Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Chicago Cubs will visit the White House, home for a few more days to the nation’s first African American president. There is an unplanned poignancy there, and I’m reminded, almost immediately, of Dexter Fowler’s Game Seven home run in the World Series.

… you’re wondering how I get there from here.

When he stepped to the plate to open Game One of the 2016 World Series, Fowler became the first African American to wear a Chicago Cubs uniform in the World Series. Baseball’s color barrier was not broken until two years after the Cubs had last appeared in a World Series, and thus there was an extra layer of power to Fowler’s appearance. To be sure, the duration of that particular drought was tied more to the Cubs’ organizational ineptitude than to any kind of organizational opposition to African Americans. But the fact that some kind of first for an African American baseball player can still happen in 2016 is a reminder of what has come before, and what is yet to come.

And, because I love the Cubs and this World Series was magical, then I immediately think of Fowler’s dramatic leadoff home run in Game Seven. That, too, was a historic first: it was the first leadoff homer in World Series Game Seven history.

Shall we enjoy it? Let’s:

That was awesome.

Fowler, who has since signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, will be in Washington today to visit the White House with his World Series champion teammates. It shouldn’t be any other way.

And, to bring it back around to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, consider reading Dr. King’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ today., and consider that it was written on April 16, 1963 – almost exactly 16 years after Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.


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