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There will be a Giant disconnect

Times Staff Writer

The Dodgers and Major League Baseball today commemorate the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic big league debut, but 2007 also marks the 50th year since Robinson retired.

Robinson called it a career on Jan. 5, 1957, shortly after the Brooklyn Dodgers had traded him to the New York Giants. Rather than report to the hated Giants, Robinson retired, after 10 seasons and six pennants with the Dodgers.

In an e-mail this week, reader Kenny Wolin, a self-described Brooklyn Dodgers fan now living in Studio City, mused:

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“Is there any truth to the rumor that, in addition to honoring my childhood hero Jackie Robinson this Sunday, the Dodgers have decided to be historically accurate?

“I heard they’re allowing a player to wear number 42, but will then trade him to the Giants at the end of the game.”

Trivia time

What did the Dodgers receive from the Giants for Robinson?

Fourth-best option was baseball

Chronicling Robinson’s four-sport accomplishments at UCLA, the website TheSportsExaminer.com observes that “It’s worth remembering that Robinson’s worst sport was baseball.”

The site provides the following evidence:

* As a football player at UCLA, Robinson led the nation in punt returns in 1939 and 1940. In 1940, he led the Bruins in rushing, passing, total offense and scoring. He had a 5.9 yards per carry average.

* As a basketball player, he was the two-time leading scorer of the Pacific Coast Conference’s Southern Division.

* In track and field, he was the 1940 NCAA long jump champion and “would almost certainly have been on the U.S. Olympic team if the Games (scheduled for Tokyo) had not been canceled.”

* As a UCLA baseball player, however, Robinson batted .097 during the 1940 California Intercollegiate Baseball Assn. season.

Week 15 Power Rankings

This was the week hell froze over and they had to move a three-game series from Cleveland to Milwaukee ...

1. Zach Johnson: The Who had a song called “Happy Jack,” which rhymes with Happy Zach, which is what Johnson is now after “Going Mobile” in the RV that became his “Magic Bus” to Augusta, where in four days his “Amazing Journey” took him from “Who Are You” to “Success Story.”

2. Kobe Bryant: By which statistic will we remember his ’06-'07 season -- 50 points, or .500?

3. Roger Goodell: You can’t stop him. These days you can’t even contain him.

4. Pacman Jones: In the video game of life, ghosts finally bust Pacman.

Too late for power pellets.

5. Chris Henry: The Bengals will sell a new candy bar at concession stands during the first half of next season. It is called “No Henry.”

6. Major League Snowball: The Angels remember the good old days, when Snow, White and Chili were the names of their players, not the reasons they wound up playing the Cleveland Indians in Milwaukee.

7. Intentional walk: The fastest way to exit the Dodger Stadium parking lot after games.

8. Dustin Penner: Scores winning goal in Ducks’ playoff opener. You know, Briefing’s always liked that kid.

9. Dallas Cowboys: They will appear on national TV a league-high seven times next season. No wonder. Everybody wants to see what Tony Romo might do next.

10. Drew Bledsoe: Veteran quarterback hangs up his jersey, but that’s all. As usual, he refuses to let go of the football.

Going postal

The Swiss postal service has decided to put the likeness of native son Roger Federer on a new set of stamps.

Regular folks in Switzerland can now do what Federer’s tennis foes have done for years: Mail it in.

Trivia answer

The Giants sent pitcher Dick Littlefield and $30,000 to the Dodgers in the 1956 trade. Major League Baseball voided the deal after Robinson announced his retirement.

And finally

New University of Minnesota basketball Coach Tubby Smith threw out the first pitch before Tuesday’s Minnesota Twins-New York Yankees game at the Metrodome. Earlier, when asked about his possible pitch selection, Smith quipped to the St. Paul Pioneer Press: “A Gopherball.”

mike.penner@latimes.com


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