Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nov. 5: Number 44

By Sylvia Gurinsky

To baseball fans, the number 44 has real significance. It's been worn by some of the very best, including Willie McCovey and Reggie Jackson.

And it played a role in one of the most memorable days in American history, April 8, 1974. That was the day Henry Aaron broke Babe Ruth's all-time home run record by hitting number 715. Aaron's uniform number was 44.

Aaron is African-American (as are McCovey and Jackson, incidentally). He broke Ruth's record through unyielding pressure, not just because of the sacredness of baseball records, but also because of the resistance of some Americans who didn't want to see that record broken by a black man. Aaron broke the record with class and grace.

Therefore, the fact that Barack Obama, the first African-American to be elected president of the United States, will be the 44th president of this nation seems appropriate. As a baseball fan, Obama will likely take time to think about that other number 44, and number 42, Jackie Robinson, just two of the many men and women who blazed the trail Obama has followed. Obama now blazes his own trail for many others, including women, Hispanics, Asian Americans and other Americans of different races, religions and creeds.

"Yes we can" is no longer just a campaign slogan. Yesterday, almost 64 million voters gave it a whole new meaning. And because of them, number 44, already important, took on a much greater significance.


Here's a link to the speech that brought the new president-elect into the minds and hearts of Americans; Barack Obama's speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention:

Last night went a long way toward turning red states and blue states back into the United States.

No comments: