Before and After Jackie Robinson: A Story of the Brooklyn Dodgers Told Through the Lens of Tickets and Passes

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Issue No. 527 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting spotlights a colorful and massive book, Before and After Jackie Robinson: A Story of the Brooklyn Dodgers Told Through the Lens of Tickets and Passes, by “Ticketologist” Dan Busby. Fascinating! And this reminder: click here to download free resources from the 20 management buckets (core competencies), click here for over 500 book reviews, and click here for my new blog, Pails in Comparison (PIC), with shorter book reviews of his latest “PICs.”

View the 3-minute tribute to Jackie and Rachel Robinson at the 2022 MLB All-Star Game at Dodgers Stadium on July 19. (With cool graphics!) 

“Ticketologist” Dan Busby on Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers

“Chills!” That’s how fans described Denzel Washington’s tribute honoring the trailblazer, Jackie Robinson, at the 2022 MLB All-Star Game at Dodgers Stadium on July 19. It just happened to also be the 100th birthday celebration for Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel (she wore No. 42). 

Denzel Washington’s solemn salute to both Jackie and Rachel commemorated that monumental day on April 15, 1947, when Robinson broke baseball’s modern color barrier. Washington spoke of Jackie’s “supreme talent and unshakable character.” (See the three-minute tribute above.)

But there’s more to the Jackie Robinson story—more than you ever knew. So with impeccable timing, my good friend, Dan Busby, has just hit a homerun with his stunning hot-off-the-press book, Before and After Jackie Robinson, A Story of the Brooklyn Dodgers Told Through the Lens of Tickets and Passes.  


Baseball tickets?Yes. Remember the concept of actual tickets (before the turnstiles demanded proof on your digital device)? The New York Times recently asked Dan Busby what he thought about the transition to digital tickets. His response, “Save a tree, lose a memory.”

And the memories. Oh, my. As Busby showcases in his colorful stroll through Brooklyn’s baseball history, baseball tickets and passes are a unique and fascinating gateway into the cheers, jeers, fears, and more of Major League Baseball. Play ball! (And by the way, the 2022 MLB World Series begins on Oct. 28. The Los Angeles Dodgers are lookin’ pretty good!)

Before and After Jackie Robinson, however, creates a huge problem for me! The book is 400 pages (with hundreds of photos and images) and there’s so much I want to spotlight. Yet calling this gem a “book” is sorely inadequate. This full-color massive masterpiece is one-of-a-kind. You’ll give it a place of honor on your coffee table at home and your reception area at work. But I need a double-header eNews to do this review justice. Or maybe I can knock out a double or a triple—or even a few poignant bunts—to entice you to order the book. It’s absolutely fascinating! I had no idea!

[   ] T/F #1: Jackie Robinson’s achievements—against all odds—were many, including Rookie of the Year in 1947 and six-time All-Star in his 10-year career. He played in six World Series, including 1955 when the Brooklyn Dodgers won the Series. 
[   ] T/F #2. In 1947, sportswriter Tommy Holmes wrote, “Opening day has come and gone and nothing at all terrible happened because a colored man played in a big league lineup….” 
[   ] T/F #3. Jackie Robinson wore Number 42 (see the movie). “Number 42 is now the most celebrated number in baseball. Each year on April 15, every player in the Major Leagues wears 42 and no one wears it the rest of the year.” (That’s just one of 22 “Quotable Quotes” in the book’s introductory appetizers–or is it? True or False?)

Many of my readers will remember that Dan Busby served as ECFA’s president from 2008 until his retirement in 2020. But many will be surprised to learn that he’s also been a baseball memorabilia collector and researcher for over 60 years. He’s recognized as one of the premiere baseball “ticketologists.” 

BUSBY’S “TICKETOLOGY” RESEARCH delivers fascinating snippets and Dodger memorabilia on almost every page:

• Musical Depreciation Night? An upper grandstand ticket for Aug. 13, 1951, cost just $1.75. But free admittance was offered to any fan who brought a musical instrument for “Musical Appreciation (or Depreciation) Night.” Read more on page 269 to learn why the local musician’s union had issues with the Dodgers’ popular “Sym-Phony Band” and why the union “had threatened to throw a picket line around Ebbets Field.” (Will this tuba fit through the turnstile?)

• The Mystery of Norman Rockwell’s “The Three Umpires.” According to Busby, Norman Rockwell painted five covers for The Saturday Evening Post in 1949. (Lifetime, he painted 259 covers for The Post!) Yet Busby (aka Detective Busby!) surmised that the Dodgers-Pirates game at Ebbets Field that Rockwell depicted, featuring three umpires and impending rain, wasn’t quite accurate. Had Rockwell perhaps taken “poetic license” with the finer points of baseball? Busby wrote to Rockwell and the famous illustrator sent Dan a personal and gracious response on Dec. 1, 1970. (Norman Rockwell’s letter is featured on page 385.)

• Last Game at Ebbets Field. On page 375 is a ticket for Sept. 24, 1957—the Dodgers’ last game in Brooklyn. Organist Gladys Gooding, known sometimes to greet the umps with “Three Blind Mice,” had entertained the fans at Ebbets Field from 1942 through this final game. (Interestingly, the Dodgers had the first organ in MLB.)

In addition to narrating Dodger history—and MLB history—“through the lens” of the thousands of baseball tickets that Dan has collected over the years, Before and After Jackie Robinson is a chronological cavalcade of culture, history, leadership, management, the art of the deal, fundraising, real estate management, civil rights, the economy, advertising, finance, and so much more. (In 1919, a war tax was added onto U.S. professional sporting event tickets priced at 40 cents or more to help fund the $25 billion budget for World War I.)

10 LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES. Only Dan Busby could carve out 10 leadership principles (with commentary) in a book about baseball! He lists 10 favorites, including:

“Leaders know that fundamental decisions must always allow for the changes that inevitably come.” Busby adds, “When Ebbets Field in Brooklyn was constructed in 1912-13, Charles Ebbets made a major planning decision. He assumed transportation would always be by trolley in Brooklyn and/or he thought automobiles were just a passing novelty.” (Oops!)More leadership insights:
• “Leaders know that dwelling on negatives is counter-productive.” (In 1938, Larry MacPhail became the GM. “He joined a sinking ship.”)
• “Leaders keep their eyes on the goal during tough times.”
• “Leaders briefly enjoy honors but quickly return to accomplishing what will become their legacy.” (“Little did Jackie know that black parents would soon name their children, boys and girls, after him.” And this: “Babe Ruth changed the way baseball was played; Jackie Robinson changed the way Americans thought.”)
• “Leaders are willing to accept criticism.”
• “Leaders know that hearts can change.”
• “Leaders Innovate! Innovate! Innovate!” (Examples: Lights for night games and radio broadcasts with Red Barber.)
• “Leaders focus on big issues but they don’t ignore the small ones.”
• “Leaders take calculated risks.”

“Leaders recognize the power of God” is Busby’s tenth leadership principle. “More than a pastor to Jackie, [Rev. Carl Downs] became his close friend. With his help, Jackie understood that faith was not only about praying; it was also about struggling daily to overcome social injustices. Jackie started praying each night before he went to sleep. When he reached the Major Leagues, Robinson developed a nightly ritual of praying and kneeling at his bedside. ‘It’s the best way to get closer to God,’ Robinson said, and then he added with a smile, ‘and a hard-hit groundball.’”

Last year I resolved to venture out into the fertile fields of other disciplines (see my Mistake #3: “Reading Too Narrowly—Stuck in My Lane”) and while I so appreciate leadership and management insights, I’m becoming an enthusiast for a wider lifelong learning journey. Dan Busby’s book checks all of those boxes—and more! Play ball!

To order from Amazon, click on the title for Before and After Jackie Robinson, A Story of the Brooklyn Dodgers Told Through the Lens of Tickets and Passes, by Dan Busby.

BONUS BOOK! Dan Busby is also the author of Before and After Babe Ruth: A Story of the New York Yankees Told Through the Lens of Tickets and Passes (see below).  

1) Before and After Jackie Robinson features dozens of quotable quotes you’ll share with friends, including this one from announcer Harry Caray, following Game 7 of the 1955 World Series: “As if carrying a personal crusade, [Jackie Robinson] succeeded in breathing life into a Dodger team which from the start of this Series seemed destined for the embalmer.” While your organization probably preaches “There is no ‘I’ in team”—are you intentional about recruiting those gifted men and women who can be catalysts for breathing new life into your programs, products, and services? 

2) While baseball is serious business to many—it’s also highly entertaining and Before and After Jackie Robinson is loaded with memorable ideas for the Hoopla! Bucket. Abe Stark was 22 when he opened his clothing store. In 1924, his big sign in the outfield at Ebbets Field “…offered players a suit of clothes if they could hit the sign with a fly ball.” Many did! Does your organization have the right mix of fun and hoopla! for your team members and customers?

Before and After Babe Ruth
by Dan Busby
In the 1950s, Dan Busby began collecting World Series programs (the mail order company attached actual World Series tickets!). Inspired, Dan upped his game and in 1962 began collecting opening day tickets from every major league baseball team. This ticketologist now consults with the National Baseball Hall of Fame concerning memorabilia acquisitions. I tell friends, “Dan is in a league of his own—he’s a walking Wikipedia!”

Before and After Babe Ruth: A Story of the New York Yankees Told Through the Lens of Tickets and Passes (2018) is a gorgeous coffee table book that features baseball tickets and season passes on every page—and the remarkable colors, shapes, sizes, fonts, and advertising (yes—advertising was alive and well in the early 1900s) are outdone only by the page-turning narrative on owners, managers, players—Babe Ruth, of course—and Yankee and MLB history, in all its virtues and vices. You can’t put it down! Click here to read my review.

For more on Busby’s fascination with baseball, visit his Baseball Ticket Man website and his YouTube channel of short videos.
P.S. And for my fellow Chicago Cubs fans (I endured 21 winters in Chicago, but some wonderful days at Wrigley Field)—just a reminder that we won the World Series in 2016 (on my birthday!). Click here to read my review of The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse, by Tom Verducci. 


For the Umps and Us! Read Why We Argue and How to Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships, by Jerry Manney. The author’s counsel: “…practice not going to every argument you’re invited to.” Read John’s review on the Pails in Comparison blog

. Dan Busby writes that leaders “innovate, innovate, innovate!” If you’re singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” but no one’s coming—it may be time for fresh innovation.  We can help! contact Pearpod Media (Design, Digital, Marketing, Social).

© Copyright 2021. John W. Pearson All rights reserved.

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