There is nothing more subjective than lists. Who’s the greatest player of all-time (Babe Ruth, Jim Brown, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky)? Who’s the greatest Super Hero of all-time (Batman)? The real tough one: who is the greatest American of all-time?
It’s too difficult to say “any man or woman who died protecting our freedom” is number one but that group would be my choice. If I’m forced to go with individuals, I’m taking: 1) George Washington, 2) Abe Lincoln, 3) Ben Franklin, 4) Jackie Robinson.
Washington had the courage to fight for his nation and lead his nation as first President, yet the lack of ego to accept the title “King” or “Emperor.” Lincoln kept a nation together while being attacked equally from Southerners and Northerners to the point his own general ran against him for office. Franklin was a brilliant inventor, writer and brilliant diplomat that secured French intervention into the Revolutionary War.
Jackie had the pride in his country to fight for America when our country was right and never shy from doing the right thing even if it went against laws that made our country wrong. If you ever want to know the greatness of what an American can accomplish, learn about Jackie Robinson.
In 1946, Jackie was assigned to the Montreal Royals spring training camp, the triple-A affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Montreal was managed by Clay Hopper, a plantation owner from Mississippi. During the spring, Jackie made an astounding play at third base, Dodgers GM Branch Rickey said, “Did you see that Clay? No other human being alive could have made that play!” Hopper retorted, “Do you really think a n****r is a human being?”
I was thinking of this amazing and horrifying story all day Sunday and Monday.