The First of its Kind – Yankees Magazine to Publish Women’s Issue

April 21, 2011 – Later this summer, the New York Yankees will be publishing an issue of Yankees Magazine dedicated to women.

This commemorative issue is truly the first of its kind, as no other team has ever dedicated an issue of their official publication to women.

This magazine, which will be published in either August or September depending on other editorial factors, will lead off with a section about the women who have made an impact in the Yankees front office. That section will include a story about Yankees assistant GM Jean Afterman.

There will also be a feature story about the philanthropic work of the wives of so many of today’s Yankees players. I am writing one of the two sidebars that will accompany that piece, and it details the life of Rachel Robinson.

Rachel Robinson is Jackie Robinson’s widow, and she was a driving force in his career. I interviewed Mrs. Robinson last Friday at Yankee Stadium, prior to a Jackie Robinson Day pre-game ceremony.

I had never met Mrs. Robinson before the interview, and I was looking forward to our conversation. I left the interview with an even more profound respect for her than I had before we spoke. Mrs. Robinson is as smart as she is courageous, and her kindness is perhaps her greatest characteristic.

In the interview, Mrs. Robinson discussed many of the conversations she and her late husband had about his decision to enter Major League Baseball and break the color barrier.

“We talked at length about what it would mean in our lives and what it would mean to society,” Mrs. Robinson said. “But there was no decision that had to be made. We knew that we were going to move forward with it.”

Mrs. Robinson also talked to me about the ways she helped her husband cope with the tremendous level of racial discrimination he dealt with.

“I attended every game Jack played at Ebbits Field, because I wanted to see for myself what he had to endure,” she said. “We would talk about what happened each day on the way home. We didn’t want to have those conversations in front of our kids, so we really made the most of the car rides home.”

Since Jackie Robinson’s death in 1972, Mrs. Robinson, who was a psychiatric nurse for many years, worked diligently to create and grow the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The foundation provides four-year scholarships to disadvantaged students of color. To date, the foundation has provided more than 1,400 scholarships to hard-working students.

The Women’s Issue will also contain features on several people who have furthered the development of women’s sports. Some the people who are spotlighted in that section are Jennie Finch (former University of Arizona and U.S.A. Olympic team star softball pitcher), Mike Candrea (University of Arizona head softball coach), Danica Patrick (NASCAR driver) and tennis icon Billie Jean King.

I will write more about the Women’s Issue over the next few months, but for now, I will sign off with a very special thank you to the person who proposed the idea of this ground-breaking project to me – my wife Tiana. This is truly her brainchild, and I can’t wait to present her with the first copy of the issue.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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