One source that I religiously watched on Sunday evenings was The George Michael Sports Machine. Other than the nightly news sport reports, my only opportunity to see the highlights I wanted to see was through this quirky weekly show.
If you've never heard of it, check out the opening of the show below. George Michael would play around with a computer-like device to share the weeks biggest sports moments. He was like ESPN Sportcenter for most of the country.
Well, not only was he the nations main source for sports highlights, he was also an avid collector of sports photography. In fact, he specialized in photos of ballplayers sliding. From a 1999 SABR article:
One Sunday morning in September of 1947 I was awoken by my Mom in order to show me a great picture in the St. Louis Globe…from the previous day’s game of the Cardinals' Marty Marion sliding into home with the ball bouncing to Dodger catcher Bruce Edwards…I know I was clipping pictures from the paper before I ever started school. For the following fifteen years or so I cut out every sliding picture from the newspapers and put them in carefully protected scrapbooks…The photos I saved had to be clear pictures of a player sliding into second, third or home. The positions of the players and the quality of the actual photo would determine if it was good enough to be saved. Collisions, rough double plays, post homerun photos, posed shots—these were never acceptable. It had to be a clean photo of a player sliding…My Mom died when I was young and my father discarded all the scrapbooks as junk. I decided in 1968 that I would try to find every picture that I had clipped as a kid.At Legendary Auctions they are selling a large portion of his collection, and it includes many great sliding-action photographs of Jackie Robinson. Check some out below. BTW, Michael spent a lifetime seeking out a complete set of 19 Jackie Robinson steals of home photographs, and almost succeeded before dying in 2009.
Below is Jackie Robinson sliding hard into cubs catcher Rob Scheffing in 1947.
Jackie is caught sliding at home by Pirates pitcher Preacher Roe, and called out. Hilariously, Roe tags him with the glove when he clearly has the ball in his left hand.
In this 1948 International News photograph taken by Anthony Bernato, Jackie is safe at third. From the photo caption.
"Jackie Robinson hits the dirt in the fourth inning of today's game between the Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds, and makes third base well ahead of a wild throw that trickled through third baseman Corbitt's legs. The Brooklyn Flash couldn't travel any farther because Lamanno was backing up the third baseman for the visiting club. Jacky went all the way from first to third on Carl Furillo's two-bagger."
Here's a Spring Training 1947 La Presse photograph from Cuba of Jackie in a Montreal Royals uniform.
This Jackie photo is from 1946 and features jim in a Montreal Royals uniform.
Jackie is tagged out at home by Philadelphia catcher Andy Seminick. From the photo caption:
"Catcher Andy Seminick of the Philadelphia Phillies makes a diving tag as he puts Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn first baseman, out at the plate in the 6th inning of the Brooklyn-Philadelphia game at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, April 22. Robinson was thrown out when he attempted to score from third base on teammate Gene Hermanski's foul fly to Ron Northey, Phillies' right fielder. Dodgers won, 1-0."
Jackie attempts to steal home in the photo below. He was not successful. From the photo caption:
"Cubs catcher Rube Walker cuddles the plate, which he defended successfully against hard-sliding Jackie Robinson on his attempted steal home in the eighth inning of the Chicago-Brooklyn game, May 17. Walker appears overcome at having tagged the Dodger second baseman."
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