Jackie Robinson-signed scorecard highlights new Lynchburg baseball exhibit

The exhibit will be open until June 3

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A new exhibit at the Lynchburg Museum is highlighting the history of baseball in the Hill City.

Of all the neat artifacts and pictures the exhibit features, one artifact stands out...a Jackie Robinson signed scorecard from a game he played in Lynchburg.

Randy Smith found the scorecard while helping clean out a neighbor’s house. Smith’s friend’s house was that of Robert Walter “Whirlwind” Johnson, a Lynchburg legend. Johnson was a prominent physician and community leader in the Hill City, but he is best remembered as the man instrumental to the integration of professional tennis.

Smith’s theory is someone in the Johnson household, perhaps even Whirlwind himself, kept the score at the ballgame and invited the Dodger’s six Black players to Pierce Street for a meal. Robinson, Campanella, the Dodgers’ Joe Black, and Braves’ Sam Jethroe could have autographed the card while there.

“I saw that it was a scorecard for a baseball game and that struck me as at least being interesting. As soon as I opened it...immediately knew what was going on, immediately knew that these were important signatures,” Smith said.

The scorecard’s exact history may never be known, but that isn’t the case for all of Cathy Dalton’s museum exhibits.

The history of professional baseball in Lynchburg is told in large part through exhibit photos and is well-researched thanks to Vince Sawyer.

“I was just absolutely amazed at how Lynchburg connects to so many places and so many people. It’s pretty special,” Dalton said.

Smith said his discovery belongs to the nonprofit Whirlwind Johnson Foundation, started by the late Johnson’s family. The foundation is loaning the scorecard to the Lynchburg Museum for its exhibit.

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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