Not quite two years into his major league career, Jackie Robinson was one of the most feared baserunners in the National League. His presence in the lineup solidified the Dodgers as pennant contenders.
The Photo of the Day, sponsored by RMY Auctions, is a snapshot of an intense moment in the National League race of 1948. The original 7×9″ news photo, recently taken from a newspaper archive, shows umpire Lee Ballanfant leaping into the air to try to avoid the simultaneous arrival of an errant throw from Chicago Cubs’ catcher Clyde McCullough and a sliding Robinson.
As the calendar turned to September, Robinson and the Dodgers were in a close race with the Boston Braves for the National League pennant. After losing a doubleheader at Wrigley Field the day before, the two teams were tied for the lead.
On a Wednesday afternoon, over 18,000 turned out and the Dodgers got right to work. Batting second, Robinson doubled to the gap. He took off for third and made it safely as this photo was snapped, with the ball sailing into left field. It was Jackie’s 18th stolen base of the season.
Robinson went two for five that day, with two runs batted in and Preacher Roe tossed a much-needed four-hit shutout. The Dodgers were back in first, but only for a moment. They would falter down the stretch, finishing 7 ½ games behind the Braves.
The photo is one of more than 300 on the block in RMY’s January Collector Auction. To participate, visit RMY Auctions.com. Bidding ends Sunday night.