15 April 2013 — Changing The World (42)


Our Club changes the world in small ways one person at a time.

April 15 is celebrated in baseball as Jackie Robinson Day, as Jackie made his first appearance in a Major League game on April 15, 1947. This week’s program celebrates his changing baseball, the United States, and maybe the world–with two video examples of how Rotary Clubs can use baseball to change someone’s life.

Coming up quickly for our Club:

April 21, our third “One More Item” Food Drive at Gelson’s Sherman Oaks, where we will ask shoppers to add just one extra item to their carts and drop it off with us on the way out, all for Valley Food Bank.

April 28, our Fourth Sunday meeting in The Fireplace Room at Denny’s in Sherman Oaks, where our special guest speaker will be California State Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra, and we will have the great privilege of inducting a new Rotarian into the family, Natalia Yungerlevi.

May 10, our Club’s Day with the visiting Group Study Exchange team from Japan, including a lunchtime event at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, where we can introduce our visitors to the vibrant community of their own ethnic descent right here at home; a visit to Los Encinos State Historic Park to introduce our visitors to our region’s rich Spanish heritage, and an informal and fun dinner with our friends at Rotary Club of Glendale Moonlight.

May 11, we’ll enjoy a couple of action-packed hours at the US Post Office in Studio City and, for the third year in a row on National Stamp Out Hunger Day.  The Letter Carriers Association (with USPS permission, of course) gathers food donations along the postal routs; we help unload the mail trucks and load the Valley Food Bank truck.

We are aso working on a new E-Club E-wareness campaign about lupus during the month of May.  This will go with our Bone Marrow Donation E-wareness campaign and others in the works, which much planning to do.













On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson took the field as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Today, sixty-six years later, as a member of one of the most all-inclusive organizations in the world, Rotary International, our Club pays tribute to Jackie–with the following two examples of how Rotary Clubs use the game of baseball to help people in their own community.

Remember, Jackie didn’t just open the door, he opened minds.  Because of Jackie, African-American children grew up believing they could play baseball.  And eventually Latino players…and Japanese players…and Korean players…all became part of the great big world of baseball.  From there, from acceptance in a major sport, perhaps grew more acceptance in life, little by little, starting in 1947 with Jackie Robinson.

Did you know that the National Basketball Association did not see its first African-American player until October of 1950? Earl Lloyd.

How about hockey? The first African-American player in the National Hockey League was Willie O’Ree, who first played for the Boston Bruins on January 18, 1958. Willie played many years for a minor league team in Los Angeles, leading ultimately to the belief among NHL owners that hockey could be successful in Los Angeles; his influence is part of the reason the Los Angeles Kings exist. Willie still works extensively with youth hockey, especially among minority communities.

Rotary had barriers, too. A clause prohibiting exclusion by race became part of the Standard Rotary Club Constitution in 1922. It took a lot longer for women to break through. Inclusiveness is the key.

First, a baseball field created and built for children who otherwise would not be able to play.

If the embedded video is not visible, please click here to view it on YouTube.

Next, a local Southern California Club providing a baseball clinic for underprivileged children. The retired player you’ll see here is Ken Landreaux, who as the center fielder caught the final out of the 1981 World Series as the Dodgers defeated the Yankees (your current Club President’s first championship as a sports fan!).

If the embedded video is not visible, please click here to view it on YouTube.

Finally, enjoy this one-of-a-kind story from one unique and amazing person (Vin Scully) about two others, Rachel and Jackie Robinson–worth every second of the two-minute tale, especially for those of you who are not baseball fans and don’t spend much time listening to one of the great storytellers of all time.

Vin Scully races Jackie Robinson!  (Suggestion: just watch the two-minute video; never mind the rest of the page…)

Thank you, Jackie, for teaching us that everyone has value.


4 responses to 15 April 2013 — Changing The World (42)

  1. Very nice!

  2. Vin Scully – every time I hear his voice I think hot dogs. Dodger dogs. Too much mustard and just the right amount of ketchup. sigh.
    Scully was such a part of growing up in LA. wow. Thanks for the memory.
    Ice skating and pregnant – what could go wrong?????

  3. The West Jordan RC Field of Dreams is an amazing project. The video is a real celebration of people coming together for good.

  4. Nice program, not so sure about ice skating and pregnant.

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