On Wednesday, a contestant Jeopardy missed what may be the easiest sports question ever: Who broke baseball’s color barrier?
When black athletes finally broke into baseball, famed as “America’s pastime,” it instantly became one of America’s most iconic cultural and historic touchstones. And as most Americans know, that athlete was none other than Jackie Robinson.
Host Alex Trebek read the question during Wednesday’s program: “One of the topics covered in a Major League Baseball course at Arizona State is this player who broke the color barrier in 1947.”
Contestant Xiaoke Ying, a student at USC, excitedly buzzed in and quickly answered “Babe Ruth.”
This happened on Jeopardy tonight.
Today is Jackie Robinson day.
This girl goes to USC
Babe Ruth?! Just how.. why 🏻♂️
— Dodgers Talk (@LaDodgersTalk) April 16, 2020
That, of course, is woefully incorrect. Babe Ruth is far from someone who could have broken any color barriers. Both of Ruth’s parents were of solid German ancestry, an ethnic group that was not excluded by Major League Baseball.
Granted, Ruth’s is one of the most famous names in baseball. It may even be a name known by most who otherwise know nothing about baseball.
But as to Jackie Robinson, he has achieved fame equal to Ruth’s for his fearless and courageous accomplishment in the face of extreme pressure against his place in Major League Baseball. His quiet determination and excellence at his craft became a model for all Americans.
Robinson became a baseball legend who’s jersey number 42 has been retired.
In the end, Ying went ahead and won the Jeopardy College Tournament Finals, despite her horrendous sports miscue.
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