career; and
WHEREAS, The harassment of Jackie Robinson continued, however, most notably by the Philadelphia Phillies and their manager Ben Chapman. During one infamous game, Chapman and his team shouted epithets at Robinson from their dugout, while many players on opposing teams threatened not to play against the Dodgers; and
WHEREAS, Many others defended Jackie Robinson’s right to play in the major leagues, including National League President Ford Frick, Baseball Commissioner A.B. “Happy” Chandler, and future Hall of Fame members Hank Greenberg and Harold “Pee Wee” Reese; and
WHEREAS, In one incident, while fans harassed Jackie Robinson from the stands, his teammate Pee Wee Reese walked over and put his arm around Robinson, a gesture that has become legendary in baseball history; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson succeeded in putting prejudice and racial strife aside, and showed everyone what a talented player he was; so much so, that in his first year, he hit 12 home runs and helped the Dodgers win the National League pennant; and
WHEREAS, In that year, Jackie Robinson led the National League in stolen bases and was selected as Rookie of the Year. He continued to wow fans and critics alike with impressive feats, such as an outstanding .342 batting average during the 1949 season, the lead in stolen bases that year, and the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson became a vocal champion for African American athletes, civil rights, and other social and political causes, so that, after baseball, he became active in business and continued his work as an activist for social change; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson worked as an executive for the Chock Full o’Nuts coffee company and restaurant chain, and helped establish the Freedom National Bank. He also served on the board of the NAACP until 1967 and was the first African American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. In 1972, the Dodgers retired his uniform number of 42; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson retired on January 5, 1957, from professional baseball with an impressive career batting average of .311, and in his later years, he continued to lobby for greater integration in sports; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson died from heart problems and diabetes complications on October 24, 1972, in Stamford, Connecticut. He was survived by his wife, Rachel Isum Robinson, a nursing student whom he had met at UCLA, and two of his three children, Sharon and David; his oldest child, Jackie Jr., had died in an automobile accident in 1971; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson’s jersey number 42 was retired leaguewide in 1997, and he remains the only player to have his number retired leaguewide; and
WHEREAS, In 2004, Major League Baseball declared April 15 as Jackie Robinson Day, and since 2007 Major League Baseball has celebrated Jackie Robinson Day by allowing every player to wear jersey number 42. Therefore, it is altogether fitting to rename former State Route 42 after Jackie Robinson; and
WHEREAS, Jackie Robinson’s life and legacy will be remembered as one of the most important in American history. In 1997, the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of his breaking major league baseball’s color barrier, and in doing so, we honored the man who stood defiantly against those who would work against racial equality and acknowledged the profound influence of one man’s life on American culture; and
WHEREAS, On the anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic debut, all major league baseball teams across the nation celebrated this milestone; also that year, the United States Postal Service honored Robinson by making him the subject of a commemorative postage stamp; and on that Tuesday, April 15, 1997, President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Jackie Robinson at Shea Stadium in New York in a special ceremony; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assembly urges the Cities of Los Angeles, Inglewood, Downey, South Gate, and Norwalk, and the County of Los Angeles to work together to rename Manchester Avenue and Firestone Boulevard (formerly State Route 42) after the Hall of Fame baseball player Jackie Robinson; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.