‘It meant a lot’: Jackie Robinson Museum visit leaves lasting impact on members of the Chicago White Sox

20 July 2023

Growing up, Jackie Robinson was everything to Touki Toussaint.

“The reason why I play baseball,” the Chicago White Sox pitcher told the Tribune on Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field.

Toussaint jumped at the chance to visit the Jackie Robinson Museum during the team’s trip to New York.

Toussaint and first-base coach Daryl Boston were among the White Sox contingent touring the museum before Tuesday’s game against the New York Mets.

“It’s kind of a humbling moment, hearing some of the sounds, being able to see his uniform — from ballcap to jersey, pants and cleats,” Toussaint said. “And seeing his broad jump (distance). That’s kind of crazy. I don’t think he gets enough credit for the athlete he was.

“But even the person, all he had to endure and go through. Kind of puts in perspective, we don’t really go through that much. It was definitely humbling and a good experience.”

According to its website, the Jackie Robinson Museum aims “to educate visitors about Jackie Robinson, the athlete, activist, patriot, entrepreneur and family man. To inspire those interested in the history of social change and the prescription for greater progress. (And) to challenge people of all ages to pursue a life of achievement and purpose.”

Boston has visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., and the Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh. He wanted to add the Jackie Robinson Museum to the list.

“It was a nice experience,” Boston told the Tribune on Wednesday. “I try to make it a point to go to all of the historical museums. I hadn’t been there before so I wanted to make sure that I got a chance to visit and hear the stories we’ve heard over the years. And pay homage to what he meant to the game.”

Visitors can view Robinson’s original bronze Baseball Hall of Fame plaque. But baseball is just part of the lessons.

“I liked the whole thing,” Toussaint said. “There’s a board that gives you Jackie Robinson’s timeline and real news going on. That was cool to see. There’s real stuff in the world going on and he’s still doing what he’s doing, winning Rookie of the Year and this is going on.

“That was dope to see.”

Boston reflected on Robinson’s lasting impact on and off the field.

“We knew the whole story about how Branch Rickey brought him in and signed him,” Boston said. “All the things he went through. To his college days at UCLA, how he was a track star, whatever he wanted to play he played and at the end of the day baseball chose him a little bit more than he chose baseball and the rest is history.

“The stance he took as a civil rights leader, the things he went through to support the message of Martin Luther King. He knew it was dangerous, but he felt it was important to be in the presence and stand by the side of Dr. Martin Luther King. That was a powerful message.”

One trip through wasn’t enough for Toussaint.

“He was my favorite player,” Toussaint said. “Just taking 1% of who he was and trying to instill that to myself. It meant a lot just to be there. I went back around just to see it by myself. It was a dope experience.”

Moncada progressing ‘really well’ in rehab

Manager Pedro Grifol said third baseman Yoán Moncada is “progressing really well” as he continues his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.

Moncada has been on the injured list since June 14 with lower back inflammation. Through Tuesday, he was 1-for-13 in his first four games with the Knights.

“His body feels really good,” Grifol said Wednesday. “We just have to get him in baseball shape. How long could that be, could be another four, five, six, seven games down there.

“We’re communicating with him. Now it’s about baseball shape and what he needs to have to come and perform here.”

Starter Mike Clevinger threw approximately 45 pitches during a simulated game Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field. Reliever Liam Hendriks threw 17 pitches in his stint.

First baseman Andrew Vaughn was not in Wednesday’s starting lineup after fouling a ball off his left foot in Tuesday’s game.

“Hit him right between the pad and the middle of his foot,” Grifol said. “Kind of got him pretty good so he’ll be off today. He is available to pinch hit.

“He’s limping around a little bit. If he had to play today, maybe he could. But we don’t need to go there.”


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