The Least Fitting Tribute I Can Think Of

This week marks the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson re-breaking the color line in Major League Baseball, thanks to his incredible talent and the forward (and opportunistic) thinking of Branch Rickey. 42, the movie based on Jackie’s exploits in the game and how he apparently invented rap music opens everywhere this weekend. If you don’t go to see it, it’s probably because you’re a racist (or you’re a parent of small children who doesn’t get out to see movies very often).

You know, we make a big deal out of Branch Rickey’s audacity at challenging baseball’s racist unwritten rules, but we don’t talk at all about perhaps his bravest work to raise bow tie awareness on What’s My Line?

Take a moment to think about how different the world would be today, if Branch Rickey hadn’t helped us learn to accept and embrace giant bow ties. It’d be pretty damn bleak, I’ll tell you that much. Without them, we never would have had Soupy Sales:


And if we never had Soupy Sales, nobody would have made a fool out of himself in front of Jackie Robinson years later on the funkadelic ‘70s version of What’s My Line?

And without that, we might never know how high Jackie’s voice actually was, and how weird it’s going to be now to hear Chadwick Boseman in the movie 42.  Anyway, of course, Robinson points out how much harder 1947 and Robinson’s debut was for Rickey. After all, he was carrying the burden for African-Americans and bow ties everywhere.

I’m sorry, that’s a long way to go to have an excuse to show you videos of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey, with a special appearance by former MLBer and square-jaw enthusiast Chuck Connors. Please accept this What’s My Line? appearance by young, hot Elizabeth Taylor talking in a funny voice by way of apology:

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Mike Bates used to have a stupid pseudonym. Now he doesn't because people want to pay him to write about baseball on the Internet and he's really a sell out that way. He is also a Designated Columnist at SBNation, co-founder of The Platoon Advantage, and is an American Carpetbagger on Getting Blanked, the finest in Canadian baseball-type sites. His favorite word is paradigm. Follow him on Twitter here:

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