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The same held true when he spoke to Horace Stoneham, president of the New York Giants, though he did give Stoneham enough reservations about his chances of playing that Stoneham cautioned a Florida newspaperman a few days later: "Jack hasn't said he would play with us, but he promised to give us a definite answer sometime around January 10"—or just about when his magazine article would hit the stands.
As late as last Saturday in California, Jackie was cautious. Asked about Willie Mays (who had been effusively optimistic about the aid and assistance he expected to get from Jackie as a teammate), Robinson avoided direct comment by stating: "The only thing I can say is that I'm very flattered that Willie Mays should even think I can help him.... Willie is a very intelligent baseball player and I don't think he can be helped by talking to me...."
So there was Robby, trapped off third, jockeying back and forth between the announcement of his trade to the Giants, and his signed contract to his new company, with his commitment to the magazine keeping him in the middle, as the ball does in a rundown. He nimbly avoided the tag of publicity until it was time to break for home; when he did, it was, as always, dramatic.
Now there will be tears from disappointed Giant fans (like Horace Stoneham) who had dreams of glory for 1957 and cheers from Dodger fans (like Jack Robinson Jr.) who can resume hating all Giants without reservation.
And there will be criticism of Robinson, even though he did what he had to do, but that's the way it always was, too.
Now it's over. And baseball will miss him in a way it has missed only a few, the nonpareils, the Ruths, the Cobbs, the Mattys.
BAD MARKS ON SATURDAY
WEIGHTS FOR 1957
One of the easiest things a Thoroughbred horse has to remember is that January 1 is his birthday. Owners of the previous season's 2-year-olds know this perfectly well, of course, but most of them look forward to the first of the year for a special omen which for over 20 years has raised the curtain on the annual drama of the 3-year-olds. The omen, for some bright, for others hopeful and for still others gloomy: publication by The Jockey Club's official handicapper of his Experimental Free Handicap weights. In the official language of turfdom, the weights represent the handicapper's gauge of the 3-year-old potential of the previous season's juveniles, based on their overall first-year performances. In plainer language, the list represents the personal opinion of a thoroughly knowledgeable horseman (for the last three years it has been Jimmy Kilroe and before him John B. Campbell) as to which horses have the best chance of winning such coming center-stage attractions as the Santa Anita Derby, Flamingo, Florida Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.
Jimmy Kilroe's list released this week shows no startling surprises. All alone at the top of the list with a highweight of 126 pounds is Calumet Farm's Barbizon, son of Polynesian out of a Bull Lea mare, winner of the fabulously rich Garden State last fall.