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There is arguably no more important date in the history of baseball than April 15, 1947. Indeed, it even ranks as one of the more important dates in the annals of our nation.
"I have often stated that baseball's proudest moment and its most powerful social statement came on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson first set foot on a Major League Baseball field," said Commissioner Bud Selig in 2004. "On that day, Jackie brought down the color barrier and ushered in the era in which baseball became the true national pastime."
Today, of course, each April 15th is recognized as "Jackie Robinson Day" at every Major League ballpark in the land. The modern tradition got its start at Shea Stadium in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of Robinson's first game, with Rachel Robinson and President Bill Clinton on hand to announce MLB's unprecedented universal retirement of Robinson's uniform number 42. Then, in 2004, Selig established April 15th as the league-wide Robinson tribute day with coordinated stadium festivities. The 60th anniversary celebration in 2007 brought an important new development as Ken Griffey Jr. was granted special permission to don 42 on Jackie Robinson Day. Now all players and on-field personnel throughout Major League Baseball wear the legendary uniform number annually.
Presented here is one of the most significant artifacts from Jackie's revolutionary, time-transcending debut: An April 15th full ticket stub used by a lucky eyewitness who was actually there for history in the making. Even today, 67 years on, the sight of "Opening Day, 1947" in radiant red print, along with Branch Rickey's proud facsimile signature, send chills up the spine.
"We've got no army," Rickey had forewarned Robinson. "There's virtually nobody on our side. No owners, no umpires, very few newspapermen. And I'm afraid that many fans will be hostile. We'll be in a tough position. We can win only if we can convince the world that I'm doing this because you're a great ballplayer, a fine gentleman." Come Opening Day, Ebbets Field hosted a crowd of more than 25,000—among them, an estimated 14,000 black fans—as Robinson scored the tying run in a 3-2 victory over the Braves. And by the time of Rickey's death in 1965, Jackie said it was "like losing a father" and "a great loss not only to baseball but to America."
This "LOWER STAND" $1.25 full stub measures 1-1/4" x 2-7/8" and exhibits linear edges, nice rigid integrity, and bright, bold print. Condition is technically VG with a small paper pull at the perforated edge, minor general surface wear, a few faint peripheral wrinkles, and reverse-side mounting vestiges. As a point of reference on value, it is noteworthy to mention that another ticket stub example (plus small personal photo) sold in our December 2010 auction for $9,000.