WEEI>On Demand>>Ralph Branca on the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut

Ralph Branca on the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut

Apr 15, 2012|

Ralph Branca, 86, was teammates with Jackie Robinson when he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball on April 15, 1947. Sixty-five years later, Branca -- believed to be the last surviving teammate of Robinson at the time of his debut -- was at Fenway Park to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. After, Branca -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine's father-in-law -- shared some remarkable insights into the man who changed history, both in baseball and in America.

You Might Like

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

First -- well I'll go back to -- before Q we played much fuel exhibition yeah I just think if much -- Freddie said it's not. Usually like you guys with the switches you. In the next day we -- work and I was in the locker room and Jackie what game was and what coach shook his hand welcome aboard know it could think was. Can help us that there can help -- game. Think the focus in because I live in a book that was the United Nations. Of all it was. Flow black families about 9 PM it's Italian extraction. Two Irish who chairman to chew wood so. It was a league -- nation to my -- blacks have played with -- -- went in there house payment to myself. Seen Jack meant nothing nothing special -- different to me telling you yeah different opening. Well the guys who brought -- out. Because -- put it in a different area and it different here. I mean I guess civil war still own building where they get separation. Restrooms. Quite. And Colin. And they send a bit blacks and the fact that a plus it was still segregated. And Lancaster schools was so I gave it to at that time. So I checked he was really the first. To break the color barrier. Not only for baseball but for the whole country and eventually. The world so. He was it was a leading man being first is it -- discuss Jackie wasn't brought -- Could be totally wrote the race -- it's great that he isn't the only thing. Lieutenant and very bright guy and very distant so. But he did Lewis. He had to be totally out of character. Restrict you said don't. Get it any arguments -- any fights. Behaved itself for three years. And I look at race you know I know that Jackie was -- totally there because he was feisty he was fiery -- -- competitive. But you know -- turn the other -- It says in the bubbly just turn the other cheek for three years than -- tonight can behave like tech runs. Scored what happens. -- -- And that today the toughest Tampa Leona. It was Philadelphia. Philadelphia believe it or not -- and chip and I think he's from Montgomery Alabama maybe Birmingham. And he was it was always on Jackie's case and yet so that alone Q -- you malvo. So he was and -- case but defensively through these little. Souvenir bales of cotton on the field and -- -- cats on the field he threw watermelon on the field so Philadelphia -- the toughest. Went to them. -- what a great guy he says I was you know happy to be his friend. You know after we gathered all of it. -- -- -- various awards dinners. Race checkpoints in the world. Great golf together and just that he was offended that you -- lead of the race and not really. Brought up to beat that position you have and he just isn't that special kind of a guy. And another -- there. Were breaking made the right decision and picky check yet -- black guys they took about satchel page. And Josh -- It was a famous catch in such a pitch those -- great great pitches but he took. Took Jackie because he knew what equality yours what what kind of character it was we could turn the other -- it's intelligent enough. In those situations so. In my Ricky -- they can check. Out of all of black lists that people tell you that they had better players but you know what. Give me a better play that in that position to be that guy could take to get. -- turn the other cheek. And the leader of the race. Route to imported there or did you know what sort of you got -- story to do what you guys get hurt that's just the significance of it. Note to be truthful I don't think anybody knew the significance of it it was a new leader new territory. And nobody really was conscious of what was happening deep in the newspapers and then the next day the media and it was pretty show up. They never mentioned that he was breaking the color barrier this at Jackie Robinson. Didn't get a hit but he walked in he wanted successfully. And then scored a run. It's all said they didn't say that the color Barrett was broke so. It was it was Sunday that's unbelievable for me -- kicking off because the pitcher now that might have to protect. He's facing and how much did that affect what you. That does not affect me at all that's not a good protect jacket protect -- it is. When they threw it it is. I threw back a I mean to protect and now they warn you can't do whatever you do extraordinary and they should know don't do whatever it. You got first first Blix and the opposing team doesn't get first slicks was second weeks so but I know that. In fact it was an incident. In August. I was pitching a perfect game. -- Minnesota is batting fourth for the Cardinals. And hit a grounder to second base. And course instinctively I broke through the bag you know I think Jackie might go to his right. And I was like fifteen feet from the big thing to -- the step and scare us. Check his leg got me left leg when he stepped on the scales. And Chris I continued on I said get that is so before the next at bat -- and -- and you just keep pitching like you are. So I mean. He understood that my pitching was more of what. Unfortunately in the eighth inning I still had a perfect game slowed a little of and hit the ground balls seem like it's between Jackie and -- thank you. And I 'cause myself and said give me that it should listen to -- Yeah I -- an -- -- mother says. Hernandez. Got ahead of the -- well one more thing. That could kill him thing like you think they need nobody can see it. Did you feel but -- even Enrico Caruso who anybody wanna hear because you get in because if you go. Yeah you call those movies you move. As zoos all community in my yard. Because of you I had to -- yeah.

News & Analysis