"If you are ever put on the spot, just do the right thing and everything will work out fine."
- George "Shotgun" Shuba
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
- Jackie Robinson
"A Handshake for the Century"
The Moment That Inspired The Monument
When he made his 1947 debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson became the first African American player in modern Major League Baseball history. However, in preparation for that debut, he played the 1946 season as a member of the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers' top minor league affiliate. Given the oppressive racism and rigid segregation of the era, his presence wasn't warmly welcomed by many White players...both opponents and fellow teammates.
On April 18, 1946, Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Royals. In his second plate appearance of the game, he hit a 3-run home run. As he rounded the bases and headed for home, the two Montreal baserunners that scored ahead of him headed straight for the dugout, rather than waiting at home plate to congratulate him, as is the custom among teammates. As this was happening, Youngstown, Ohio native George "Shotgun" Shuba was warming up in the Montreal on-deck circle. Seeing the display of disrespect by his teammates, Shuba walked toward home plate, reached his arm out, and shook Robinson's hand as he crossed the plate. Having grown up playing on racially-integrated teams in Youngstown, he naturally viewed Robinson as a fellow teammate who deserved praise for his accomplishment. For George Shuba, it was a simple act and the right thing to do, a product of his Youngstown upbringing. The large press contingent on hand for the game, however, captured the moment and reported it to a world-wide audience, instantly transforming a simple gesture of congratulations and respect into an important symbolic moment in Civil Rights history.
The Robinson-Shuba monument's statue is based on the famous Associated Press photograph that immortalized the handshake event. The creation of sculptor Marc Mellon and the Bedi-Makky Art Foundry in Brooklyn, NY, the statue is cast in bronze and stands 7' above its base. Surrounding the statue's base is a circular region of red infield clay, with a tinted concrete representation of 3rd base and a 90' long running lane leading to it. LED lighting in the base illuminates the statue at night. A historical event and statue donor information display, plus seating for educational programs and personal reflection, complete the monument.
- The Robinson-Shuba Monument is located in Wean Park, between the Market Street bridge and the Covelli Centre, in Downtown Youngstown.
- The closest vehicular access is the Covelli Centre entrance, at the intersection of East Front Street and South Walnut Street.
- Free parking is available in the Covelli Centre/Wean Park parking lot, except during scheduled events.