Jackie Robinson wasn't just a historical player who broke the color barrier. He may have been the best in the game at what he did at the time. His exploits on the basepaths are legendary. I've only had the chance to see a ballplayer who was, without a doubt, the best in the game at the time I saw him. I've been a Phillies fan my whole life, and when I lived in Atlanta for law school, I tried to make it to Turner Field to see them whenever they were in town. During the Spring of 2010, I was in the midst of exams when the Phillies came to town, but Roy Halladay was starting one April evening and I knew I had to take this chance to see him. 2010 was a phenomenal year for Doc; he won the Cy Young, pitched a perfect game in Miami (which I secretly listened to on the radio during part of my youngest brother's high school graduation; sorry, Sam, but I was still really proud of you), and threw only the second no-hitter in playoff history that October against Cincinnati, which I remember being lucky enough to watch part of with my Dad after I moved to Dallas later that year.
I had a massive exam earlier that day that had turned by brain to jelly, and another one in two days that I had to study for, but I couldn't miss this chance. I packed up my backpack with all of my law school textbooks and a highlighter and lugged them to the stadium, getting a seat in the second deck above home plate with a perfect view. Between every inning I took out my books and crammed and highlighted my textbook until it was too dark for me to read. Doc was masterful; the Braves couldn't get anything going against him until the eighth inning, when they loaded the bases with one out. Charlie Manuel left him in, and Chase Utley made a brilliant diving stop to start an inning-ending double play and preserve a shutout. Doc completed a 2-0 masterpiece for the win, and I stayed on till the very end, thrilled that I'd seen a small part in what turned out to be the best pitcher of his generation's best year of his career. And the karma even rubbed off on the exam; two days later, I aced it.