A quiet moment in baseball history is being remembered in a statue honoring an Ohio native.

George Shuba, who was born and raised in Youngstown, stood on deck for the Montreal Royals on April 18, 1946, with Jackie Robinson at the plate. Robinson, playing in his International League debut, broke the color barrier in professional, minor league baseball that day. Almost exactly a year later, called up by Montreal’s parent club, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson would become the first black Major Leaguer in the 20th century.

The shunning, harassment and intolerance of Robinson – by fans, players, some teammates and managers – is well documented. But that very first day, in Jersey City, New Jersey, he was welcomed by one man.

Robinson, facing Jersey City left-hander Warren Sandel in the third inning, sent a fastball 340 feet over the left-field wall for a three-run home run.

Shuba watched, waiting, and did what you do on-deck: You congratulate your teammate. You shake his hand or, these days, pound forearms or high-five.

This page was last updated December 4, 2019 at 5:50 pm MST.

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