Last Tuesday, April 8th, marked the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron setting the all-time home run record, passing the Babe with 715 career home runs. Aaron would eventually close out his career with 755 home runs, taking his place on the throne as baseballs home run king. When Aaron hit a 1-0 fastball that night, he not only powered his way into the annals of baseball history, but onto the pages of American history, as well. An African-American player held what was, at the time, the most prodigious record in all of North-American sports. Aarons incredible milestone was a large step in the fight for racial equality in baseball, and across America, but it was a step that may not have occurred if it were not for # 42, Jackie Robinson. Twenty-Seven years prior to Aarons record breaking home run, Jackie Robinson stepped onto Ebbets Field, becoming the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues since the 1880s. April 15th, 1947 was undoubtedly a day of celebration for many across North America, but it also marked the beginning of a long, arduous journey for Robinson. Robinson endured through 10 seasons of racial abuse, unjust criticism, as well as threats on his life, from spectators, other players and even teammates. While professional athletes are often expected to perform under the pressures of a fanbases high expectations, Robinson carried a much heavier weight than the average ballplayer, an entire race of people depended upon him. In his first few seasons, Robinson knew if retaliated against his aggressors, he would risk delaying the breaking of the colour barrier. Instead, Robinson responded with his play on the field, showcasing his five-tool talent on his way to becoming one of the greatest second baseman that ever lived. For the past 10 seasons, April 15th has been a day where Major League Baseball pays tribute to the legacy of Jackie Robinson. Today, every Major League player will pay homage to Robinson by dawning his iconic #42, unifying under one number. To celebrate the 10th-annual Jackie Robinson Day, BarDown presents to you, three songs written in tribute for three of the most iconic African-American baseball players in history: Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and, of course, Jackie Robinson."Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?" - Buddy Johnson"There is not an American free in this country until everyone of us is free." - Jackie Robinson"Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)" - The Treniers"To make it into the majors and to take all the name calling, he had to be something special. He had to take all this for years, not just for Jackie Robinson, but for the nation." - Willie Mays"715" - Peter Cooper"As Ive said many times, and Ill say it again, Jackie Robinson was a pillar of strength to me." - Hank Aaron Pierre Garcon Super Bowl Jersey
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