Yahoo!‘s Freddy Sherman, who recently wrote an article about American Indians who have won individual gold medals at the Olympics as we ramp up for the 2012 London Olympics, asked the intriguing question posed in the headline of this article posted today.
Sherman, Philadelphia born yet a Los Angeles Dodger fan, writes that “one of the things I am proudest of is the team’s history with regards to breaking Major League baseball’s color line by starting Jackie Robinson. More than 20 years before the civil rights laws and struggles of the late 1960s, the Dodgers’ management and ownership made a bold move when they started Robinson in 1947.”
While he was researching his article on American Indian gold medalists, he realized that “Native American superstar athlete Jim Thorpe played for the New York Giants for six years.” He also realized Thorpe played for the Boston Braves and the Cincinnati Reds between 1913 and 1919. Sherman continues, “It seems to me like this great Native American hero was the first to break baseball’s color line back in 1913.”
Sherman is understandably in awe of Thorpe’s achievements, tracking the superstar’s career after he catapulted himself ont the world stage with his unforgettable performance at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, nabbing golds for the pentathlon and decathlon. He concedes that one game changing athlete helped pave the way for another; Jim Thorpe and Jackie Robinson, two men who were bigger than the sports they played.
Check out the full piece here.