Columnist Terence Moore participated in a live chat to help celebrate Jackie Robinson Day. Fans asked Moore his thoughts on Robinson's life, his personality, as well as Moore's thoughts on various teams playing today.
Terence Moore: Hi, everybody. I'm ready to begin this live chat. I began as a backup writer for the Big Red Machine during the 1970s for the Cincinnati Enquirer, covered the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's during the early 1980s for the San Francisco Examiner, and then I became columnist during my latter years in San Francisco along the way to do the same in Atlanta for a couple of decades that included the brutal and then the beautiful Braves.
5928noah: What is your favorite baseball team?
Moore: That's an interesting question. Growing up in South Bend, Ind., it was the Cubs -- the ones who were the greatest team in baseball history never to win anything.
Moore: Banks, Santo, Williams, Jenkins, Kessinger. Beckert. And then we moved to Cincinnati in the late 1960s for the start of the Big Red Machine. My allegiance switched in a hurry. So, it used to be the Cubs and then the Reds. Now, as a journalist, I pull more for good stories.
plixor84: Do you think that Royals can sustain their current pace throughout April and the rest of the season? I am not sure about the bullpen staying on the current pace. What are your thoughts?
Moore: This is sort of sugar-high start for the Royals. They'll fade after a while. With all of their noted young players, the original predictions will hold true -- and that is, they are about a year or two away from consistent significance. I will say that I'm stunned at how well Bruce Chen is pitching. I remember when he was a rising star with the Braves, but he looked more like a sinking bust. No more.
tonyminri: Why does Jackie get all the press as the first black? He wasn't the very first.
Moore: Well, Jackie WAS the first in the sense that nobody paid attention to the possibilities of an explosion of non-white players in the game until he came along with his dramatic and potent flair. As I'm writing today for MLB.com, his impact went way beyond baseball. He is MLK Jr., territory in so many ways.
punksroo: I've heard that Roberto Clemente's family wants his number 21 retired like Jackie's -- do you think they should?
Moore: I'm a huge Roberto Clemente fan. I saw him play many times, and he caused more than a few "wows" to come from my mouth. And he also was the most significant Latin player ever. That's because he dared to speak his mind when society dictated back then that Latins should keep their mouths shut, play and be grateful that they were allowed to do anything. That said, neither Clemente nor anybody else ever should be honored like Robinson. That's because what Robinson did was unprecedented at that time -- and for all time. Retiring somebody else's number would diminish the impact of what Robinson should stand for.
tonyminri: If I were Fleetwood Walker's family I might have an issue with it though.
Moore: Actually, you bring up a good point. For those who don't know, Moses Fleetwood Walker officially was the first black player when he was part of the Toledo pro franchise in the 19th century. Thus two of the problems: 19th century and Toledo. And baseball wasn't huge back then. It took the explosion of Babe Ruth and the 1920s to make it extremely visible. So more than a few things before that in the game is mostly a blur to anybody but historians.
Prodigy: Have you been watching Tulo? He's out of this world. Where do you think he'll rank among all-time shortstops?
Moore: You have to wonder if he can continue hitting with this much power as a middle infielder. Then again, he has been doing it since the end of last season. At this rate, he could rank with the Ripkens and the Larkins, if he keeps it up.
punksroo: What do you think about all the teams wearing No. 42 today?
Moore: Not a fan. I would prefer that baseball sticks to keeping Jackie's number retired and go from there. It's too much of a gimmick -- a gimmick that doesn't work.
aaronishr: What was the difference in Jackie Robinson as a person and a player -- from when he was doing as he was told to when he was able to play freely?
Moore: That's a great question, and all you have to do is look at Jackie post-baseball. He basically was a radical -- but in a good way. That was more his personality than the docile but strong guy we saw in the beginning.
Moore: I'll take a couple of more question, by the way. I see the clock is tick, tick, ticking away.
Prodigy: Do you think the Red Sox can bounce back this season?
Moore: No. The Red Sox are done. Mentally, if nothing else. They'll make a little run, but this is the Yankees world (again), and everybody else is just living in it.
tonyminri: Don't you feel he was hand-picked because of his attitude and he was not going to make waves? I've heard this about why it was him and not someone else Rickey picked.
Moore: Oh, no question he was picked because of his attitude. But people misunderstand Jackie. I'm telling you that if you read his autobiography, "I Never had it Made," you'll understand that he was much more than the guy folks saw on April 15, 1947. It's one of the greatest sports books ever, by the way.
luckydog7: What do you think was the most difficult part of Jackie Robinson's experience?
Moore: Easily, it was Jackie having to hide who he really was as an outspoken black man who hated to be disrespected.
jerman33: Hey Terence -- who do you think will win the AL east?
Moore: Theeeee Yankees win!
aaronishr: In your mind who is the most underrated retired player who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame?
Moore: Wow. If I had to pick one, I'm going with Fred McGriff. As is the case with the man himself, his numbers are quietly great.
mlbsrmp: If Landis hadn't been commish all those years, would integration have happened sooner?
Moore: Oh, it definitely would have happened sooner. Let's just say that history shoes that Landis wasn't exactly a fan of the Emancipation Proclamation.
mlbsrmp: What's the first time you remember hearing about Jackie Robinson?
Moore: All my life. I come from a huge sports family. Not only that, growing up in the highly eventful 1960s, all of the significant black leaders of that time were placed deep in our consciousness on a consistent basis.
Moore: Thank everybody for participating, and we'll do it again soon.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.