YOUNGSTOWN — The George Shuba and Jackie Robinson statue was unveiled this morning in Wean Park.
“A Handshake for a Century” commemorates the handshake between Robinson and Shuba after Robinson, a veteran of the Negro Leagues, hit his first home run in 1946 when they were teammates with the Montreal Royals of the International League.
Shuba, a Youngstown native, extended his hand to congratulate his teammate.
The Royals were the top farm club of the National League's Brooklyn Dodgers. One season later, Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier when he debuted with the Dodgers. Robinson was the first black player in the majors during baseball's modern era.
Herb Washington, one of the chairs for the Shuba-Robinson Commemorative Statue Committee, said Shuba's gesture transformed not only baseball but society in 1946.
“In an era marked by incredible racism and intolerance ... it was the right thing to do and it reflected George's upbringing here in Youngstown,” said Washington, a member of the world-champion Oakland Athletics in 1974.