On this date ...
April 18, 1946
(4-for-5, 4 RBI, 4 R, HR, 2 SB)
"Clutch" is often ascribed to athletes who raise the level of their performance at the most crucial, pressure-packed moments to positively sway the outcome of a game, series or season. But rarely, if ever, has a player in any sport come through with a performance in the face of greater scrutiny, adversity and pure hatred than did Jackie Robinson when he made his Minor League debut with the International League's Montreal Royals at Jersey City's Roosevelt Stadium. Nor is it likely that there have been many sporting events that have had a greater impact on a society.
While the whole country followed Branch Rickey's "great experiment" from afar, approximately 50,000 fans -- more than double the stadium's capacity -- watched in person that Thursday afternoon in New Jersey as the 27-year-old Robinson starred in an event that would prove emblematic of the rest of his 1946 season. "Although I was wearing the colors of the enemy," recalled Robinson in his autobiography, My Own Story, "the Jersey City fans gave me a fine ovation. And my teammates were shouting, 'Come on, Jackie, start it off. This guy can't pitch. Get a-hold of one!'"
Batting second in the Royals lineup, Robinson grounded out to shortstop on a full-count pitch in the top of the first inning. It was the only out he would make all day. In the third inning, with Montreal leading by a run, Tom Tatum and George Shuba reached base in front of Robinson, who again worked the count to 3-and-2. "I swung at the next pitch with everything I had," he recounted. "There was a crack like a rifle shot in my ears. The ball sailed some 340 feet and disappeared over the left-field fence. Tatum and Shuba trotted home ahead of me. Once again those Jersey City fans cheered and applauded, and when I crossed home plate, George Shuba was waiting for me. 'That's the way to hit that ball, Jackie,' Shuba said. 'That's the old ball game right there.'"
In the fifth, Jackie laid down one of what would become his patented bunts for a single. He stole second and advanced to third on a groundout by Tatum. Robinson then further endeared himself to the crowd when, dancing off the bag and bluffing for home, he rattled Giants pitcher Phil Oates to the point that he stopped in mid-windup, sending Robinson home on a balk call. The crowd went wild, clearly in Jackie's corner. He singled and stole second again in the seventh, and then, in the eighth, laid down another perfect bunt. "I finally got as far as third base and once again started dancing menacingly up and down the base line," Robinson recalled in My Own Story. "Herb Andrews was pitching for Jersey City now and he also got flustered and committed a balk. Once again the umpire waved me home."
When all was said and done, Robinson had gone 4-for-5 with four runs scored, a home run, four RBIs, two stolen bases and two forced balk calls in Montreal's 14-1 pasting of the Giants. Jackie's linescore and the Royals' rout were indicative of the success they would have throughout the season. But more importantly, the turnout and response of the fans, as well as the support of his teammates, was a sign of things to come.
"We all sensed that history was in the making," Robinson said about that day, "that the long ban against Negro players was about to come crashing down, setting up reverberations that would echo across a continent and perhaps around the world. I believe everyone in Roosevelt Stadium that day realized that he was witnessing a significant collapse in the ancient wall of prejudice."
April 19, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
April 20, 1946
(1-for-2, RBI, 2 R, 2 SB)
Robinson again helped spark a lopsided win over Jersey City, going 1-for-2 with a pair of runs scored and two more stolen bases -- giving him four in two games -- in a 9-1 victory. The Royals' center fielder and leadoff hitter, Marvin Rackley, swiped four bases on his way to setting a Montreal franchise record with a league-leading 65. But the undisputed hero of the game was outfielder George "Shotgun" Shuba. The 21-year-old outfielder from Youngstown, Ohio, swatted three home runs and drove in four of Montreal's nine runs. He would go on to play parts of seven seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers, highlighted by a pinch-hit home run in his only at-bat of the 1952 World Series. But Shuba became immortalized two days before his three-homer game when he was photographed offering his hand to Robinson as Jackie stepped on home plate following his first Minor League home run.
April 21, 1946
(Doubleheader: 3-for-8, 3B, 2B RBI, R)
Robinson and the Royals commuted five miles west to Newark to play their first of 39 doubleheaders, many of which occurred on consecutive days, sometimes even in different cities. After outscoring Jersey City by a combined score of 23-2 in the first two games of the season, Montreal dropped a pair of one-run games to the Newark Bears. In the opener of the twinbill, Robinson went 1-for-4 with a triple and his second error of the year in a 1-0 loss. Game two saw Jackie go 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double and an RBI, but the Royals fell to the Bears, 7-6.
April 22, 1946
(1-for-4, 2R, SB)
After being held to just six runs in the previous day's doubleheader, the Royals again looked like the offensive juggernaut that scored 23 runs in their first two games, beating Newark by the score of 13-4 in the third game of a four-game series. Robinson went 1-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and a stolen base and, for the only time in his career, faced another played named Jackie Robinson.
The Newark Bears had a 25-year-old pitcher from Orange, N.J., named John Edward Robinson, who went by "Jackie." It was this J. Robinson, not Jack Roosevelt Robinson, who was listed as "J.Robinson" in the box score that day. Instead of his usual abbreviation, the older, and eventually more famous of the two Jackie Robinsons, was inexplicably labeled "J.W. Ro'n" in the box score. This scorekeeping snafu was short-lived, however, as John E. Robinson and his 27.00 ERA were quickly demoted to Beaumont of the Texas League, where the right-hander would go 14-9 with a 2.97 ERA. He would pitch in the Minors for 12 years, getting just one shot at the big leagues, allowing one run in four innings over three appearances for a 1949 Boston Red Sox team that included Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr.
The Sporting News reported that "further headaches were promised for official scorers" upon the arrival of a fifth Robinson in the International League. In addition to the pair of Jackies and two first baseman named E. Robinson (Baltimore's Eddie and Jersey City's Everett), TSN reported, with more than a touch of alliteration, that "Rounding out the Robinson roster is Rochester's regular receiver, Warren Robinson."
April 23, 1946
(1-for-5, R, SB)
Montreal managed to split its four-game series with Newark by scoring a baker's dozen for the second straight day, beating the Bears, 13-11. Jackie went 1-for-5 with a run scored and another stolen base -- his sixth in as many games. Less than a week into the season, Robinson was hitting .417 with a home run, six RBIs, six stolen bases and 10 runs scored.
April 24, 1946
Robinson and the Royals visited Syracuse, the third of four cities on their season-opening road trip, and the one that Jackie would later report treated him worse than any in baseball. Though the 1946 season -- not to mention his entire career -- was a testament to Robinson's ability to transcend bias and prejudice, it stands to reason that the abuse he received in Syracuse may have played a factor in his first hitless game of the season. Robinson went 0-for-4 in an 11-4 loss to the Chiefs in which racist remarks and threats ran rampant.
In his autobiography, My Own Story, Robinson noted, "Syracuse rode me harder than any other city in the circuit. They were tough on me both on the field and in the stands." He went on to recount an incident in which a Chiefs player came out of the dugout holding a black cat and shouted, "Hey Robinson, here's one of your relatives!" His recollection was that the event occurred in Syracuse, and that he exacted revenge by doubling and scoring the winning run, retorting, "I guess that relative of mine is happy now, isn't he?" He called the double "one of the most satisfactory [he] ever had in [his] life."
Box scores from 1946 don't substantiate that Robinson ever hit a double and scored the winning run at Syracuse that season, and several reports pinpoint the incident as having occurred during the Royals' first game in Syracuse, which couldn't have been the case either, as Jackie went 0-for-4. Further, a story in Time magazine in 1947 claimed that Robinson hit a bases-loaded triple after the legendary black cat incident.
While the details remain hazy, what is clear is that Robinson was ridden mercilessly by Syracuse players, many of whom, on one occasion, painted their faces black and planned to take the field, only to be restrained by their manager, Jewel Ens. The Chiefs second baseman, Garton DelSavio, reported in the Syracuse Post-Standard, 50 years after the fact, that his teammates "called Robinson some of the foulest names he'd ever heard, the worst things you can scream at another man."
The team's catcher, Dick West, confessed in a February 1, 1996, Post-Standard story, "I remember the first time he came up to bat, our whole bench was hollering at him, and he looked down at me and said, 'You got some players from the South.' West, who was from Kentucky, himself, recalled, "I looked up and said, 'I don't feel sorry for you. You can go to hell.'"
And so it was under such conditions that Robinson suffered his first hitless game of the season, and some of the most degrading experiences of his career.
April 25, 1946
Robinson had a pair of base hits in five at-bats, but the Royals fell to Syracuse for a second straight day, by the score of 5-4. The loss left Montreal's record at an even .500 (4-4), while Jackie's 2-for-5 effort raised his average to .364.
April 26, 1946
The Royals and Chiefs had the final contest of their three-game series postponed due to cold weather.
April 27, 1946
(1-for-3, R, SB)
Though Robinson frequently cited Syracuse as having treated him worse than any other city in baseball, it was Baltimore -- the only International League city below the Mason-Dixon line -- that was expected to cause Jackie the most trouble in 1946. And the Orioles fans delivered.
Despite warnings from IL president Frank Shaughnessy, Branch Rickey elected to send Robinson into the awaiting storm. Fortunately for Jackie, the first game was marked by cold weather, and there was a small turnout for his debut in Baltimore. The Royals dropped the series-opener, 12-7, but Robinson went 1-for-3 with a run and a stolen base. More notably, the game passed without incident. But on more than one occasion during the season, Orioles fans swarmed the field, riots broke out and the police had to be called, with Jackie's teammates standing by to help protect him.
April 28, 1946
(Doubleheader: 1-for-7, R)
The weather warmed for Sunday's doubleheader, and the Royals and Orioles played in front of a crowd of over 25,000. Montreal pulled out a 6-5 win in the opener while dropping game two, 6-3. Robinson went just 1-for-7 combined, picking up a hit and run scored in four at-bats in the first game, then going 0-for-3 in the Royals' loss. The rough afternoon for Jackie included an error and saw his average drop to .326.
April 29, 1946
(3-for-3, 4 R, 2B, SB)
Robinson wrapped up his first, all-important road trip with a flourish. On the final day of a 12-game journey that exposed him to four cities and frequent abuse, Jackie went 3-for-3 with a double, a stolen base and four runs to lead Montreal to a 10-0 win and series split with Baltimore. He was also hit in the hand by a pitch from Paul Calvert, a four-year veteran of the Major Leagues, who would go on to lead the American League in losses in 1949, when he went 6-17 for the Washington Senators. Calvert was, coincidentally, a native of Montreal.
Robinson closed out April with a .370 batting average (17-for-46), a home run, six RBIs, eight stolen bases and a whopping 16 runs scored. And he was on his way to a warm reception in his new home in Quebec.
April 30, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
APRIL TOTALS: 17-for-46 (.370), 16 R, 17 H, 6 RBI, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 SB
May 1, 1946
The Royals dropped their home opener, 13-9, to Jersey City, but the outcome of the game was hardly the most significant storyline. The second-largest crowd in the history of Delorimier Stadium turned out and immediately and enthusiastically welcomed Robinson. Among the 15,745 fans on hand was Montreal Canadians icon Maurice "Rocket" Richard, whom The Sporting News noted went "almost unnoticed" due to the attention heaped on Robinson.
Jackie went 1-for-4 with a run scored and, in a precursor of his relationship with Montreal fans, was forced to stay an hour on the field signing autographs after the game.
May 2, 1946
(0-for-3, RBI, R)
In Montreal's second home game of the season, the Royals were tied with the Jersey City Giants, 9-9, in the bottom of the 13th inning when the contest was postponed due to darkness. Robinson had gone 0-for-3 with a run and an RBI before the game was called, dropping his average to .340.
May 3, 1946
Robinson came off the bench as a pinch-hitter in Montreal's 6-4 loss to Jersey City. He didn't start due to a "lame left wrist" caused when he was hit by a pitch from Orioles pitcher Paul Calvert four days earlier. The Royals' loss dropped their record to 6-8-1, marking the only time they'd be two games under .500 all season.
May 4, 1946
(2-for-5, 2B, R, SB)
For the third time in four games, the Royals plated nine runs, and this time they were finally rewarded with a win, as the other two instances had resulted in a 13-9 loss and a tie. Robinson was back in the starting lineup and went 2-for-5 with a double, a stolen base and a run scored in Montreal's 9-3 win.
May 5, 1946
May 6, 1946
May 7, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-7, RBI, R, SB)
Due to rain in Montreal the previous two days, the Royals were forced to play doubleheaders on consecutive days against Newark. They started off in fine fashion, sweeping the Bears with a pair of come-from-behind victories -- in each of which they scored the game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth. In the opener, Montreal scored twice in the last frame to win, 10-9. Robinson went 1-for-4 in the game with an RBI and a stolen base. He also made two errors, which would be the last miscues he would commit until the end of July, an impressive streak that lasted over 50 games.
In game two, the Royals were held scoreless until the seventh, when they plated their first run. They added three more in the eighth and the game-winner in the ninth, downing Newark, 5-4. Robinson went 1-for-3 with scored a run.
May 8, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-7, 2 RBI, R, SB)
For the second straight day, the Royals swept the Bears, but this time they didn't need ninth-inning rallies to do so. In game one, Montreal topped Newark, 6-2. They then shut out the Bears, 5-0, in the seven-inning nightcap.
Robinson had an RBI in the opener, but went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .319 -- the lowest it would be all season. He then collected a pair of singles, an RBI and a stolen base in three at-bats in the second game to boost his average to .329. It was in the field, though, that Jackie shined on this particular day. As The Sporting News reported, "[Al] Campanis and Jackie Robinson proved an excellent double-play combination, May 8, reeling off five in the twin-bill win over Newark, with Robinson in four of them."
May 9, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
May 10, 1946
(2-for-4, 2 R, RBI, SB)
With the Orioles in town for the first time, Robinson picked up right where he left off in his last game at Baltimore, when he had gone 3-for-3 with four runs. Jackie went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, an RBI and a stolen base to lead the Royals to their sixth straight win, a 5-1 victory, which raised their record to 12-8-1. The two singles raised his average to .338 through the first 21 games.
May 11, 1946
May 12, 1946
(Doubleheader: 3-for-7, 2 R, RBI)
A Sunday afternoon doubleheader at Montreal Stadium drew 21,911 fans -- the largest regular-season crowd in the history of the park. The Royals blitzed Baltimore in the opener, beating the Orioles, 12-1. Robinson went 3-for-4 with three singles, and he scored twice, giving him 25 runs in 22 games.
In the second game, Robinson and the Royals were shut down, 6-2. Jackie went 0-for-3 but did drive in one of the two Montreal runs.
May 13, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
May 14, 1946
The Royals hosted Syracuse for the first time and defeated the Chiefs by the score of 4-1. Robinson had a single in four at-bats and swiped his 13th base of the season.
Also on this day, Montreal sent Robinson's only black teammate, pitcher John Wright, to Three Rivers of the Canadian-American League. Wright went on to go 12-8 with a 4.15 ERA for Three Rivers. He had been on the team with Robinson since Opening Day, but pitched sparingly, making his debut on April 24.
The Royals also announced the signing of another Negro League star, 30-year-old pitcher Roy Partlow. A 17-game winner for the Philadelphia Stars in 1945, Partlow had previously pitched for the Homestead Grays as well as teams in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba and South America. He also served in the Army in 1944. Partlow would go 2-0 with a 5.59 ERA for Montreal, but spent most of the season with Three Rivers, where he went 10-1 with a 3.22 ERA.
May 15, 1946
On the strength of a two-hit shutout by 26-year-old southpaw Steve Nagy, the Royals wrapped up their 13-game homestand with a 2-0 win over Syracuse. The win was the ninth in 10 games for Montreal, increasing the club's record to 15-9-1.
Robinson was 0-for-4 at the plate, but was flawless in the field again.
May 16, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
May 17, 1946
The Royals set off for a short road trip to Toronto and Buffalo, dropping the first game to the Maple Leafs, 5-4. Robinson went 2-for-4 with a run scored in a losing cause.
May 18, 1946
May 19, 1946
While Robinson faced hostility in several cities, he was warmly welcomed in the Royals' first trip to Buffalo, where over 12,000 Bisons fans showed up for a Sunday afternoon doubleheader. According to The Sporting News, "Jackie Robinson and Roy Partlow, Negro infielder and pitcher of the Royals, were honored by Buffalo fans, May 19, being presented with an assortment of gifts including cash, wallets, wrist watches and traveling bags."
Jackie went hitless in one at-bat in the opener, scoring a run in the Royals' 7-3 loss. Montreal suffered its second doubleheader sweep of the season, as Buffalo took game two, as well, 5-4. Robinson went 1-for-3 with a single.
May 20, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
May 21, 1946
In an ironic occurrence, the league's home run leader was demoted when Montreal sent George Shuba to Mobile. The Royals' 21-year-old outfielder hit seven homers in his first nine games -- including three on April 20 -- but failed to connect again and was batting just .200 despite the fact that he still shared the International League lead with Newark's Al Clark. Shuba would go on to hit .290 with 11 homers and 56 RBIs for the Mobile Bears. In addition to spending parts of seven seasons in the big leagues with Brooklyn, he returned to Montreal three times -- in 1950, 1951 and 1956.
May 22, 1946
(2-for-3, RBI, R)
After losing all three games of an abbreviated road trip, the Royals returned home and defeated Rochester, 6-4, in front of 9,373 fans. Robinson was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored and played his 12th consecutive game without making an error.
May 23, 1946
The Royals beat Rochester, 2-1, as 9,167 fans showed up at Montreal's Delorimier Stadium. Robinson had a single and run scored in four at-bats, leaving his average at .336.
May 24, 1946
(4-for-6, 6 R, 2 RBI, 2B, 2 SB)
Robinson keyed a scoring outburst that saw the Royals score 28 runs in a doubleheader, the second game of which went just seven innings. Montreal trounced Buffalo, 17-4, in the opener and 11-2 in game two. Jackie went 4-for-6 combined, going 2-for-3 and crossing the plate three times in each game. He had a pair of singles and two stolen bases in the first game and a single, a double and two RBIs in the second. His average jumped from .336 to .354 on the day.
May 25, 1946
(1-for-4, 2B, RBI)
The Royals capped off a three-game sweep of Buffalo, beating the Bisons, 8-6, and extending their winning streak to five games. With eight runs, Montreal had scored 36 runs in their last 22 innings. Robinson had just one hit -- a double -- in four at-bats. He also drove in a run, giving him 15 RBIs on the season.
May 26, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-7, 3B, R, SB)
Robinson went 2-for-7 in Montreal's doubleheader split with Toronto, as the Royals finished their brief, five-day homestand with a 6-1 record. Jackie had a single, a stolen base and a run scored in the Royals' 2-1 win in the twinbill opener before going 1-for-3 in the second game, with his second triple of the year and an RBI in a 6-3 loss. He hit safely in all seven home contests, going 10-for-24 with three doubles, a triple, nine runs scored and three stolen bases. His hitting streak had reached eight.
May 27, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
May 28, 1946
(3-for-5, 3B, 2R, SB)
Robinson played a major role in the Royals' 5-1 series-opening win over Buffalo, collecting a triple, a pair of singles, two runs and a stolen base. The win was Montreal's seventh in eight games, as the club began to widen its lead over second-place Syracuse, which entered the day 2.5 games back.
May 29, 1946
Montreal won again, 4-2, over Buffalo. Robinson went 1-for-3 and scored a run but also suffered a severely strained calf that would sideline him for all but two games over the subsequent three weeks. At the time of his injury, Jackie was batting .356.
May 30, 1946
With Robinson out of the lineup, the Royals continued to roll, sweeping a doubleheader at Rochester. After taking the opener, 9-2, Montreal was led to a 6-4 win by Robinson's fill-in, Lew Riggs, who a hit a 372-foot home run in his second game of the year. The 36-year-old utility infielder had begun his professional career 16 years earlier, with the Shawnee Robins of the Western Association. He was back in the Minors after nine seasons in the Majors and a three-year stint in the service. He had been an All-Star third baseman with Cincinnati and reached the World Series with Detroit in 1940 and Brooklyn in 1941. Riggs would never return to the Majors, spending four of his last five seasons in the International League before retiring at the age of 40.
Pitcher Steve Nagy had three of Montreal's six hits in game two. In addition to leading the Royals staff with a 17-4 record and 17 complete games on the season, Nagy also hit .265 with three homers and 12 RBIs.
May 31, 1946
MAY TOTALS: 30-for-86 (.349), 23 R, 10 RBI, 4 2B, 2 3B, 9 SB
June 1, 1946
June 2, 1946
Rainouts on the previous two days seemed to douse the Royals' fire. After winning 10 of 11, they were swept in a doubleheader at Syracuse, losing a pair of one run games -- 4-3 in the first game and 5-4 in a seven-inning nightcap. Robinson missed his fourth consecutive game.
June 3, 1946
Robinson missed his fifth consecutive game as the Royals beat Syracuse, 6-4.
June 4, 1946
Robinson missed his sixth consecutive game as the Royals beat the Chiefs, 15-3, to even their five-game series, 2-2.
June 5, 1946
Without Robinson in the lineup for a seventh straight game, the Royals fall, 6-5, to Syracuse, losing the series three games to two. The Sporting News reported that "Roy Partlow, Negro southpaw, was routed in the fifth inning of his O.B. [Organized Baseball] debut, June 5, when Syracuse pushed over three runs, but escaped being charged with the 6 to 5 loss, Chet Kehn giving up the winning run in the ninth."
Kehn was just 24 but had already played four years in the Minors and spent another three in the service during World War II. He had made his Major League debut with Brooklyn four years earlier, at the age of 20. At the time, he was the fourth youngest player in the Majors. The 5-foot-11 right-hander would tie for second on the team in victories in 1946, going 12-7 with a 4.29 ERA. He would spend four more years in the Minors, never making it back to the big leagues.
June 6, 1946
The Royals opened a three-game series at Baltimore with a 12-5 loss, marking just the second time they'd lost by as many as seven runs. Robinson's streak of games missed due to his calf injury reached eight.
Entering the game, Montreal owned all three of the top hitters in the International League: catcher Dixie Howell (.386), shortstop Al Campanis (.364) and Robinson (.356). Howell and Campanis would fall just short of the .300 mark on the season, batting .295 and .294, respectively, while Robinson would go on to lead the league with a .349 clip.
June 7, 1946
Robinson had already missed eight consecutive games and would go on to sit out 13 more before he was fully recuperated. But he played on June 7 at Baltimore and probably wished he hadn't.
In a rare occurrence, Jackie hit leadoff instead of in his usual No. 2 spot. Though the Royals beat the Orioles, 5-2, Robinson went hitless in two at-bats. But the real story occurred after the game. According to the The Sporting News:
"Back in hated Baltimore, a riot broke out after the final out. Fans swarmed the field. Robinson had already reached the clubhouse, but the rednecks waited outside until one in the morning. 'Come out here Robinson, you son of a bitch,' they taunted. 'We know you're up there. We're gonna get you.' Teammates Spider Jorgensen, Marvin Rackley and Tom Tatum stayed with him until the crowd went home."
June 8, 1946
The Royals beat the Orioles, 10-6, to take two of three in the series. Robinson was back on the bench nursing his strained calf.
June 9, 1946
The Royals visited their fifth of six cities in what would ultimately be a 20-game road trip, traveling to Jersey City, where they continued their success at the Giants' Roosevelt Stadium. Having won the first two games of the season there by the score of 23-2, Montreal nearly matched that run total in the first game of their series-opening doubleheader, trouncing the Giants, 26-7. They also followed up with a 6-1 win. Jackie's injury disabled him from playing before the fans he'd won over less than two months earlier with his outstanding debut.
June 10, 1946
Montreal ran its winning streak to five games with a 15-5 win over Jersey City, giving the Royals 47 runs in their three victories over the Giants. The win extended their lead over second-place Syracuse to four games. Robinson sat out for the 12th time in 13 games.
June 11, 1946
June 12, 1946
Robinson returned to the lineup for the second time in 13 days since sustaining a calf strain and went 1-for-3 with a double in the Royals' seven-inning 7-2 loss in the first game of a doubleheader at Jersey City. The loss snapped Montreal's winning streak at five games, but the Royals bounced back in grand fashion in game two.
In the nightcap, with Robinson out of action again, the Royals exploded for 23 runs in 23-9 rout of the Giants. It marked the second time in four days that Jackie missed out on a 20-plus run outburst. In the five-game series at Jersey City, the Royals scored 72 runs for an average of over 14 per game, including a seven-inning contest.
June 13, 1946
Playing in the sixth and final city of their 19-day, 20-game road trip, the Royals took the first of a three-game series with Newark, 7-5. The win was their seventh in eight games and their 19th in 25. Robinson, meanwhile, missed his 14th game in 15 days.
June 14, 1946
June 15, 1946
In front of a crowd of 6,500 in Newark, the Royals dropped both halves of a doubleheader with the Bears, 4-3 and 7-3. The pair of losses gave them a final record of 13-7 on their first of two road trips of 20 or more games during the 1946 season. Robinson played in only four of the 20 games, due to injury.
June 16, 1946
The Royals returned home from their 19-day voyage to play a second consecutive doubleheader. In a span of five days, they played seven games in three different cities. They were shellacked by Syracuse, 13-3, in the opener but rebounded to take the second game, 2-1, raising their record at Delorimier Downs to 17-5. Jackie remained out of the lineup.
June 17, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
June 18, 1946
After their first scheduled off day in three weeks, the Royals doubled up Syracuse, 4-2, as Robinson missed his seventh straight game.
June 19, 1946
Montreal beat Syracuse for a third consecutive time after losing the series-opener, beating the Chiefs, 9-6. Robinson's replacement at second base, Tom Tatum, continued to hit the ball well, his .328 average ranking him ninth in the International League.
June 20, 1946
Syracuse dumped Montreal, 11-6, in the finale of their five-game series. Through the first two months of the season, the Chiefs, at 7-7, were the only team in the league that had a record of .500 or better vs. Montreal.
June 21, 1946
(Doubleheader: 0-for-4, RBI)
The hard-charging Newark Bears visited Montreal for a quick two-day, three-game series. The Bears had gone 20-9 from May 21 to June 18 to climb from sixth place to second, and within five games of the Royals.
Back in the lineup for the first time since June 12, and just the third time since May 30, Robinson hit fifth for the first time on the season in the twinbill opener, going 0-3 with an RBI in a 4-2 loss. He returned to the two hole in the second game, but batted just once in the Royals' 10-6 win, going 0-1.
June 22, 1946
After attempting to return to the lineup in the previous day's doubleheader, Robinson was back on the bench against Newark, as the Royals fell to the Bears, 9-7.
June 23, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-8, 2R)
Finally fully recovered from his calf strain he suffered on May 29, Robinson went 1-for-4 with a run scored in both games of a doubleheader split again visiting Jersey City. The Royals won the opener, 8-2. Then, in the seven-inning nightcap, they led 1-0 until the final frame, when the Giants plated five runs. Montreal got three of its own in the bottom of the seventh, but the Royals' rally came up a run short and they lost, 5-4.
June 24, 1946
(2-for-3, 2B, RBI, SB)
Montreal trounced Jersey City, 16-2, giving them a total of 154 runs in their 14 games against the Giants -- an average of 11 runs per game. Robinson went 2-for-3 with a single, a double and his 18th RBI and stolen base of the year.
June 25, 1946
(3-for-5, 2B, 2R)
The Royals' dominance of Jersey City pitching continued as they nearly matched the previous day's result, beating the Giants, 15-2. Jackie had a pair of singles, a double and two runs scored in five at-bats.
June 26, 1946
Robinson strung together his third consecutive multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs to help Montreal to a 6-3 win over Jersey City. The Royals outscored the Giants, 49-14, in taking four of five games. Jackie was 9-for-19 with six runs, two doubles, an RBI and a stolen base in the series, raising his average to .356.
June 27, 1946
(0-for-3, RBI, R, SB)
The first-place Royals took the first of a three-game series from Baltimore, 10-3. Robinson went 0-for-3 but did manage a run, an RBI and a stolen base.
June 28, 1946
(0-for-4, 2 RBI, R)
Though the Royals offense continued its onslaught on International League pitching, beating the Orioles, 13-9, Robinson was held hitless for a second straight game -- the first time all season he'd gone without a hit in consecutive games. He would not go longer than two games without a hit over the course of the entire season.
June 29, 1946
(2-for-5, RBI, R) In their Saturday afternoon series finale against Baltimore, the Royals had their five-game winning streak snapped with an 11-7 loss. Robinson went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles, a run and an RBI.
June 30, 1946
(Doubleheader: 3-for-7, RBI, 3R, 2B)
The Royals offense continued rolling in the opener of a twinbill against Rochester, trouncing the Wings, 15-5. Robinson led the charge with his fifth multi-hit game of the week, going 3-for-5 with a double and three runs scored. Jackie was hitless in two at-bats in game two -- a seven-inning 5-4 loss.
With the defeat, the Royals finished with a 20-14 mark in June. Robinson only had 47 at-bats in the month, collecting 15 hits for an average of .319, which trimmed 10 points off his season average, from .356 to .346.
JUNE TOTALS: 12-for-47 (.319), 12 R, 7 RBI, 4 2B, 2 SB
July 1, 1946
July 2, 1946
(Doubleheader: 3-for-7, 3 R)
After being rained out of their first scheduled game of July, the Royals swept a doubleheader from Rochester. Robinson went 3-for-5 with three runs scored in the opener, as Montreal breezed, 12-0. He went 0-for-2 in the nightcap, as the Royals won, 3-2, in a seven-inning affair.
July 3, 1946
The Royals hit the road for a quick trip to Buffalo and Toronto, in which they would play six games in four days. On this Wednesday night, they played just one, but the two teams scored enough runs for two games, as the Royals outslugged the Bisons, 11-10. Robinson did not play, missing his first game since returning to the lineup full-time.
July 4, 1946
(3-for-5, 2 RBI, R)
In the first game of an Independence Day doubleheader in Buffalo, Robinson went 3-for-5 with a run and two RBIs to raise his average to .360, but the Royals lost, 11-7. The three-hit game was Jackie's fourth in 10 starts. He sat the second game, as Montreal won, 10-4.
July 5, 1946
(2-for-5, 2B, RBI, R)
The Royals moved on to Toronto, where Robinson contributed to half the team's runs in the series-opening 4-0 win, going 2-for-5 with a run, a double and an RBI. But the story of the day was the Royals' pitching, which shut out the Maple Leafs on just four hits.
July 6, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-6, 2B, 2 R)
Montreal capped off its four-day, six-game jaunt to Buffalo and Toronto with another doubleheader -- the Royals' fourth in seven days. Robinson went 1-for-2 with a run scored and his second double in as many days as the Royals took game one, 8-5.
Game two was tied, 2-2, when, according to The Sporting News, it was, "called to allow the teams to catch trains." The Royals and Maple Leafs were scheduled to play -- what else? -- a doubleheader the following day back in Montreal. Robinson was 1-for-4 with a run scored before the game was postponed, giving him 19 runs in 16 games since returning from injury.
July 7, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-7, RBI, SB)
Back at home, the Royals' frantic pace continued with yet another doubleheader, giving them a total of 10 games played in a six-day period. But the busy schedule didn't seem to affect the team's pitching. After recording just three shutouts over the first 73 games of the season, the Royals' 2-0 blanking of the Maple Leafs in the twinbill opener was their third in six games. They followed up the four-hitter by winning the second game, 5-2, in seven innings.
Robinson went 2-for-4 in game one, stealing his first base since June 27 -- his longest regular-season stretch without a stolen base. He was hitless in three at-bats during the second game but did drive in one of the five Royals runs, giving him 27 RBIs on the year.
July 8, 1946
(1-for-3, R, SB)
The Royals wrapped up a six-game home-and-home series with Toronto by beating the Maple Leafs, 4-2. Robinson singled, stole a base and scored a run in three trips to the plate.
Montreal's 9-1-1 start to July propelled them to a double-digit lead over second-place Syracuse, who fell from 4.5 to 11 games back over the course of a week.
July 9, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
July 10, 1946
(1-for-5, 2 RBI. 2 R, SB)
Buffalo came to town and while Robinson had just one single in five at-bats, he drove in two runs, scored another pair and stole his 22nd base of the year -- and his third in four games -- in an 11-4 Royals win.
July 11, 1946
Montreal continued its torrid pace, winning for the fifth consecutive time and the 11th time in 13 games (11-1-1). Robinson went 0-for-3 in the Royals' 7-2 win, but he did drive in a run.
July 12, 1946
The Royals' nine-game unbeaten streak came to an end with a 3-1 loss to Buffalo. Robinson was 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI in the defeat.
July 13, 1946
(2-for-4, 2 RBI, R)
In front of another big crowd in Montreal, the Royals beat the Bisons, 6-4, in a Saturday afternoon affair. Fans continued to flock to see Jackie, both at home and on the road. The Royals had drawn 241,902 fans at home and 234,679 on the road.
Robinson went 2-for-4 with two singles, a run scored and two RBIs in the game. Of Jackie's 33 RBIs on the season, six had come in a four-game span, and 10 in his last 11 games.
At some time during the day, he also found time to draft a letter to Branch Rickey, assuring the Brooklyn Dodgers owner that he had not been under a formal contract with his Negro League team, the Kansas City Monarchs, when he signed with Brooklyn. The letter, housed at the Library of Congress reads:
Dear Mr. Rickey,
I have just read Mr. Parker's article in the Mirror stating in effect I had violated my contract with the Kansas City Monarchs and that you had induced me to do so. The facts are as follows:
No contract of any kind was ever tendered to me by the Kansas City Monarchs and I had never signed anything in the nature of an agreement or a contract with that club. I simply received an offer in a letter and I reported to the Kansas City Monarchs as a result of that letter.
Upon reporting I asked William Dismukes, the business manager of the Monarchs, for a contract but none was ever tendered to me. I knew that I had no job at any minute they cared to dismiss me. Furthermore, at no time did I have a conversation with anyone connected with the Kansas City Monarchs or with any other club for that matter in regard to my future services.
Some time ago I read in the press a statement by Mr. Wilkinson, the owner of the Kansas City Monarchs, stating that I was under no contract with his club.
When I came to Brooklyn to see you one of the very first questions you asked me, if not the very first, was "are you under any obligation of any sort whatever as to your future services in baseball?" I told you very quickly "None whatever." You asked me to put that in writing and I did so at that time.
As I remember our first conversation you gave me to understand that if I had any agreement with my then employers you could not discuss my employment by the Brooklyn Organization.
July 14, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-5, 2 RBI, R, SB)
Montreal split a doubleheader at Buffalo, taking the first game, 7-3, before falling, 7-6, in the seven-inning nightcap. Robinson went 1-for-3 with a run and a stolen base in the opener and was 1-for-2 with a single, an RBI and another stolen base in the Royals' loss.
July 15, 1946
A 4-2 loss at Rochester gave Montreal consecutive losses for the first time in nearly a month. Worse for the Royals, Robinson aggravated his leg injury and did not play.
July 16, 1946
Robinson was back in the lineup after missing Monday's game, but the Royals offense sputtered again, getting shut out by the Red Wings, 5-0. It marked just the second time all season that Montreal had been held scoreless, and the first time since the third game of the season, on April 21 -- a span of 88 games. The Royals' third consecutive loss also matched their longest losing streak.
July 17, 1946
(1-for4, RBI, R)
Suddenly, the typically explosive Royals offense regained its form, scoring 24 runs in a nighttime doubleheader sweep of Rochester. Robinson wasn't a big part of the resurgence, though, as he went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the opening 14-5 win and did not play in the nightcap -- a 10-5 victory.
July 18, 1946
The Royals moved on to Toronto for their second consecutive doubleheader and shut out the Maple Leafs, 5-0, in the first game, but fell, 2-1, in the second. Jackie scored one of the Royals runs in the victory, despite going 0-for-3, which dropped his average, momentarily, to .337. He went 2-for-4 with a double in game two, though, to jump back up to .340. The extra-base hit was his first in nearly two weeks, and just his third of the month.
July 19, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
July 20, 1946
After having the day off Friday, the Royals concluded their three-game series at Toronto by taking the rubber game from the Maple Leafs, 9-2. Robinson collected a pair of singles and a run scored in the Montreal win.
July 21, 1946
(Doubleheader: 4-for-8, HR, 3 R, SB)
Robinson had a pair of hits in both ends of a doubleheader sweep at Syracuse, raising his average five points, from .344 to .349, while the Royals extended their lead to 15 games. He had a pair of singles, a stolen base and a run scored in the opener -- a 4-3 win.
In the nightcap, outfielder Earl Naylor hit for the cycle, and Robinson went 2-for-3 with a solo homer and two of the Royals' three runs scored in another one-run victory. The longball was just Jackie's second of the season, and his first in over three months, since his Opening Day blast in Jersey City. According to The Sporting News, "Rumors persist that Robinson is to move up to the Brooklyn Dodgers before the year is out."
July 22, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
July 23, 1946
After going 88 games between being shutout for the first and second times on the season, the Royals were blanked for the second time in two weeks, 7-0, at Syracuse. Robinson had a single in four at-bats.
July 24, 1946
(1-for-4, RBI, R)
A Wednesday night game at Syracuse wrapped up the four-game set between the Royals and Chiefs and was Montreal's 13th contest in a 25-game road trip. The Royals' potent offense was again held in check by Syracuse pitching, as Montreal lost 3-2, splitting the series and giving the Royals just nine runs in four games.
Robinson did his fare share at the plate, driving in one run and scoring the other. According to The Sporting News, "Down 3-0, Robinson bunted for a hit. When the ball was thrown down the right field line, he came all the way around to score."
He also made an error, which broke a string of 57 straight games without committing a miscue. The streak dated back to May 7, when Jackie made two errors in the first game of a doubleheader against Newark.
July 25, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
July 26, 1946
(3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, SB)
The Royals arrived in Baltimore -- site of previous racially charged incidents -- for a four-game series with the Orioles, and the Friday night opener played out like a microcosm of Robinson's season with Montreal.
Orioles fans again proved to be some of the worst Robinson would ever face, rushing the field and causing the game to be delayed while the police restored order. Jackie, however, not only remained in the game but, undeterred, stole the show yet again.
After going over three months between his first and second homers of the year, Robinson hit his second longball in four games. And like his Opening Day shot, this one came in a pressure-packed situation. In a tight game with the Baltimore fans tormenting him mercilessly, Jackie collected three of Montreal's seven hits, belting a two-run homer, singling twice and stealing home to lead the Royals to a 10-9 10-inning victory.
Though it may not have been apparent from his performance on the field, as The Sporting News reported that week, "The stress continued to mount on Robinson."
July 27, 1946
The Orioles took the second game of their four-game set with the Royals, 6-5, but Montreal still maintained a double-digit lead over the rest of its IL competition. Robinson went 1-for-5 with a run scored in the loss.
July 28, 1946
Robinson had just one single in six trips to the plate as the Royals split a doubleheader in Baltimore. Montreal took the first game, 3-2, while dropping the second, 10-8.
Also on this day, The Sporting News reported that "Jackie Robinson, classy Negro keystoner, has been contacted to play a post-season series with Negro stars against Bob Feller's barnstormers."
July 29, 1946
(1-for-4 R, SB)
From Baltimore, the Royals went to Newark and opened a four-game series by beating the Bears, 10-4. Robinson was 1-for-4 with a run scored and his 27th stolen base of the season.
July 30, 1946
(Doubleheader: 4-for-6, 2B, 2 RBI, R, 3 SB)
Montreal played its 25th doubleheader of the season, splitting a pair of one-run games with Newark. The Royals won the first game, 3-2, then dropped the nightcap, 2-1. It marked the 13th time they'd split a twinbill. They'd swept their opponents seven times, been swept four times and had another double dip end in a win and a tie.
Robinson went 2-for-3 with an RBI in both ends. He scored a run and stole a base in the opener, then swiped two more bags in game two, giving him four in three games.
July 31, 1946
(1-for-3, 2B, RBI)
The Royals took three out of four from Newark with another 3-2 win in the series finale. Robinson had a double and an RBI in three plate appearances.
As reported in The Sporting News, "Clay Hopper's Royals, who scored 10 runs or better in 26 of their first 99 games this season, were shut out only three times in that period."
JULY TOTALS: 41-for-116 (.353), 25 R, 41 H, 19 RBI, 4 2B, 2 HR, 11 SB
August 1, 1946
Robinson and the Royals opened August in the same place they opened the '46 season (Jersey City), but without the success they had on Opening Day. Jackie had a pair of singles and a run scored in four at-bats, but Montreal fell to the Giants, 6-4.
August 2, 1946
(Doubleheader: 1-for-4, 2B, R)
Jackie had a double and a run in Montreal's 4-2 win over Jersey City in the first game of a doubleheader, but was hitless in a ninth-inning pinch-hit appearance in the nightcap.
August 3, 1946
After appearing as a pinch-hitter in the second game of Friday night's doubleheader with the Giants, Robinson didn't play at all against Jersey City on Saturday. The Royals fell for the third time in four games, by the score of 5-1.
August 4, 1946
Doubleheader: 2-for-5, RBI, 3 R, SB)
The Royals returned home from their 25-game road trip, which took them through all seven of the other cities in the league. They went just 13-12 on the trip, but that was good enough to maintain a double-digit lead over their closest competitors. Baltimore, Buffalo, Syracuse and Newark all remained between 14 and 15 behind Montreal.
Back at Delorimier Downs, Montreal opened up a 19-game homestand by sweeping a doubleheader from Syracuse. Robinson was 1-for-3 with two runs and a stolen base in the Royals' 9-5 win in the opener. He then went 1-for-2 in the nightcap, scoring a run and driving in another in a 7-1 win.
August 5, 1946
No game -- Scheduled day off
August 6, 1946
(5-for-6, RBI, 4 R, 3B)
In a wild Tuesday night game at Delorimier Downs, Montreal and Syracuse combined for 35 runs on 38 hits, with the Chiefs holding on for an 18-17 win. Syracuse jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, but the Royals answered with two of their own. The Chiefs put another six on the board in the second, followed by another pair of Montreal runs in the bottom half to make it 9-4. The Royals would get as close as 13-12 after they scored five in the bottom of the sixth, but Syracuse responded with five of their own in the seventh. Not only did the Chiefs outhit the Royals, 20-18, but they also benefited from a whopping seven Montreal errors -- one of which was made by Robinson.
Jackie tallied a season-high five hits in six at-bats and matched his season best of four runs scored. He hit a triple and four singles and drove in a run.
August 7, 1946
(3-for-4 2B, R)
Behind another strong game by Robinson, the Royals offense continued to roll, beating Syracuse, 9-4, to take the series, four games to three. The nine runs scored marked the four consecutive game in which the Royals scored seven or more runs.
Jackie went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored, raising his average above .360 -- good for second best in the International League.
August 8, 1946
(3-for-5, 3B, 2B, 3 R)
When Robinson had another one of his trademark games on August 8, it seemed that his performance on the field had finally begun to draw unqualified praise from the press. The same Montreal writers that had referred to Robinson as "dark boy," "Coloured Comet," "Dark Poison" and "Dark Danger" were being forced to focus on his talent instead of the color of his skin.
With one out in the bottom of the 10th and the game tied, 2-2, Jackie hit his fifth triple of the season (and the second of four that he would collect in the span of six games). The next batter, Lew Riggs, hit a shallow fly ball to right field -- or as The Sporting News described it: a "pop-up just behind second base."
According to the account of the Canadian Press, "Robinson tagged up and rushed for the plate. He arrived almost simultaneously with Nick Solomon's throw, but a football slide enabled him to touch the plate with one hand while eluding Mike Grasso's effort to put the ball on him."
In addition to his extra-inning heroics, Robinson had also singled, doubled, scored one of the Royals' two third-inning runs and accounted for three of their six total hits. And not only had he nearly single-handedly won the game, but he was winning in the court of public opinion.
The Montreal Gazette's Dink Carroll, who had previously been reserved in his praise of Jackie, wrote, "There doesn't seem to be anything he can't do." The Montreal Star's Lloyd McGowan claimed that there was "nothing left for him to do." And both papers took to calling him "Robby" and using monikers such as "flashy Jackie Robinson," as opposed to necessarily referring to him as "colored" or "Negro."
August 9, 1946
(3-for-4, RBI, 3B, 2B)
Although outhit, 11-7, by the Little Giants, Montreal took advantage of some wild Jersey City pitching and took the second game of the series, 8-5. Giants starter Bill Emmerich spotted the Royals a 5-0 lead when four walks led to a five-run second inning. Jersey City closed the gap to 5-4 by the top of the sixth, but Montreal responded with three runs in their half to put the game out of reach.
Royals catcher Herman Franks homered, but it was Robinson that led the way for Montreal again, collecting a single, a double and a triple in four at-bats. And although he failed to score a run for the first time in eight starts, Jackie drove home four, tying his season high for RBIs in a game.
The three-hit game was the fourth consecutive game that Jackie collected three or more hits. Over that four-game span, he went 14-for-19 with three doubles, three triples, seven runs and five RBIs. His batting average leaped nearly 25 points, from .351 to .373.
August 10, 1946
The Royals jumped all over another Giants starter, plating six runs on six hits off Mike Kash in the first inning, on their way to a 13-1 rout. Robinson had his fifth consecutive multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a pair of runs. Les Burge and Dixie Howell also starred with three-run homers.
The win gave Montreal a three-game sweep over Jersey City and raised the Royals' record to 38 games over .500 (78-40).
August 11, 1946
(Doubleheader: 3-for-8, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 R)
Montreal played its first twinbill in a week and toppled Baltimore, 15-4, in the opener. The Royals jumped out to a 7-0 lead after four innings and then put the Orioles away with an eight-run seventh. Robinson was instrumental again, hitting a double and a triple while scoring and driving in a pair of runs. The multiple-hit game was Jackie's sixth in a row, giving him 18 hits in 28 at-bats (.643) over that span.
The Royals were held to just five hits in the seven-inning nightcap -- a 6-2 loss. Robinson had one those hits -- a single -- in three at-bats.
August 12, 1946
(1-for-3, R, SB)
Montreal got its first of three consecutive outstanding pitching performances, as Steve Nagy limited Baltimore to a run on three hits in an 8-1 win. Robinson went 1-for-3 with a single, a stolen base and a run scored in support of the Royals' 27-year-old ace.
August 13, 1946
(0-for-1, 2 R)
For the second consecutive game, a Royals pitcher held Baltimore to one run on three hits as Montreal topped the Orioles, 9-1. Right-hander Glen Moulder tossed one of his 11 complete games on the year for the Royals. The 28-year-old Oklahoman started 17 games in 1946 and completed 11 of them, including two shutouts.
Robinson was hitless in just one official plate appearance but did score two runs. It was the first time he'd gone without a hit in 16 starts.
August 14, 1946
Royals pitching once again held Baltimore to a single run, as Montreal beat the third-place Orioles, 2-1. After hitting safely in 16 straight starts, Robinson went hitless for the second night in a row.
August 15, 1946
(3-for-4, 4 RBI, 4 R, 2B)
The Royals' doubleheader against Newark was a tale of two games. In the first, Robinson filled up the stat sheet by going 3-for-3 with a double, four runs and four RBIs in Montreal's 21-6 rout of the Bears. Jackie wasn't the only Royals hitter to be perfect at the plate, as Marv Rackley also turned the trick with four singles. First baseman Les Burge contributed his 12th and 13th home runs of the season in Montreal's 17-hit outburst.
Robinson did not play in game two, and the Royals' bats suddenly went silent in a 12-2 loss. Newark's Duane Pillette had a shutout in tact until the eighth inning when John "Spider" Jorgensen hit a two-run inside-the-park homer. Les Burge also nearly pulled off the feat -- which would have been his third roundtripper of the day -- but he fell while rounding third on a ball he'd hit off the wall. Pillette, meanwhile, went the distance for Newark, allowing just six hits while the Bears racked up 18 of their own.
August 16, 1946
August 17, 1946
(Doubleheader: 1-for-8, 3 RBI, R)
Robinson and the Royals routed Newark in the first half of a 2 p.m. doubleheader, 13-1, as Steve Nagy held the Bears to five hits for his 15th victory of the season. Jackie had a double in five at-bats, driving in three runs to give him seven RBIs in two games.
Montreal got another strong pitching performance from Glen Moulder in the nightcap, but Newark scored the game-winner on a ninth-inning sacrifice fly to prevail, 2-1. Robinson was 0-for-3, seeing his average dip below the .370 mark.
August 18, 1946
Sixth-place Toronto visited Montreal for a four-game set, beginning with the Royals' second consecutive doubleheader. The home team managed just two runs in each half of the twinbill, but that was good enough for a split as the Royals rebounded from a 9-2 loss to win game two, 2-1. The Royals scored the game-winning run with two outs in the final frame of the seven-inning game. Robinson was just 1-for-8 on the afternoon.
August 19, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
August 20, 1946
(2-for-5, 2 RBI, 3B)
The Royals were outhit, 10-7, but took advantage of three Maple Leafs errors to win, 6-5. Robinson was 2-for-5 with a single, a triple and two RBIs.
August 21, 1946
(2-for-3, 2B, 3 R, 3B)
Having stolen just one base in his past 17 games, Robinson showed off his speed, not only with two stolen bases, but also by going from first to third on a sacrifice bunt. He was 2-for-3 in the Royals' 7-4 win over Toronto, with a double and three runs scored.
Montreal sportswriters continued to become less abashed in their praise of Jackie. In the August 21 edition of The Sporting News, Lloyd McGowan of the Montreal Star wrote, "All pitchers, whether righthanded or southpaws, have looked pretty much alike to Robby in recent games. He can hit the curve, and while a natural righthanded pull hitter, he can powder the ball to all fields and has proved that he can hit behind the runner."
August 22, 1946
(0-for-3, R, SB)
Even when held hitless, Robinson found a way to make his presence felt. In a 4-3 win at Buffalo, in which Montreal was outhit, 9-5, Jackie was 0-for-3. But he shined in the field, where he turned three double plays, and on the bases, as he stole home.
August 23, 1946
The Royals took a second game from Buffalo, 8-3, for their fifth consecutive win. Robinson followed his 0-for-3 night at the plate by going 1-for-5. But despite going just 1-for-8 in the series, he made his presence felt and won over the Bisons' fans. The Sporting News reported that, "Robinson earned several ovations from Buffalo fandom, especially after pilfering home, August 22, and then turning an unassisted double play the next night."
August 24, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
August 25, 1946
August 25 was not a great day for Robinson at the plate, but he and the Royals had plenty to celebrate as they rebounded from a 12-inning 3-2 loss in the opener of a doubleheader at Rochester to take the second game, 4-2, and in doing so clinched their second consecutive International League title. Montreal, at 90-45 and with a near 20-game lead over its closest pursuers, wrapped up the title with over two weeks to go in the regular season.
As reported in The Sporting News later that week, "Montreal's pennant clincher was pitched by 41-year-old Coonskin Curt Davis, when he whipped Rochester on four hits, 4 to 2, in the August 25 afterpiece."
Jackie went 1-for-9 on the day, dropping his average to .355 -- its lowest point in nearly a month.
August 26, 1946
With the IL pennant safely in the bag, Robinson was able to take a few days off, not only to recover from the bumps and bruises he'd accumulated, but also from the psychological strain that had taken a serious toll on him throughout the season. Without Jackie in the lineup, the Royals scored twice in the top of the first, but were held in check for the remainder of the game, dropping a 5-2 decision to Rochester.
The August 26 edition of Newsweek quoted Royals manager Clay Hopper as saying that Robinson was "a player who must go to the majors. He's a big-league ballplayer, a good team hustler, and a real gentleman." Which was no small compliment coming from Hopper, a Mississippi-born and raised cotton broker who, upon learning that he would be managing Robinson, told Branch Rickey, "If you're going to do this, you're going to force me to move my family and home out of Mississippi."
Ten years later, in a speech at the "One Hundred Percent Wrong Club" banquet in Atlanta, Rickey recounted another incident from Spring Training that year, in which Hopper asked, "Do you really think that a [racial epithet] is a human being, Mr. Rickey?" But just five months after that remark, Robinson had obviously won the admiration of Hopper and perhaps even helped him transcend the culture of prejudice in which he lived.
August 27, 1946
Jackie sat out of Montreal's doubleheader at Rochester, in which the Royals split a pair of two-run games. They took the first game from the Red Wings, 4-2, though managing only five hits in the seven-inning contest, but then managed to lose the nightcap, 6-4, despite racking up 16 hits to the Wings' 10.
August 28, 1946
A scheduled day off gave Robinson a third straight day of rest after the Royals clinched the pennant on Sunday.
The Sporting News reported that "Royals general manager Mel Jones was forced to quash rumors about Robinson going to the Dodgers before season's end. 'He's passed the test here and he shouldn't have to go through that again in the big leagues,' Jones said."
August 29, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-7, 2B, 2 R)
Back in the lineup for Montreal's doubleheader at Toronto, Robinson went 0-for-3 in the opener, but 24-year-old Californian Chet Kehn tossed a one-hitter to lead the Royals to a seven-inning 2-0 win. Jackie got back on track in the second game, collecting a single, a double and two runs scored in four at-bats to support southpaw Steve Nagy, who allowed just four hits in a 6-1 complete game victory.
August 30, 1946
(Doubleheader: 1-for-5, RBI, 2 R)
Montreal split a doubleheader with Toronto, dropping the first game, 4-3, and rebounding to win the second, 10-7. Though Robinson had a rather uneventful day at the plate, his night was still noteworthy. As reported by The Sporting News, "In the second game Jackie Robinson, Negro infield star, was shifted to the hot corner, a station he is said to be ticketed to play for Brooklyn next season." He made one error in the game.
August 31, 1946
(2-for-4, RBI, R)
August came to a close with Robinson atop the IL in hitting. He finished off the month by going 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in a 5-4 win over Toronto. Jackie hit .366 in August with 10 doubles, five triples, six stolen bases and 33 runs, helping the Royals win 24 of 35 games and pull away from the rest of the league.
AUGUST TOTALS: 41-for-112 (.366), 33 R, 41 H, 18 RBI, 10 2B, 5 3B, 6 SB
September 1, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-7, RBI, R, SB)
The final month of the season began with back-to-back home doubleheaders against Buffalo. The Royals swept the first twinbill by scores of 12-5 and 4-2. Robinson collected one hit in each game and also scored a run, picked up an RBI and stole a base in the opener. But center fielder Marv Rackley was the hero the day, as he hit for the cycle.
September 2, 1946
(Doubleheader: 3-for-9, 2 RBI)
Approximately 27,000 fans were in attendance at Montreal Stadium to see the Royals get swept in a home doubleheader for the first time all season. Buffalo took two close games, 7-6 and 8-6. Robinson was 2-for-5 with an RBI in the opener and 1-for-4 with another run batted in in the nightcap.
September 3, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
September 4, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-7, R, 2 SB)
After a day off, the Royals were right back at it for another twinbill, this one against seventh-place Rochester. Montreal edged the Red Wings in the first game, 8-7, as Robinson went 1-for-4 with a pair of stolen bases. He went 1-for-3 and scored a run in the second game, but the Royals fell, 5-3.
As third base appeared to be the only position that would be available for Robinson in Brooklyn's infield in 1947, the Royals began to experiment with Robinson at the hot corner. Ironically, The Sporting News reported on this day that several Montreal scribes rated Robinson as the best Royals second sacker of all time. It also listed Jackie atop the International League's hitting leaders, tied at .353 with Newark's Allie Clark, who would go on to meet Robinson in the 1947 World Series. Clark, a 23-year-old outfielder, won World Series rings with the Yankees in '47 and the Indians in '48. He was a lifetime .262 hitter over seven seasons.
September 5, 1946
The Royals fell to Rochester, 5-1. Robinson went just 1-for-5, but he was flawless in the field, recording four put outs and four assists.
September 6, 1946
Jackie rested for the first of two consecutive days, sitting out a 12-8 loss to Rochester.
September 7, 1946
With Jackie out of the lineup again, the Royals salvaged a second win over Rochester in the five-game series, edging the Red Wings, 7-6.
September 8, 1946
(Doubleheader: 2-for-8, RBI, SB)
Fittingly, the Royals wrapped up their season with a doubleheader. The twinbill -- a split with Toronto -- was their 39th of the year, accounting for just over half of their 154 total games, of which they won 100.
After sitting out the previous two days, Robinson played in both ends of the doubleheader, going 1-for-5 in the first game and 1-for-3 with an RBI in the nightcap. Newark's Allie Clark, who had been tied with Robinson for the league lead in hitting earlier in the week, faded down the stretch, ending the season at .342 and allowing Robinson to win the league's batting title. Jackie also led the league in runs scored and finished second, behind teammate Marv Rackley, in stolen bases.
REGULAR SEASON TOTALS: 154-for-443 (.348), 64 RBI, 111 R, 24 2B, 8 3B, 3 HR, 39, SB
September 9, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
September 10, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
September 11, 1946
(3-for-4, 3 RBI, R, 2B)
Montreal hosted Game 1 of its opening-round series against fourth-place Newark, against whom the Royals had gone 13-9 during the regular season. The Royals' regular-season leaders picked up where they'd left off, as Robinson went 3-for-4 with a double, a run and three RBIs to lead the offense, while Steve Nagy, who led the team with a 17-4 mark, took a shutout into the ninth inning. The Bears rallied in the ninth, but fell short, losing, 7-5, in front of 15,064 fans at Delorimier Downs.
September 12, 1946
Though Jackie went 0-for-3 and the Royals' high-powered offense was held at bay, Game 2 of Montreal's first-round series ended in dramatic fashion. With the score tied, 1-1, in the bottom of the ninth, the Royals loaded the bases with one out. Al Campanis dropped down a suicide squeeze bunt to push home the winning run, and the Royals headed for Newark with a 2-0 lead.
September 13, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
September 14, 1946
Montreal's feared lineup once again went silent, as Newark shut out the Royals, 4-0, to pull within 2-1 in the series. For the second straight game, Jackie went 0-for-3.
September 15, 1946
(1-for-4, 2B, R)
Not once during the 154-game regular season had Montreal been held to as few as four runs over a three-game span. But the Royals offense continued to sputter against Newark pitching. Robinson had a double and a run scored in four at-bats, but another strong Bears pitching performance gave Newark a 2-1 win and evened the series, 2-2.
September 16, 1946
Yet again, Robinson and the Royals struggled at the plate, scoring just two runs off Newark pitching. But two was enough on this afternoon, and the Royals won, 2-1, to take a 3-2 series lead.
September 17, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
September 18, 1946
(2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R)
The series returned to Montreal with the Royals leading Newark, three games to two. The Bears carried a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth and were within a strike of forcing a seventh game, only to lose an argument with umpire Art Gore on what they believed was a third strike on Les Burge to end the game. The Royals first baseman then launched a full-count pitch for a home run, sending the Newark side into hysterics. Manager George Selkirk and three players were ejected.
The game was tied, 4-4, with the bases empty and two outs -- and Gore wasn't out of the spotlight yet. With a capacity crowd of 19,935 cheering them on, the Royals set off a wild scene. According to The Sporting News, "Tom Tatum singled and Herman Franks doubled off the scoreboard: when Gore called Tatum safe at the plate on a close play, for the winning run, Catcher Larry Berra of the Bears rushed the arbiter and had to be restrained by teammates. Police and Montreal players assisted Gore from the field to prevent the angry Bears from molesting him."
Despite the protests of the Bears, the Royals had advanced to the Governors' Cup Final to face Syracuse, which had downed Baltimore in its opening-round series.
September 19, 1946
Coming off their emotional win over Newark, the Royals moved on to the Governors' Cup Championship to face a Syracuse team that had given them more trouble than any other team in the league during the regular season, winning 10 of 22 meetings. Montreal was flat in the Game 1, falling, 5-0. Robinson was held hitless in three at-bats.
September 20, 1946
(2-for-4, 2B, 2 R)
After dropping the first game of the Governors' Cup Finals to Syracuse, Montreal needed a win to avoid leaving Delorimier Stadium down, 2-0. But Syracuse starter Ken Polivka dominated the Royals early. The 25-year-old southpaw got within one strikeout of a Minor League record by fanning six consecutive Montreal batters. Robinson broke the string with a double, though, sparking a six-run fourth inning, in which the Royals batted around. Jackie went 2-for-4 with two runs scored as the Royals went on to win, 14-12, marking just the second time in eight postseason games that their normally explosive offense had scored more than five runs.
September 21, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
September 22, 1946
Having split the first two games of the series at home, the Royals went to Syracuse and routed the Chiefs by the score of 11-1 to take a 2-1 lead. Jackie was 1-for-5 with a run scored, his postseason averaging dipping below the .300 mark, to .294.
September 23, 1946
September 24, 1946
September 25, 1946
After two days off, the Royals returned to Syracuse's MacArthur Stadium and took a 3-1 lead in the series with a 7-4 win over the Chiefs. Jackie went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
September 26, 1946
(4-for-5, 2 R, SB)
In a fitting conclusion to the International League's postseason, Robinson went 4-for-5 with a run, two RBIs and a stolen base to lift Montreal to a second consecutive 7-4 win over Syracuse, giving the Royals their second Governors' Cup title. Jackie hit .400 in the series, going 8-for-17 in the final four games after the Royals were shut out in the series opener. The win set the stage for the Little World Series, which would send Montreal and Robinson far further into the South than they had ventured during the season, to Louisville, where they would face the American Association champion Colonels and a "welcoming" committee of hostile fans.
September 27, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
September 28, 1946
Tension and emotions were running high for the 1946 Little World Series between Montreal and the American Association champion Louisville Colonels. During the regular season, the Royals had traveled only as far south as Baltimore, which was the only city in the International League located below the Mason-Dixon line. And though Robinson withstood his fair share of abuse there, visiting Louisville, Kentucky, was a different experience.
Sixty years after the fact, Louisville infielder Al Brancato recalled that, "It was a very exciting time, because of all the controversy surrounding Jackie being the first black player. He didn't even have a place to stay. There were no hotels that would take him, so they didn't even know whether or not they were even going to play."
They did play. And the Louisville fans provided the anticipated rude welcome for Jackie.
"Everything he did, they booed him," said Colonels pitcher Otey Clark. "I remember our pitcher Jim Wilson knocked him down, and the fans cheered. Robinson didn't seem to pay any attention to any of it."
Whether the crowd got to Robinson is debatable, but what is beyond question is that he struggled in Louisville.
Despite Robinson's worst day of the season at the plate, the Royals won Game 1, 7-5. Jackie's 0-for-5 performance marked the only time all year he was held hitless in five at-bats.
September 29, 1946
Robinson's struggles continued in Game 2 of the Little World Series, and this time the Royals could not overcome the absence of his usual offensive contributions, falling to Louisville, 3-0. On the heels of his first 0-for-5 game of the season, Jackie went hitless again, going 0-for-2 and committing an error as the series evened, 1-1.
September 30, 1946
(1-for-3, 2 R)
With the series knotted, 1-1, Louisville's offense exploded in a 15-6 trouncing of Montreal. Robinson managed his first hit of the series, going 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored, but it wasn't nearly enough, as the Royals returned home trailing, two games to one.
October 1, 1946
No game -- scheduled day off
October 2, 1946
(1-for-5, RBI, 2 R)
Having dropped two of three in front of a hostile Colonels crowd, the Royals returned to frigid Delorimier Stadium for some home cooking. And no one needed, nor appreciated, the warm reception of the 14,685 fans more than Jackie Robinson, who had gone an uncharacteristic 1-for-10 in Louisville.
"We discovered that the Canadians were up in arms over the way I had been treated," said Robinson in My Own Story, his 1972 autobiography. "Greeting us warmly, they let us know how they felt. ... All through that first game [at home] they booed every time a Louisville player came out of the dugout. I didn't approve of this kind of retaliation, but I felt a jubilant sense of gratitude for the way Canadians expressed their feelings."
It was in that first game in Montreal that the series' momentum swung decisively in the Royals' favor. Colonels starter Otey Clark took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but walked the bases loaded and allowed Montreal to tie the game.
"It was my most embarrassing moment in baseball," said Clark. "I hadn't needed anyone to relieve me all season, but they tied it up and beat us in extra innings."
And it was none other than Robinson who drove home the winning run in the bottom of the 10th. Jackie was 2-for-5 and scored a run in addition to his game-winning RBI.
October 3, 1946
(3-for-5, RBI, 2 R, 2B, 3B)
After Wednesday night's near-freezing temperatures in Montreal, milder weather brought out a huge crowd of 17,758 for Game 5 of the Little World Series. With the teams tied at two games apiece, the Royals got off to a quick start in the first, thanks to Robinson, who doubled in the first inning and scored on a single by Tom Tatum.
In the seventh, Jackie tripled and scored what proved to be the winning run on a double by Lew Riggs. He then dropped down a bunt single to drive home Al Campanis in the eighth inning, providing the final margin of 5-3 and inching the Royals within a win of the title.
October 4, 1946
A record crowd of 19,171 piled into Montreal's Delorimier Stadium for Game 6 of the Little World Series, with the Royals leading the American Association champion Louisville Colonels, three games to two.
The Royals got two early runs and rode a stellar performance by two-time National League All-Star "Coonskin" Curt Davis to a 2-0 win and the Little World Series championship. Davis, pitching one day after his 43rd birthday, had been returned from Brooklyn early in the season and went 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 20 regular-season games. The Missouri native had enjoyed a 13-year big league career, in which he compiled 158 wins, highlighted by his 1939 season, in which he won 22 times and hit .381 for the St. Louis Cardinals.
At the conclusion of the game, Robinson, who was the only Royals player to collect more than one hit in the finale, was mobbed by the exuberant crowd. As reported in the Pittsburgh Courier by Jackie's friend Sam Maltin, "Ushers and police couldn't keep the crowd from the field. They refused to move and sang Il a gagne ses Epaulettes ("He won his bars") and 'We want Robinson.' It was a mob ready to riot. Manager Clay Hopper came out of the clubhouse and they chaired him on their shoulders and carried him around the field. Then veteran pitcher Curt Davis, who hurled the final victory, made his appearance and they carted him around. But there was no Robinson and they refused to move until he showed himself.
"A delegation of ushers went to see Jackie and asked him to step out, so that they could close the park and call it a season. Jackie came out and the crowd surged on him. Men and women of all ages threw their arms around him, kissed him, pulled and tore at his clothes, and then carried him around the infield on their shoulders, shouting themselves hoarse.
"Jackie, tears streaming down his face, tried to beg off further honors.
"They carried him back to the clubhouse. There, he had a tough time packing his gear as people came trooping in to wish him luck. They all said they wanted him back."
In his autobiography, My Own Story, Jackie again let Maltin's words tell the story:
"When I at last got ready to leave the dressing room, the passageway was blocked with at least three hundred people. Every time I opened the door, they'd start yelling and pushing. I couldn't get out, and the ushers and police couldn't break through and come to my rescue. Finally, I had to take a chance. I passed my bag to a friend, hunched my shoulders, and plunged smack into that throng. Here's how Sam Maltin described it in his story:
'It was a demonstration seldom seen here. Again the crown started hugging and kissing him. He tried to explain that he had to catch a plane. They wouldn't listen, refused to hear him.
'They held on to him, but -- as he had done in his football days at UCLA -- Robbie gently fought off his admirers and pushed his way through until he found an opening. Then he started running.
'The mob was running after him. Down the street he went, chased by five hundred fans. People opened windows and came pouring out of their houses to see what the commotion was aobut. For three blocks they chased him until a car drew up and someone shouted: 'Jump in Jackie!' That he did, and sat down -- plunk in a lady's lap. They brought him safely to the hotel.'"
Of the scene surrounding Robinson that day, Maltin famously wrote, "It was probably the only day in history that a black man ran from a white mob with love instead of lynching on its mind."