Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

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Jack Roosevelt Robinson, born January 31, 1919 and died October 24, 1972, was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. When the Dodgers signed Robinson, they heralded the end of racial segregation in professional baseball that had relegated black playersto the Negro leagues since the 1880s. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

During his 10-year MLB career, Robinson won the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949—the first black player so honored. Robinson played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers’ 1955 World Series championship.

In 1997, MLB retired his uniform number 42 across all major league teams; he was the first professional athlete in any sport to be so honored. MLB also adopted a new annual tradition, “Jackie Robinson Day”, for the first time on April 15, 2004, on which every player on every team wears No. 42.

Robinson’s character, his use of nonviolence, and his talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation that had then marked many other aspects of American life. He influenced the culture of and contributed significantly to the civil rights movement. Robinson also was the first black television analyst in MLB and the first black vice president of a major American corporation, Chock full o’Nuts. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. After his death in 1972, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his achievements on and off the field.

Career

n early 1945, while Robinson was at Sam Huston College, the Kansas City Monarchs sent him a written offer to play professional baseball in the Negro leagues. Robinson accepted a contract for $400 per month. Although he played well for the Monarchs, Robinson was frustrated with the experience. He had grown used to a structured playing environment in college, and the Negro leagues’ disorganization and embrace of gambling interests appalled him. The hectic travel schedule also placed a burden on his relationship with Isum, with whom he could now communicate only by letter. In all, Robinson played 47 games at shortstop for the Monarchs, hitting .387 with five home runs, and registering 13 stolen bases. He also appeared in the 1945 East–West All-Star Game, going hitless in five at-bats.

During the season, Robinson pursued potential major league interests. No black man had played in the major leagues since Moses Fleetwood Walker in 1884, but the Boston Red Sox nevertheless held a tryout at Fenway Park for Robinson and other black players on April 16. The tryout, however, was a farce chiefly designed to assuage the desegregationist sensibilities of powerful Boston City Councilman Isadore H. Y. Muchnick. Even with the stands limited to management, Robinson was subjected to racial epithets. He left the tryout humiliated, and more than 14 years later, in July 1959, the Red Sox became the last major league team to integrate its roster.

Other teams, however, had more serious interest in signing a black ballplayer. In the mid-1940s, Branch Rickey, club president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, began to scout the Negro leagues for a possible addition to the Dodgers’ roster. Rickey selected Robinson from a list of promising black players and interviewed him for possible assignment to Brooklyn’s International League farm club, the Montreal Royals. Rickey was especially interested in making sure his eventual signee could withstand the inevitable racial abuse that would be directed at him. In a famous three-hour exchange on August 28, 1945, Rickey asked Robinson if he could face the racial animus without taking the bait and reacting angrily—a concern given Robinson’s prior arguments with law enforcement officials at PJC and in the military. Robinson was aghast: “Are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?” Rickey replied that he needed a Negro player “with guts enough not to fight back.” After obtaining a commitment from Robinson to “turn the other cheek” to racial antagonism, Rickey agreed to sign him to a contract for $600 a month, equal to $8,521 today. Rickey did not offer compensation to the Monarchs, instead believing all Negro league players were free agents due to the contracts not containing a reserve clause. Among those with whom Rickey discussed prospects was Wendell Smith, writer for the black weekly Pittsburgh Courier, who, according to Cleveland Indians owner and team president Bill Veeck, “influenced Rickey to take Jack Robinson, for which he’s never completely gotten credit.”

Although he required Robinson to keep the arrangement a secret for the time being, Rickey committed to formally signing Robinson before November 1, 1945. On October 23, it was publicly announced that Robinson would be assigned to the Royals for the 1946 season. On the same day, with representatives of the Royals and Dodgers present, Robinson formally signed his contract with the Royals.[97] In what was later referred to as “The Noble Experiment”,Robinson was the first black baseball player in the International League since the 1880s. He was not necessarily the best player in the Negro leagues, and black talents Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson were upset when Robinson was selected first. Larry Doby, who broke the color line in the American League the same year as Robinson, said, “One of the things that was disappointing and disheartening to a lot of the black players at the time was that Jack was not the best player. The best was Josh Gibson. I think that’s one of the reasons why Josh died so early—he was heartbroken.”

Rickey’s offer allowed Robinson to leave behind the Monarchs and their grueling bus rides, and he went home to Pasadena. That September, he signed with Chet Brewer’s Kansas City Royals, a post-season barnstorming team in the California Winter League. Later that off-season, he briefly toured South America with another barnstorming team, while his fiancée Isum pursued nursing opportunities in New York City. On February 10, 1946, Robinson and Isum were married by their old friend, the Rev. Karl Downs.

In 1946, Robinson arrived at Daytona Beach, Florida, for spring training with the Montreal Royals of the Class AAA International League. Clay Hopper, the manager of the Royals, asked Rickey to assign Robinson to any other Dodger affiliate, but Rickey refused. Robinson with the Montreal Royals in July 1946, the year before he was called up to the Majors

Robinson’s presence was controversial in racially segregated Florida. He was not allowed to stay with his white teammates at the team hotel, and instead lodged at the home of Joe and Dufferin Harris, a politically active African American couple who introduced the Robinsons to civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune. Since the Dodgers organization did not own a spring training facility, scheduling was subject to the whim of area localities, several of which turned down any event involving Robinson or Johnny Wright, another black player whom Rickey had signed to the Dodgers’ organization in January. In Sanford, Florida, the police chief threatened to cancel games if Robinson and Wright did not cease training activities there; as a result, Robinson was sent back to Daytona Beach. In Jacksonville, the stadium was padlocked shut without warning on game day, by order of the city’s Parks and Public Property director. In DeLand, a scheduled day game was postponed, ostensibly because of issues with the stadium’s electrical lighting.

After much lobbying of local officials by Rickey himself, the Royals were allowed to host a game involving Robinson in Daytona Beach. Robinson made his Royals debut at Daytona Beach’s City Island Ballpark on March 17, 1946, in an exhibition game against the team’s parent club, the Dodgers. Robinson thus became the first black player to openly play for a minor league team against a major league team since the de facto baseball color line had been implemented in the 1880s.[3]Robinson (holding bats) playing in Montreal

Later in spring training, after some less-than-stellar performances, Robinson was shifted from shortstop to second base, allowing him to make shorter throws to first base. Robinson’s performance soon rebounded. On April 18, 1946, Roosevelt Stadium hosted the Jersey City Giants’ season opener against the Montreal Royals, marking the professional debut of the Royals’ Jackie Robinson and the first time the color barrier had been broken in a game between two minor league clubs. Pitching against Robinson was Warren Sandel who had played against him when they both lived in California. During Robinson’s first at bat, the Jersey City catcher, Dick Bouknight, demanded that Sandel throw at Robinson, but Sandel refused. Although Sandel induced Robinson to ground out at his first at bat, Robinson ended up with four hits in his five trips to the plate; his first hit was a three-run home run in the game’s third inning. He also scored four runs, drove in three, and stole two bases in the Royals’ 14–1 victory. Robinson proceeded to lead the International League that season with a .349 batting average and .985 fielding percentage, and he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player. Although he often faced hostility while on road trips (the Royals were forced to cancel a Southern exhibition tour, for example), the Montreal fan base enthusiastically supported Robinson. Whether fans supported or opposed it, Robinson’s presence on the field was a boon to attendance; more than one million people went to games involving Robinson in 1946, an astounding figure by International League standards. In the fall of 1946, following the baseball season, Robinson returned home to California and briefly played professional basketball for the short-lived Los Angeles Red Devils.

In 1947, the Dodgers called Robinson up to the major leagues six days before the start of the season. With Eddie Stanky entrenched at second base for the Dodgers, Robinson played his initial major league season as a first baseman. On April 15, Robinson made his major league debut at the relatively advanced age of 28 at Ebbets Field before a crowd of 26,623 spectators, more than 14,000 of whom were black. Although he failed to get a base hit, he walked and scored a run in the Dodgers’ 5–3 victory. Robinson became the first player since 1884 to openly break the major league baseball color line. Black fans began flocking to see the Dodgers when they came to town, abandoning their Negro league teams.

Robinson’s promotion met a generally positive, although mixed, reception among newspapers and white major league players. However, racial tension existed in the Dodger clubhouse. Some Dodger players insinuated they would sit out rather than play alongside Robinson. The brewing mutiny ended when Dodgers management took a stand for Robinson. Manager Leo Durocherr informed the team, “I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fuckin’ zebra. I’m the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What’s more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded.”

Robinson was also derided by opposing teams. According to a press report, the St. Louis Cardinals threatened to strike if Robinson played and to spread the walkout across the entire National League. Existence of the plot was said to have been leaked by the Cardinals’ team physician, Robert Hyland, to a friend, the New York Herald Tribune‘s Rutherford “Rud” Rennie. The reporter, concerned about protecting Hyland’s anonymity and job, in turn leaked it to his Tribune colleague and editor, Stanley Woodward, whose own subsequent reporting with other sources protected Hyland. The Woodward article made national headlines. After it was published, National League President Ford Frick and Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler let it be known that any striking players would be suspended. “You will find that the friends that you think you have in the press box will not support you, that you will be outcasts,” Frick was quoted as saying. “I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don’t care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another.” Woodward’s article received the E. P. Dutton Award in 1947 for Best Sports Reporting. The Cardinals players denied that they were planning to strike, and Woodward later told author Roger Kahn that Frick was his true source; writer Warren Corbett said that Frick’s speech “never happened”. Regardless, the report led to Robinson receiving increased support from the sports media. Even The Sporting News, a publication that had backed the color line, came out against the idea of a strike.

Robinson nonetheless became the target of rough physical play by opponents (particularly the Cardinals). At one time, he received a seven-inch gash in his leg from Enos Slaughter. On April 22, 1947, during a game between the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies players and manager Ben Chapman called Robinson a “nigger” from their dugout and yelled that he should “go back to the cotton fields”. Rickey later recalled that Chapman “did more than anybody to unite the Dodgers. When he poured out that string of unconscionable abuse, he solidified and united thirty men.”

Robinson did, however, receive significant encouragement from several major league players. Robinson named Lee “Jeep” Handley, who played for the Phillies at the time, as the first opposing player to wish him well. Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese once came to Robinson’s defense with the famous line, “You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them.” In 1947 or 1948, Reese is said to have put his arm around Robinson in response to fans who shouted racial slurs at Robinson before a game in Boston or Cincinnati. A statue by sculptor William Behrends, unveiled at KeySpan Park on November 1, 2005, depicts Reese with his arm around Robinson. Jewish baseball star Hank Greenberg, who had to deal with ethnic epithets during his career, also encouraged Robinson. Following an incident where Greenberg collided with Robinson at first base, he “whispered a few words into Robinson’s ear”, which Robinson later characterized as “words of encouragement.” Greenberg had advised him to overcome his critics by defeating them in games. Robinson also talked frequently with Larry Doby, who endured his own hardships since becoming the first black player in the American League with the Cleveland Indians, as the two spoke to one another via telephone throughout the season.

Robinson finished the season having played in 151 games for the Dodgers, with a batting average of .297, an on-base percentage of .383, and a .427 slugging percentage. He had 175 hits (scoring 125 runs) including 31 doubles, 5 triples, and 12 home runs, driving in 48 runs for the year. Robinson led the league in sacrifice hits, with 28, and in stolen bases, with 29. His cumulative performance earned him the inaugural Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award (separate National and American League Rookie of the Year honors were not awarded until 1949).

Following Stanky’s trade to the Boston Braves in March 1948, Robinson took over second base, where he logged a .980 fielding percentage that year (second in the National League at the position, fractionally behind Stanky). Robinson had a batting average of .296 and 22 stolen bases for the season. In a 12–7 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 29, 1948, he hit for the cycle—a home run, a triple, a double, and a single in the same game. The Dodgers briefly moved into first place in the National League in late August 1948, but they ultimately finished third as the Braves went on to win the league title and lose to the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. Robinson in 1950

Racial pressure on Robinson eased in 1948 when a number of other black players entered the major leagues. Larry Doby (who broke the color barrier in the American League on July 5, 1947, just 11 weeks after Robinson) and Satchel Paige played for the Cleveland Indians, and the Dodgers had three other black players besides Robinson. In February 1948, he signed a $12,500 contract (equal to $133,016 today) with the Dodgers; while a significant amount, this was less than Robinson made in the off-season from a vaudeville tour, where he answered pre-set baseball questions and a speaking tour of the South. Between the tours, he underwent surgery on his right ankle. Because of his off-season activities, Robinson reported to training camp 30 pounds (14 kg) overweight. He lost the weight during training camp, but dieting left him weak at the plate. In 1948, Wendell Smith’s book, Jackie Robinson: My Own Story, was released.

In the spring of 1949, Robinson turned to Hall of Famer George Sisler, working as an advisor to the Dodgers, for batting help. At Sisler’s suggestion, Robinson spent hours at a batting tee, learning to hit the ball to right field. Sisler taught Robinson to anticipate a fastball, on the theory that it is easier to subsequently adjust to a slower curveball. Robinson also noted that “Sisler showed me how to stop lunging, how to check my swing until the last fraction of a second”. The tutelage helped Robinson raise his batting average from .296 in 1948 to .342 in 1949. In addition to his improved batting average, Robinson stole 37 bases that season, was second place in the league for both doubles and triples, and registered 124 runs batted in with 122 runs scored. For the performance Robinson earned the Most Valuable Player Award for the National League. Baseball fans also voted Robinson as the starting second baseman for the 1949 All-Star Game—the first All-Star Game to include black players.

That year, a song about Robinson by Buddy Johnson, “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?”, reached number 13 on the charts; Count Basie recorded a famous version. Ultimately, the Dodgers won the National League pennant, but lost in five games to the New York Yankees in the 1949 World Series.

Summer 1949 brought an unwanted distraction for Robinson. In July, he was called to testify before the United States House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) concerning statements made that April by black athlete and actor Paul Robeson. Robinson was reluctant to testify, but he eventually agreed to do so, fearing it might negatively affect his career if he declined.

In 1950, Robinson led the National League in double plays made by a second baseman with 133.  His salary that year was the highest any Dodger had been paid to that point: $35,000. He finished the year with 99 runs scored, a .328 batting average, and 12 stolen bases. The year saw the release of a film biography of Robinson’s life, The Jackie Robinson Story, in which Robinson played himself, and actress Ruby Dee played Rachel “Rae” (Isum) Robinson. The project had been previously delayed when the film’s producers refused to accede to demands of two Hollywood studios that the movie include scenes of Robinson being tutored in baseball by a white man. The New York Times wrote that Robinson, “doing that rare thing of playing himself in the picture’s leading role, displays a calm assurance and composure that might be envied by many a Hollywood star.”

Robinson’s Hollywood exploits, however, did not sit well with Dodgers co-owner Walter O’Malley, who referred to Robinson as “Rickey’s prima donna”. In late 1950, Rickey’s contract as the Dodgers’ team President expired. Weary of constant disagreements with O’Malley, and with no hope of being re-appointed as President of the Dodgers, Rickey cashed out his one-quarter financial interest in the team, leaving O’Malley in full control of the franchise. Rickey shortly thereafter became general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Robinson was disappointed at the turn of events and wrote a sympathetic letter to Rickey, whom he considered a father figure, stating, “Regardless of what happens to me in the future, it all can be placed on what you have done and, believe me, I appreciate it.”

Before the 1951 season, O’Malley reportedly offered Robinson the job of manager of the Montreal Royals, effective at the end of Robinson’s playing career. O’Malley was quoted in the Montreal Standard as saying, “Jackie told me that he would be both delighted and honored to tackle this managerial post”—although reports differed as to whether a position was ever formally offered.

During the 1951 season, Robinson led the National League in double plays made by a second baseman for the second year in a row, with 137. He also kept the Dodgers in contention for the 1951 pennant. During the last game of the regular season, in the 13th inning, he had a hit to tie the game and then hit a home run in the 14th inning, which proved to be the winning margin. This forced a best-of-three playoff series against the crosstown rival New York Giants. Jackie Robinson comic book, issue No. 5, 1951

Despite Robinson’s regular-season heroics, on October 3, 1951, the Dodgers lost the pennant on Bobby Thomson’s famous home run, known as the Shot Heard ‘Round the World. Overcoming his dejection, Robinson dutifully observed Thomson’s feet to ensure he touched all the bases. Dodgers sportscaster Vin Scully later noted that the incident showed “how much of a competitor Robinson was.” He finished the season with 106 runs scored, a batting average of .335, and 25 stolen bases.

Robinson had what was an average year for him in 1952. He finished the year with 104 runs, a .308 batting average, and 24 stolen bases. He did, however, record a career-high on-base percentage of .436. The Dodgers improved on their performance from the year before, winning the National League pennant before losing the 1952 World Series to the New York Yankees in seven games. That year, on the television show Youth Wants to Know, Robinson challenged the Yankees’ general manager, George Weiss, on the racial record of his team, which had yet to sign a black player. Sportswriter Dick Young, whom Robinson had described as a “bigot”, said, “If there was one flaw in Jackie, it was the common one. He believed that everything unpleasant that happened to him happened because of his blackness.” The 1952 season was the last year Robinson was an everyday starter at second base. Afterward, Robinson played variously at first, second, and third bases, shortstop, and in the outfield, with Jim Gilliam, another black player, taking over everyday second base duties. Robinson’s interests began to shift toward the prospect of managing a major league team. He had hoped to gain experience by managing in the Puerto Rican Winter League, but according to the New York Post, Commissioner Happy Chandler denied the request.

In 1953, Robinson had 109 runs, a .329 batting average, and 17 steals, leading the Dodgers to another National League pennant (and another World Series loss to the Yankees, this time in six games). Robinson’s continued success spawned a string of death threats. He was not dissuaded, however, from addressing racial issues publicly. That year, he served as editor for Our Sports magazine, a periodical focusing on Negro sports issues; contributions to the magazine included an article on golf course segregation by Robinson’s old friend Joe Louis. Robinson also openly criticized segregated hotels and restaurants that served the Dodger organization; a number of these establishments integrated as a result, including the five-star Chase Park Hotel in St. Louis.

In 1954, Robinson had 62 runs scored, a .311 batting average, and 7 steals. His best day at the plate was on June 17, when he hit two home runs and two doubles. The following autumn, Robinson won his only championship when the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series. Although the team enjoyed ultimate success, 1955 was the worst year of Robinson’s individual career. He hit .256 and stole only 12 bases. The Dodgers tried Robinson in the outfield and as a third baseman, both because of his diminishing abilities and because Gilliam was established at second base. Robinson, then 36 years old, missed 49 games and did not play in Game 7 of the World Series. Robinson missed the game because manager Walter Alston decided to play Gilliam at second and Don Hoak at third base. That season, the Dodgers’ Don Newcombe became the first black major league pitcher to win twenty games in a year.

In 1956, Robinson had 61 runs scored, a .275 batting average, and 12 steals. By then, he had begun to exhibit the effects of diabetes and to lose interest in the prospect of playing or managing professional baseball. Robinson ended his major league career when he struck out to end Game 7 of the 1956 World Series. After the season, the Dodgers traded Robinson to the arch-rival New York Giants for Dick Littlefield and $35,000 cash (equal to $329,137 today). The trade, however, was never completed; unbeknownst to the Dodgers, Robinson had already agreed with the president of Chock full o’Nuts to quit baseball and become an executive with the company. Since Robinson had sold exclusive rights to any retirement story to Look magazine two years previously, his retirement decision was revealed through the magazine, instead of through the Dodgers organization.

Robinson’s major league debut brought an end to approximately sixty years of segregation in professional baseball, known as the baseball color line. After World War II, several other forces were also leading the country toward increased equality for blacks, including their accelerated migration to the North, where their political clout grew, and President Harry Truman’s desegregation of the military in 1948. Robinson’s breaking of the baseball color line and his professional success symbolized these broader changes and demonstrated that the fight for equality was more than simply a political matter. Civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King Jr. said that he was “a legend and a symbol in his own time”, and that he “challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration.” According to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robinson’s “efforts were a monumental step in the civil-rights revolution in America … [His] accomplishments allowed black and white Americans to be more respectful and open to one another and more appreciative of everyone’s abilities.”

Beginning his major league career at the relatively advanced age of 28, he played only ten seasons from 1947 to 1956, all of them for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  During his career, the Dodgers played in six World Series, and Robinson himself played in six All-Star Games. In 1999, he was posthumously named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Robinson’s career is generally considered to mark the beginning of the post–”long ball” era in baseball, in which a reliance on raw power-hitting gave way to balanced offensive strategies that used footspeed to create runs through aggressive baserunning. Robinson exhibited the combination of hitting ability and speed which exemplified the new era. He scored more than 100 runs in six of his ten seasons (averaging more than 110 runs from 1947 to 1953), had a .311 career batting average, a .409 career on-base percentage, a .474 slugging percentage, and substantially more walks than strikeouts (740 to 291). Robinson was one of only two players during the span of 1947–56 to accumulate at least 125 steals while registering a slugging percentage over .425 (Minnie Miñoso was the other). He accumulated 197 stolen bases in total, including 19 steals of home. None of the latter were double steals (in which a player stealing home is assisted by a player stealing another base at the same time). Robinson has been referred to by author David Falkner as “the father of modern base-stealing”. I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me … all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.

Historical statistical analysis indicates Robinson was an outstanding fielder throughout his ten years in the major leagues and at virtually every position he played. After playing his rookie season at first base, Robinson spent most of his career as a second baseman. He led the league in fielding among second basemen in 1950 and 1951. Toward the end of his career, he played about 2,000 innings at third base and about 1,175 innings in the outfield, excelling at both.

Assessing himself, Robinson said, “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me … all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” Regarding Robinson’s qualities on the field, Leo Durocher said, “Ya want a guy that comes to play. This guy didn’t just come to play. He come to beat ya. He come to stuff the goddamn bat right up your ass.”

Resources

Who Was Jackie Robinson? by Gail Herman

As a kid, Jackie Robinson loved sports. And why not? He was a natural at football, basketball, and, of course, baseball. But beyond athletic skill, it was his strength of character that secured his place in sports history. In 1947 Jackie joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the long-time color barrier in major league baseball. It was tough being first- not only did “fans” send hate mail but some of his own teammates refused to accept him. Here is an inspiring sports biography, with black-and-white illustrations throughout.

I am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer

Jackie Robinson always loved sports, especially baseball. But he lived at a time before the Civil Rights Movement, when the rules weren’t fair to African Americans. Even though Jackie was a great athlete, he wasn’t allowed on the best teams just because of the color of his skin. Jackie knew that sports were best when everyone, of every color, played together. He became the first black player in Major League Baseball, and his bravery changed African-American history and led the way to equality in all sports in America.

This engaging series is the perfect way to bring American history to life for young children, providing them with the right role models, supplemementing Common Core learning in the classroom, and best of all, inspiring them to strive and dream.

A Picture Book of Jackie Robinson by David A. Adler

In April 1947, Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, and forever changed the history of sports. But it took more than talent for Jackie to reach the major leagues—his courage and determination helped him overcome unjust policies and racist backlash. 

From his early life in Georgia through his 1955 World Series victory and beyond, this account of Robinson’s life is an inspiring look at how one person can effect real change in the world.  Written in simple, narrative style and beautifully illustrated, this is a perfect introduction for young readers interested in baseball, history, and civil rights. 

An authors note acknowledges some of the other pioneers in desegregating baseball, and a timeline of important dates is included. 

For almost thirty years, David Adler’s Picture Book Biography series has profiled famous people who changed the world. Colorful, kid-friendly illustrations combine with Adler’s “expert mixtures of facts and personality” (Booklist) to introduce young readers to history through compelling biographies of presidents, heroes, inventors, explorers, and adventurers. These books are ideal for first and second graders interested in history or who need reliable sources for school book reports.

I'm the mom to Matthew, which we run and own Matthew's Kitchen. I'm 27 and studying to be a pastry chef. I love to cook and bake but my passion is in the pastry arts. Matthew is a 5 year old who began cooking when he was 1. Through the years he has not only gained valuable skills but has grown his palette. Together we want to share our passion for food with you and your family
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