Happy Jackie Robinson Day. This is one of my favorite Jackie Robinson cards.
If you're saying, "hey, that's not Jackie Robinson," then you need to look at backgrounds a little more closely.
To me, this card is definitely all about Robinson. It says that Robinson is looking over, holding up, the inspiration for, the reason for, the career of any minority pro baseball player, whether they're from this country or not.
Luis Vasquez, from that Dominican city that produced so many major leaguers, San Pedro de Macoris, never reached the majors. During a nine-year career, he made it as high as Triple A, both for the Dodgers in Albuquerque and the Braves in Gwinnett.
I'd love to know the how and why behind this photo. I know that the movie "42" used Chattanooga's old Engel Stadium to serve as Ebbets Field. The Lookouts were long gone from that stadium by 2013. But I found the following image from the Lookouts' AT&T Field, taken in 2014, for a stadium-touring blog.
Did Vasquez pose in front of that Robinson sign in the lower right? It looks like that could be it.
That bit of forethought by the photographer made for a terrific minor league card.
Vasquez last pitched in the Dominican Winter League in 2015. His career pitching record is 12-15 with a 5.28 ERA over 172 games pitched.
Professional baseball is a tough gig. Robinson knew that. But thanks to No. 42's debut 70 years ago today, anyone can make the big leagues provided they have the ability.
Robinson will be there in the background making sure that it happens.