Rachel Robinson is joined by Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, left,… (Kathy Willens / Associated…)
It was not just the common fans who grew disenchanted with Frank McCourt’s ownership of the Dodgers. So did Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel.
Robinson was at Monday’s game, the first home game under the Dodgers’ new ownership, at the invitation of Magic Johnson to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“First of all, I’m thrilled with the fact we have new ownership and we have a chance to revitalize the franchise in terms of the organization, the team, the fans,” she said. “I’m just thrilled about that. I’ve been very unhappy with the fact that we were in so much trouble.”
Unhappy that the team went into bankruptcy?
“The McCourt era,” she said. “I could tell things were declining and not in the tradition of the Dodgers.”
Robinson, who turns 90 in July, lives in New York, where she oversees the Jackie Robinson Foundation. She said most of what she knew about the McCourt troubles came from reading newspapers.
She seemed happier that there was simply new ownership than Johnson becoming one of the major league’s first black owners with the same team her husband became the first black player.
“It is significant but what complements it is that it’s new ownership,’’ she said. “I’m thrilled that he’s a part of it because he’s a good man, a good business man, he’s good in looking at the overall community, so I feel he’s going to be good in that role.
“The fact that he’s a black man does make a difference. It means there is still African American influence in the game, and in the organization. If you’re asking me if it’s like when Jack broke in, you might make the comparison in some ways. Sixty-five years later, and still room for improvement.”
Asked how she thought Jackie would respond to Johnson becoming an owner of the Dodgers, she said: “I know he would have been unhappy that the Dodgers were sliding into a position where they were not what the fans needed or the team needed. And he would be happy with the recovery.”
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