Months removed from doing so for the first time in his career, Jackie Robinson stole home plate against the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series on Sept. 28 of that year.
The Brooklyn Dodgers were trailing by two runs in the eighth inning when Robinson broke for home and was ruled to have beat the tag from Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra. Robinson’s sprint started when Yankees left-hander Whitey Ford went into his delivery.
Ford completed his motion of going over the head before delivering a throw to Berra. Robinson slid into the plate and was immediately called safe by home-plate umpire Bill Summers, which left Berra incensed.
He protested the call and harbored that frustration for years to come. As tale has it, Berra would regularly refer to Robinson as being out whenever the play was mentioned.
In 2010, an emissary on Berra’s behalf delivered a photo of the play to United States President Barack Obama, signed by Berra. It was in recognition to Obama previously referring to one of the most iconic moments in MLB history.
Beyond his competitive spirit, it can be reasoned Berra’s frustration with the play stemmed from the end result. The Yankees hung on for a 6-5 victory in Game 1 and also were victorious in Game 2, but Brooklyn stormed back to win the World Series in seven games.
Robinson appeared in six games and went 4-for-22 with one double, one triple, one RBI, two walks and the one stolen base to help lead the Dodgers to their first championship. He swiped 12 bags during the 1955 regular season.
Robinson blazed a trail on the basepaths throughout his 10-year career with Brooklyn, twice leading the league in stolen bases. The first came in 1947, when Robinson stole 29 bases en route to being voted Rookie of the Year and finishing fifth for MVP.
Two years later he stole an MLB-best 37 bases and was named MVP. The 1947 season also marked the start of six consecutive All-Star Game selections for Robinson. He finished with 197 career stolen bases and added six more in World Series games, though only once did so at home plate.
Jackie Robinson Robinson mural
Along with the annual Jackie Robinson Day that is celebrated throughout Major League Baseball, the Hall of Famer was further recognized in 2021 by the Double-A Tulsa Drillers adding a mural to ONEOK Field.
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