13 April 2015

who's carrying jackie robinson's torch? besides everyone, that is...

this week marks the 68th anniversary of jackie robinson's debut in the major leagues.  however, this post focuses more on the end of his playing days, as i thought i'd take a look at how his career torch was passed.

in his final regular season at bat (on september 30, 1956), jackie robinson grounded out against the pirates' bob friend.  here's jackie's 1956 topps card - the last from his playing days.

jackie did play in the world series in '56, but i am keeping this to regular season games.  for the record, jackie made the final out of the '56 series, striking out against the yankees' johnny kucks.

bob friend, who appeared with sandy koufax on a 1964 topps league leaders card,
retired deron johnson of the reds on september 24, 1966 while he was pitching for the mets.  johnson was the last batter friend faced in the majors.

deron johnson, seen here on a 1974 topps card as an oakland a,
struck out in his final big league appearance to end the game on may 28, 1976 as a member of the red sox against the orioles' grant jackson

on september 8, 1982, grant jackson had a one-game return stint for the pirates after pitching for the royals for the majority of the season.  here's his 1982 topps traded card
he entered in relief with the mets having loaded the bases in the 9th inning with one out, and promptly served up a grand slam to catcher ron hodges.  jackson retired the next two batters to end the inning, the last of which was ron gardenhire.  that was the last time jackson appeared in the big leagues.

ron gardenhire, still with the mets,
struck out in the 9th against jeff reardon to end his major league playing career on october 6, 1985. i like gardy's 1985 donruss card because of dodger stadium in the background.

jeff reardon finished his career in 1994 as a yankee (see this 1994 upper deck collector's choice gold parallel as proof)
allowing a game-tying single to tim salmon with his final big league pitch on may 4 of that year.

tim salmon (shown on a 2003 upper deck mvp card)
popped out against oakland's huston street in his last career at bat on october 1, 2006.  salmon was in the on-deck circle when the game ended.

huston street is still going strong, pitching for the angels following a midseason trade with the padres last year.  here's his 2014 topps update card
there are other, more important ways, in which jackie robinson's legacy lives on, but this sort of playing legacy has always intrigued me.


Fuji said...

Great post. Seven degrees of separation!

Josh D. said...

I love these! Time to do one for every Hall-of-Famer! :-)

Mark Hoyle said...

Like these posts