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UConn Advance

Lecture a tribute to Robinson
April 18, 1997

While growing up in Hanover, Pa., it was difficult for Steven Wisensale to follow his favorite baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. The only time he got to see them play was on television when they took on the Philadelphia Phillies.

"Every game that I watched, I would watch with my father," said Wisensale, now an associate professor of public policy in the School of Family Studies.

One of those games was during the 1955 World Series, which pitted his beloved Dodgers against the New York Yankees. In that series Jackie Robinson stole home.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Robinson becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball. In celebration of this milestone, Wisensale will give a lecture and slide presentation on "The Life and Times of Jackie Robinson: Baseball and Politics," at 4 p.m. April 22 in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

"I've had two dominant interests in my life," said Wisensale, a member of the Society of American Baseball Research. "One is baseball and the other is politics ... and Jackie Robinson really blends those two well. What most people don't realize is the life he had after baseball. He had a very active political life."

Robinson got involved in the civil rights movement, started a bank in Harlem and worked on presidential campaigns.

"Jackie really believed that baseball was a vehicle to help make a better world," Wisensale said.


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