Originally Posted by spawn
Yeah, but that couldn't have been foreseen. He had stroke in '43 and was hospitalized in '44. That said, the guy battled drugs and alcohol his adult life. Players like Babe Ruth, who the media covered for, could get away with that. The first black player since the game was segregated wouldn't be so lucky, as everyone would be trying to find a reason integrating the game wouldn't be a good idea. Gibson was one of the best to play the game, but would not have been a good choice for breaking the color barrier.
Oh, absolutely, I don't think there's any question that Jackie Robinson was the right man for the job, when you understand what he went through, especially those first few years in Brooklyn, it's just amazing he was able to endure it all. And even if he wasn't the best black baseball player of his time, he was still a very, very good player.