The former MLB executive and manager pays his respects to baseball’s original barrier-breaker.
Bo Porter has over 26 years of MLB experience as a player, coach, manager, front office executive, and baseball analyst. He is currently an on-air Baseball Analyst for MASN’s Washington Nationals “Nats Xtra” Pre and Post Game Show and constantly expanding his brand and capitalizing on his knowledge as one of a handful of African-American managers in MLB history.
Uploaded by Bo Porter Enterprise on 2019-04-15.
Bo’s entire career — an improbable rise from the streets of Newark , New Jersey to manager of the Houston Astros — was inspired by Jackie Robinson’s sacrifices. Porter, 46, told The Shadow League that the older he gets and the more he experiences in the MLB world, the more he grasps the totality of Robinson’s legacy.
Porter felt compelled to share his thoughts as the entire baseball world wears No. 42 and celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.
HAPPY JACKIE ROBINSON DAY: Removing the Unthinkable, Transforming the Broken
It’s days like today that gives us all an even greater appreciation for the man that changed America’s favorite pastime forever.
I personally celebrate Jackie Robinson’s efforts every day because I fully comprehend what he did to champion race relations and inequality for baseball and society.
I want to acknowledge that baseball and society have made a lot of strides since Robinson broke the color barrier in MLB on April 15, 1947, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Having played, coached and managed @MLB, I am a direct beneficiary of Jackie’s immeasurable efforts and for that, I’m forever grateful. Today all MLB teams will wear jersey number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
Thank you Jackie, for inspiring transformational change throughout MLB and society.
http://pbs.org/jackierobinson JACKIE PROBINSON premieres April 11-12, 2016, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS. Examine the life and times of Jack Roosevelt Robinson.
As we celebrate Jackie Robinson today, I pose this question to all, “Are there biases or unmerited barriers between you and others that need to come down?”
If so, take an open-minded educational dive into the life, career, and legacy of Jackie Robinson and you’re sure to walk away with a new, profound perspective. I believe we all can learn from one of America’s most influential and transcending leaders.
We have all had barriers of some kind in our lives, barriers that seem unfair on one hand and completely stacked odds against success, on the other hand.
Our country has witnessed some historic examples of the odds being stacked against certain groups unfairly.
Race relations and inequality presented Jackie with what appeared to be insurmountable odds when he broke the MLB’s color barrier in 1947. The situation was not ideal for Jackie Robinson. Racial bias was at a boiling point in American society and in my humble opinion, 99.9% of people treated in the manner in which Jackie was would have failed.
Happy Jackie Robinson Day. On April 15, 1947 Robinson broke the color barrier in @MLB. The situation was not ideal for Jackie & in my opinion 99.9% of people treated in the manner in which Jackie was would have failed. Thank you Jackie for being a trailblazer & opening the door.
But Jackie realized breaking the color barrier was a mere fraction of what would be deemed a success and gateway for others to be afforded the same opportunity and more.
He knew he had an entire race depending on his success. It took prayer, perseverance, fortitude, determination and what I call the greatest selfless act of transformational leadership our country has ever witnessed. Jackie was able to withstand all the negative name calling, hate mail, death threats, and isolation because of his skin color. Jackie defeated these once insurmountable odds and forever changed the landscape of race relations and inequality in our country.
We all can learn a great deal from the life of Jackie Robinson. One valuable lesson is: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
Also, “he that waits for conditions to be just right does nothing.”
President Obama had it spot on when he said that Jackie Robinson exemplified our uniquely American story of fighting for change, “We are Jackie Robinson, enduring scorn and spiked cleats and pitches coming straight to his head, and stealing home in the World Series anyway.
Another valuable lesson we all can learn from Jackie’s remarkable story is the act of courage displayed by Mr. Branch Rickey. He was the one white person willing to go against the grain and sign Jackie Robinson. Talk about upsetting the apple cart and being a trailblazer.
Rickey’s bombshell decision to sign Jackie was scorned upon by the forces that be and he too was widely criticized for his unpopular signing of a colored player in an all-white league. This is a great lesson for all those blessed to have a decision-making leadership position.
Know this, a transformational leader must be willing to stand on an island alone because no systemic problem can be transformed without stepping away from the perceived norm. So Mr. Branch Rickey, thank you for your courage and willingness to stand up against the majority and give the minority a chance. It brings me great joy and honor to pay tribute to this great man.
For Jackie Robinson Day, here’s an image from the Archives that features Robinson, Lyle Suter (whose illustration they’re admiring), Charles Pratt (grandson of the founder of Pratt Institute and the school’s president), and Branch Rickey (then-president of the Brooklyn Dodgers)
As we celebrate Jackie Robinson today, let’s all take a moment and reflect on how his life’s work impacted America. My favorite Jackie Robinson quote is, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Well, Jackie, your life’s work has left an immeasurable impact on the world and your legacy will last forever. Hats off to one of America’s most beloved, transformational leaders and influential pioneers. Happy Jackie Robinson Day!
With sincere gratitude,
The Coach of Champions
Bo is also a motivational speaker and author. Read his books, subscribe to his upcoming podcast, and follow him on Twitter at @BoPorter16Bo, Facebook @OfficialBoPorter, and Instagram @therealboporter.