The line stretches around a corner, filled with children and grown men, families, couples and solo travelers, Red Sox and Yankees die-hards.It winds through the MLB All-Star Clubhouse at FanFest in San Diego, carpeted with the logos of each ballclub and walled by jersey displays of modern stars -- Mike
The line stretches around a corner, filled with children and grown men, families, couples and solo travelers, Red Sox and Yankees die-hards.
It winds through the MLB All-Star Clubhouse at FanFest in San Diego, carpeted with the logos of each ballclub and walled by jersey displays of modern stars -- Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper -- and local legends (Tony Gwynn) alike.
But it's not the scenery the dozens in line are waiting to see. It's the figure sitting alone at a card table, wielding a Sharpie and a pile of books. All-Star officials cluster nearby, chuckling about how long the line is, but the woman behind the table pays no mind. Neither, for that matter, do the people waiting.
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This is no baseball legend they're hoping to get a glimpse of -- but it's about as close as you can get.
Sharon Robinson -- daughter of Jackie Robinson and bearer of his legacy -- beckons them to her table, one by one and two by two, with an "Aw shucks, get on over here" sort of wave. She's signing copies of her latest book, though that could hardly be considered hawking her wares -- the books are free, and she takes several minutes chatting with each person.
She stops for photos, and once they've passed by, folks eagerly inspect their phones' camera rolls for the result. They'll show the evidence to friends, coworkers, grandkids.
This, as far as they're concerned, is their link to baseball lore.
Sharon, 66, has devoted herself to carrying on the legacy of her father, who changed the course of history by becoming the first African-American to play Major League Baseball. She's now a consultant for Major League Baseball and head of the Breaking Barriers character education program, and she arrived at FanFest loaded with copies of her latest book.
Sharon is no stranger to writing about her father. She's the author of 10 books, including a biography of her father, a memoir of life growing up with him and several children's books, one of which, "The Hero Two Doors Down," was published in January.
The story is told from the viewpoint of a fictitious 8-year-old who hears rumors of an African-American family moving into his 1948 Brooklyn Jewish neighborhood. As it turns out, the family happens to be that of the Dodgers' newly minted history-maker, Jackie Robinson.
FanFest attendees could feel a similar connection to Jackie as Sharon passed through the concourse. When one young pin collector introduced himself, Sharon plucked the commemorative All-Star pin attached to her lanyard and handed it to him with a smile before continuing on through the San Diego Convention Center.
Only at FanFest.
Megan Zahneis is a reporter for MLB.com.