Ralph Branca recalls friendship with Jackie Robinson - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Ralph Branca recalls friendship with Jackie Robinson

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The new movie "42" tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke baseball's color barrier, to whole new generation.

Ralph Branca, 87, was a three-time All-Star pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers team that Robinson joined. He is the only surviving member of that team.

"We were friends, we played together," Branca said. "I didn't care about the color of his skin. I looked at him when I met him, he came into the locker room. I said 'I hope he can help us win. He looks like he can."

When Robinson made his debut in 1947, Branca stood next to him when players on the opposing team refused to take the field.

Branca recalled this conversation: "My older brother John said… 'Are you crazy?' I said 'What are you talking about?' He said 'You stood next to Jackie.' I said 'So what?' He said 'Suppose a guy tried to shoot him and was a lousy marksman and missed by three feet.' I said 'I would've died a hero."

It was a tumultuous year for Robinson and the team. On the road the racism was never far away.

He's feisty, he's fiery, he's a competitor," Branca said. "And he had to turn the other cheek."

Branca remembers when team captain Pee Wee Reese took a stand against fans and other players. He said Reese put his arm around Robinson and pointed to the word "Brooklyn" on his chest, saying that Robinson was his teammate.

Branca knows how important Robinson not just to baseball but to society. He said Robinson made it easier for Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

"Made it easier for [Parks] to have the guts to say 'I'm sitting in this seat, period,'" he said.

Branca has seen the movie and said it captures the time period well, especially Robinson and the man who had the gut to sign him: Branch Rickey.

He said Robinson didn't just change baseball; he changed the country and the world.

  • Brooklyn NewsBrooklyn NewsMore>>

  • Garner's family meets U.S. attorney

    Staten Island stores worried about rally

    Staten Island stores worried about rally

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:01 PM EDT2014-08-22 03:01:16 GMT
    The Rev. Al Sharpton and family members of Eric Garner came from a meeting with U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in which they asked for a federal civil rights investigation into his apparent chokehold death. Meantime, Staten Island businesses are bracing for the huge crowds expected at Saturday's march. Sharpton said he is estimating about 3,000 to 5,000 people to rally Saturday.
    The Rev. Al Sharpton and family members of Eric Garner came from a meeting with U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in which they asked for a federal civil rights investigation into his apparent chokehold death. Meantime, Staten Island businesses are bracing for the huge crowds expected at Saturday's march. Sharpton said he is estimating about 3,000 to 5,000 people to rally Saturday.
  • Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team auditions

    Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team auditions

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:26 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:26:39 GMT
    Out of over 500 hopefuls only a handful will join the Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team. The Nets held auditions this week at LIU Brooklyn. Adorable Bronx native Arielle was turned away last year but this time around she's made it through to the final round of the auditions. But even those who were on the team last year still have to try out.
    Out of over 500 hopefuls only a handful will join the Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team. The Nets held auditions this week at LIU Brooklyn. Adorable Bronx native Arielle was turned away last year but this time around she's made it through to the final round of the auditions. But even those who were on the team last year still have to try out.
  • Official: NYPD body cameras are 'win-win'

    Official: NYPD body cameras are 'win-win'

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:02 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:02:35 GMT
    Public Advocate Letitia James says a 3-ounce camera, if used correctly, could be a key tool in improving community and police relations. She showed off one of the cameras she believes NYPD patrol officers need to be wearing. She said that the cameras would be a "win-win" for the public, transparency, police accountability improving police community relations, reducing civil liability.
    Public Advocate Letitia James says a 3-ounce camera, if used correctly, could be a key tool in improving community and police relations. She showed off one of the cameras she believes NYPD patrol officers need to be wearing. She said that the cameras would be a "win-win" for the public, transparency, police accountability improving police community relations, reducing civil liability.
Powered by WorldNow
Untitled

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices