Skip to main content

Jackie Robinson: The Story of an American Hero

Jackie Robinson, Dodgers, 1954

Photo by Bob Sandberg. Part of the LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection at the Library of Congress.

Photo by Bob Sandberg. Part of the LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection at the Library of Congress.

How a Baseball Player Changed the World

On April 15th, 1947, Jack Roosevelt Robinson stepped onto a baseball diamond in Brooklyn, New York.

That was a few years after African-American soldiers came home from defending America and freedom in World War II, only to discover they had to use "colored" restrooms, "colored" drinking fountains, "colored" barbershops and schools, and had to yield bus seats to whites. Many prestigious universities and colleges would not admit them, and they were barred from higher positions or offices in the workplace or in government.

Back then the father of Hank Aaron, future home run king of baseball, told his son that no black man would ever be allowed to play on a Major League team.

Jackie proved the naysayers wrong seven years before a brave young woman named Rosa Parks decided she wasn't going to give up her bus seat just because of her skin color.

There were a lot of courageous African-Americans -- and some non-blacks too -- who risked jail, verbal or physical attacks, police brutality, even murder to stand up and say, "No more; we're not going to let America off the hook until it lives up to its own ideals of liberty and justice for all!"

But Jackie Robinson led the way years before the civil rights movement caught fire, both by example and by what he did not do: lose his cool, retaliate against his tormentors in kind.

Jackie Robinson, #42, Brooklyn Dodgers

Jackie Robinson, 1919-1972.

Jackie Robinson, 1919-1972.

A month before his murder, Martin Luther King Jr. said to Don Newcombe, one of Jackie's later teammates:

"Don, you and Jackie will never know how easy you made my job, through what you went through on the baseball field."

I wasn't alive back then. I heard about this incomprehensible time -- of segregation, of prejudice, of hate -- from my parents and my grandfather, a Jew whose synagogue provided escort service to blacks to help them get past other whites trying to stop them from voting at the polls.

Sixty years later, I heard thoughtful people asking whether the country was ready for a black president. It's hard to believe that it was still a question. America's resounding answer, "Yes, we are," was reassuring — perhaps falsely reassuring, in light of the racial profiling, discrimination, and other grim signs that we still haven't entirely cleared away the unjust legacy of slavery and segregation.

So it's worth remembering what Jackie Robinson endured and the lesson he taught America.

A life is not important,

except in the impact

it has on others' lives.

— Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson comic book, pub. 1951, copyright not renewed.

Jackie Robinson comic book, pub. 1951, copyright not renewed.

Breaking the Color Barrier

In the 1940s, baseball was America's Pastime. Not basketball. Not football. Not golf. It represented America, democracy and apple pie. Many more people followed baseball. It was linked to American pride-- and being white.

Blacks were playing baseball too, but they were in the Negro Leagues, followed and loved by blacks, ignored or mocked by almost everyone else. There were some fine players on those teams, and players like Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron had their start in them.

Baseball Commissioner Landis opposed integration, but he died in 1944. At that time, Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, launched his Great Experiment. He was committed to breaking the color barrier. He was also no fool -- he knew there was amazing talent in the Negro Leagues waiting to be tapped. So he looked for a skilled African-American ballplayer who would also be able to handle the prejudice, pressure, and hype.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was his man. At UCLA, he'd been the first student ever to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. Then he'd signed with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues. Now, Branch Rickey gave him a challenge even greater than succeeding as a pro athlete: he must subject himself to nationwide hatred on and off the field, and he mustn't fight back.

If a player punched him or spiked him with cleats, or pitched a baseball at his head that might kill him, he couldn't respond. If a ump made an unfair call, he couldn't respond. If hotels refused to house him with his team, if teams protested his presence on the field or cancelled games to avoid him, he couldn't respond. If the papers vilified him, he couldn't respond. If spectators cursed him or ordered him to shine their shoes or threw black cats onto the field, he couldn't respond. If he got death threats pinned inside his locker, or if his wife was harassed in the stands, he couldn't respond.

All those things happened.

Nevertheless, Jackie Robinson won the first-ever Rookie of the Year award, and began a ten-year Hall of Fame career that brought the Dodgers their first World Series championship. He won respect by proving he was a skilled professional, shaming those who attacked him. His dignity was a weapon. So was his talent.

He showed America why racism was idiotic and unjust.

Hall of Fame Broadcaster Red Barber Discusses Own Prejudice

Scroll to Continue

Jackie Robinson, Hall of Famer

After three years, as per his agreement with Branch Rickey, Jackie stopped turning the other cheek. He was finally allowed to defend himself when players or spectators vented their hate on him. He taught America something then, too: it was right and proper for a black (or any target of discrimination) to be angry and speak out.

In a saner world, his skin color wouldn't be the first thing we'd know about him; we'd just remember him as a famous athlete. His original Hall of Fame plaque gives a snapshot of his achievements: NL Rookie of the Year, NL Batting Champion, 6-time All-star with a .311 lifetime batting average. By all accounts, those bare statistics don't do justice to his speed, his agility, his maddening ability to wear out the defense with his cat-and-mouse baserunning. Several teammates have remarked that when the abuse on the field started to bother him, Jackie would make opponents pay by kicking it up a notch, stealing a base, or making some phenomenal play.

His uniform number, 42, was retired by the Dodgers in 1972. You can see the 42 sign from anywhere in Dodger Stadium, distinguished from the numbers of other Dodger greats by its color. I'm not sure whether that's ironic or appropriate.

Jackie Robinson Inducted into Hall of Fame

Branch Ricky, Jackie Robinson, Rachel Robinson (wife), Mallie Robinson (mother), Hall of Fame, July 23, 1962. Photo by G. Marshall Wilson.

Branch Ricky, Jackie Robinson, Rachel Robinson (wife), Mallie Robinson (mother), Hall of Fame, July 23, 1962. Photo by G. Marshall Wilson.

Jackie Robinson's Letter to Eisenhauer

Jackie Robinson writes to the president of the United States demanding action on civil rights. (Click link to read letter.)

Jackie Robinson writes to the president of the United States demanding action on civil rights. (Click link to read letter.)

Civil Rights Leader

After retiring, Jackie was briefly a GM in the short-lived Continental Football League, then became VP of a company, Chock Full o' Nuts, whose products were well-known to frequenters of baseball stadiums.

He continued to promote his nine core values: courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment, and excellence. He funded and ran several businesses and encouraged black entrepreneurs, he spoke out and wrote articles on civil rights, and he defended men targeted by the so-called House Un-American Activities Committee that was in retrospect a most un-American activity.

Tragically, Jackie Robinson died in 1972, only 53 years old. In the following year his widow, Rachel Robinson, a professional nurse and Yale professor, founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation to provide college scholarships, mentorships and professional internships for minority youth.

Spotlight: Jackie Robinson's Biography - By Rachel Robinson

Jackie Robinson Day

Jackie Robinson Day - MLB honors 60th anniversary

On April 15, 1997, 50 years after Jackie Robinson first stepped onto Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn, #42 was retired from Major League Baseball, a unique honor for a unique baseball player. Ten years later, Ken Griffey Jr asked MLB Commissioner Selig if he might wear #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. Selig declared that any player could wear the number on that day to honor a great man, and teams rushed to create special uniforms for the occasion. On some teams, one player wore 42. On others, everyone did. At the Dodgers/Padres game, all the Dodgers wore 42 minus their own names, and Hank Aaron observed that #42 was as great as ever, stealing bases, driving in runs, and playing great defense.

In 2008, many more players proudly donned Jackie's uniform. A new tradition in the tradition-minded annals of baseball seems to have caught everyone's imagination. On Jackie Robinson's day, all races, dozens of nationalities are proud to wear a number that has come to symbolize, literally, that all men are created equal.

Jackie Robinson Day Celebrations

April 16, 2013, Baltimore Orioles honor Jackie Robinson.

April 16, 2013, Baltimore Orioles honor Jackie Robinson.

Vin Scully Tells of Death Threats

Vin Scully Remebers Jackie Robinson, April 15, 2009

Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, a hall of famer for his silver voice who is celebrating his 61st year broadcasting all the Dodgers' home games, tells stories on Jackie Robinson Day about his own memories of "Jack" or "Jackie."

On April 15, 2009, Vin talked about Jackie's fire, determination, and anger, how it didn't come naturally for him to turn the other cheek. Vin said that when he got irked by things said or done to him, he'd steal second, then third, then home. After a while, other players who didn't approve of him were nonetheless warning each other not to harass him, because he'd make their team pay.

Vin told a story about a winter outing with Jackie and Rachel. The Robinsons had moved to Brooklyn from Pasadena, and had never been ice skating before. Jackie was "walking on his ankles," as Scully put it. Immediately Jackie challenged him to a race. Paraphrasing Scully from memory:

And I said to him, "But, Jack, you're from California. You don't know how to skate."

Then he got that look in his eye. "I know," Jack said. "But that's how I'll learn."

Jackie lost that race, but that's the kind of man he was.

Vin talked about a game in Cincinnati where Jackie had received death threats, saying he'd be shot if he stepped onto the field. FBI sharpshooters were brought in to monitor the game from the roofttops. There was an anxious team meeting before the game. Finally one player jumped up and said, "I've got it! I know what to do!" Everyone waited for his brilliant plan. "We'll all wear 42; then they won't know which one's Jackie!" The tense moment was broken up with laughter.

As VIn said, "Little did we know, someday it would come true."

Everybody Wears 42

Seattle, Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, 2012.

Seattle, Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, 2012.

Jackie Robinson Tribute Video - Clips and images of Jackie Robinson

The end of this video shows Jackie shortly before his death giving a speech saying that he's pleased to have been nominated for an award (I can't remember which), but he would be more pleased when he saw a black man in standing in a coaching box.

That has come true, and there are now black managers, coaches, and team owners, but to this day some racial disparity in baseball remains.

Jackie Robinson Steals Home in '55 World Series

It's Jackie's most famous (and controversial) steal.

Catcher Yogi Berra still maintains that on this occasion -- one of 19 times Jackie stole home -- the ump blew the call. But many baseball experts agree this is the greatest steal in baseball history. It's hard to steal a base when everyone knows you're going to make the attempt. Also, it was the World Series!

Here's an ESPN video of Jackie stealing home: did he or didn't he?

Poll: Jackie at the '55 World Series

MLB Homage to Jackie Robinson (Narrator: Vin Scully)

Please share this page so that more people can learn Jackie Robinson's amazing story!

Jackie Robinson Movie: "42"

© 2007 Ellen Brundige

Guestbook and Jackie Fan Mail

nidhi vyas on October 13, 2015:

like government jobs in other states.government jobs in punjab also offering jobs role in various public sector and state government Government jobs preventing the people's life in India. And it regulates the economic growth of India.government jobs in punjab offering both state and central government jobs

Jessica T. Kim on March 04, 2015:

Hello Interns,

Brain Software House is a full service mobile App and custom software

developer, located in the heart of London. We have considerable

experience in mobile and game development.

We are looking for Android and App Development Interns for our business. No strict requirements. Every intern is welcomed here. Don’t hesitate to apply here.



Skype: muhammad.faheem725

Thank you,

Assistant adviser,

Brain Software House Pvt Ltd,

Jessica T. Kim

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on May 03, 2014:

@Wednesday-Elf: (Thank you for the review, so good to see a friendly face when I've been away!)

I'm kicking myself for not seeing that movie in the theater. With your recommendation and Rotten Tomatoes, I really MUST hunt it down and watch. And how wonderful to meet a new generation getting exposed to and helping bring to life the history of the Negro Leagues!

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 30, 2014:

This marvelous lens tribute to Jackie Robinson has been featured today on the "Review This" blog as part of 'April Baseball'. :)

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on April 30, 2014:

Wow! What a wealth of information! I, of course, had heard of Jackie Robinson, but had never really read a lot about him until today.

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on April 16, 2014:

What a wonderful Tribute to one of Americas Heroes Thanks for writing this :)

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 15, 2014:

Hi Greekgeek. The year has rolled around to April 15th once again and I'm back to help you celebrate 'Jackie Robinson Day'. Since my last visit, I have seen the movie "42" ... and loved it. As my brother & I were leaving the theater, we met a couple and their teenage daughter and discovered the teenager was in the movie, in a crowd scene in the stands cheering for Jackie when he played for the Negro leagues. She said she thoroughly enjoyed being in a movie about Jackie Robinson, someone she so admired.

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on April 15, 2013:

@Wednesday-Elf: And I think of you, fellow baseball aficionado.

I'm listening to Vin Scully on the radio right now, covering yet another Dodgers game, once again reminiscing about Jackie. Vin started broadcasting all the Dodgers games 3 years after Jackie started, and they became friends, so Vin's got a lot of wonderful stories to tell about him.

Vin always reminds us that beyond the ordeal he had to go through fighting prejudice, Robinson was just an all-around excellent athlete and a skilled competitor. (Which was why Rickey selected him: he had to find a guy who could prove the naysayers wrong with his obvious talent, skill, and success on the field.)

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 15, 2013:

Every April 15th I have to return to help you honor #42, as all of baseball does today, and thank you once again for this marvelous tribute to Jackie Robinson!

CaztyBon on April 06, 2013:

I really enjoyed reading about Jackie Robinson, I learned a lot more about his situation. Thank You

anonymous on March 10, 2013:

So great, Jackie Robinson is a real hero to breaking the colored barrier.

pawpaw911 on September 29, 2012:

His story is an important story. Well told.

williemack58 on April 28, 2012:

Thank you for this informative flashback of this American Hero. It is amazing how through the struggles he maintained his dignity, integrity and made it home, safe.

brumot on April 28, 2012:

From this baseball AND Dodger fan, great job here. What a guy that JR.

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on April 28, 2012:

@Zhana21: Thanks very much! Actually, this *was* Lens of the Day... about five years ago!

Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on April 28, 2012:

I really enjoyed this lens. What an amazing person and player he was. Good reminder of the road that he helped to pave for the great players of my own generation.

Zhana on April 28, 2012:

I have nominated you for Lens of the Day.

MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on April 27, 2012:

For sure, what a great baseball player, man and hero. I loved learning about him in school. Thanks for such a great lens that told us all much more about him. I am sharing!

Rosaquid on April 27, 2012:

Thanks for the lens. I enjoyed it and selected it for my "Babe Ruth" quest.

He certainly was a remarkable man.

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on April 22, 2012:

@Wednesday-Elf: Aww. Thank you so much!

Vin's back... in fact, his first broadcast in over a week was Jackie Robinson Day! (I was at the park, but came home to replay the game on afterwards...ah, technology.) It was a bad cold, but he seems to have recovered finally. At his age, we can't help but worry.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 22, 2012:

I like to get by this special page every April 15th to help you celebrate 'Jackie Robinson Day', but I was in the midst of a move from St. Louis to Savannah, GA this year. I was thinking about you & Jackie, though.

I see where Vin Scully has been out ill. Hope he's back in the broadcast booth soon.

Rose Jones on April 21, 2012:

Wasn't he something? He changed the world for the better, that is for sure.

elibenporat on April 20, 2012:

Baseball did the right thing retiring his Jersey. I think it's fantastic that Mariano Rivera (another truly classy player) still shares his number.

anonymous on April 01, 2012:

Thank you for sharing this amazing story

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on April 01, 2012:

I just had to come back and see this lens again, since it's April. What a role model, this man. Happy April Fool's Day!

anonymous on March 08, 2012:

Good resource for Jackie Robinson info, although I think he should have been called out at home on the steal.

HandmadeBaseballGloves on February 10, 2012:

Iâm doing research on Jackie and I found your site invaluable.


anonymous on February 03, 2012:

An exceptional lens about an exceptional person and baseball player. Jackie changed baseball, and this country for the better.

jimmyworldstar on January 25, 2012:

Amazing lens. He went through so much alone, through so much abuse and rose above it all to prove how much of a great ball player he was regardless of the color of his skin.

TheBaseballCoach on November 18, 2011:

What a great tribute to one of the best ever

hughgrissettsr lm on November 10, 2011:

superb lens! recently read the history of blackball.

gypsyman27 lm on November 02, 2011:

This is a wonderful tribute to a man that in addition to being a baseball great had great patience. He would endure some of the worst taunts ever from people that came to watch the game. He did so with patience and dignity. I don't think I could have done as well. Thank you for helping everyone remember this great man. See you around the galaxy...

Chazz from New York on August 15, 2011:

Y E S ! FAN-tastic! Blessed on the Squid Angels Epic Back To School Bus Trip Quest.

JeremiahStanghini on April 15, 2011:

A true HERO, not just baseball hero. :-)

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 15, 2011:

Being 'Jackie Robinson Day 2011, I'm stopping back by to say once again what a wonderful tribute to a great man you have presented here. Play Ball!

FlynntheCat1 on April 15, 2011:

Wow. I'm impressed. I'm also filing this under 'somewhere to send students next time they ALL coming looking for the same few books on Rosa Parks for a Civil rights assignment because that's the only name they know about'

So this has been WELL worth my time :D

anonymous on October 24, 2010:

Jackie truly was a great American hero. For what he went through and to come out with his pride and his dignity still intact is proof as to what a person he was. Baseball has a lot to thank him for.

Wanda Fitzgerald from Central Florida on October 14, 2010:

You've put together a wonderful tribute to an American baseball hero.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 16, 2010:

Greekgeek, I thought about you and this, your wonderful tribute to Jackie Robinson, yesterday during the 2010 Jackie Robinson Day. I really enjoyed your lively 'discussions' on my baseball memories story. There's nothing I like better than 'talking' baseball!

Although the ultimate way to watch a baseball game is 'in person, at the stadium', that's not very often feasible, so I spend a lot of time watching ball games on TV. One of my favorite things is listening to baseball sports announcers share little tidbits and facts about baseball. Yesterday, while every player on every team was wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, I learned that when that proclamation was begun, any player currently wearing #42 was 'grandfathered' in, being allowed to wear the Number 42 until their retirement. Mariano Rivera, closing pitcher for the Yankees (and my very favorite pitcher) is the last remaining baseball player still wearing #42. Last night Rivera came into the game late in the 9th inning, and got the final out for the Yankees' win -- very appropriate for Jackie Robinson Day!

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 05, 2010:

Came back to tell you I've now written two baseball-related lenses and have set my charity donation percent on both to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. It's really a worthwhile cause.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on March 19, 2010:

This is one of the best written baseball stories on Squidoo. With the 2010 baseball season about to begin and Jackie Robinson Day coming up, I am including this page as a featured lens on my new baseball lens "Crazy About Baseball". Excellent presentation.

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on November 28, 2009:

@Spook LM: Ah, thank you! This lens doesn't get much traffic, but it always makes me feel good when I can share this story with a few more people -- and I always like to see if i can get this lens up in tier 2 so it's earning a little more for the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Its monthly earnings aren't much, but every little bit helps.

Spook LM on November 28, 2009:

Love people like this, always have and always will. I think there is good and bad in all cultures, it just depends on who you wish to follow. Blessed by an Angel.

Cash_Flow on July 03, 2009:

Its very inspiring.. A legend worth to be remembered.

cjm2000 on July 01, 2009:

Jackie Robinson really taught us a lesson don't overcome evil with evil but overcome evil with good!

kaibigan on June 20, 2009:

An excellent analysis of the racial situation during that time and Jackie Robinson's exploits and achievements. Keep up the excellent work.

Stephen Carr from Corona, CA on June 14, 2009:

Not sure if I have been here before. Terrific lens. What a great job. Being a life-long Dodger fan, Jackie was known to me from a very young age. I remember when I saw him on TV in about 1970. Even though I was young, I knew the ordeal that he had gone through had aged him way beyond his years. And he was gone a couple years later. This man was truly a modern day martyr for all black athletes. He carried such a heavy burden with such humility.

ozau on May 30, 2009:

Too bad the people today don't understand that the fight for true freedom is still here in the home land with deeds and actions such as Jackies and not on distant shores making money for the industrialist war mongers.

RichW1 on May 17, 2009:

THIS is what I call a great lens!! Robinson was a great inspiration to black and whites in the '50's when I was a kid in the deep South. Excellent work!!

Definitely 6 stars if they were available. :)

downtown35 on May 17, 2009:

One of the great blessings of my life was the day that I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Mr.Robinson and his family at their home in Stamford CT.

I was just a boy at the time but the experience has had a profound effect on my life.The amazing thing though is that I know Mr.and Mrs.Robinson,who took the time to invite a boy whom they did not know ,into their home,had to know that what they were doing would have the kind of effect on the mind of a young black child for the rest of his life.

Yes, that meeting and the afternoon spent at the Robinson's home,changed my life.I can't really explain how or why but I know that I thought of myself differently after that day.

The inscription on Mr.Robinson's gravestone reads"A life is not important except for the impact that it has on other's lives" Mr.Robinson didn't just say those words...he lived them and I am a living testimony to that.

To honor Mr.Robinson for the impact he had on me and our country,I named my only child,Robinson.

anonymous on May 16, 2009:

really good information here. Thanks for sharing!

DaniiOfOz on May 15, 2009:

Your lens is inspiring and a wonderful tribute to Jackie Robinson

Gripandflip on May 15, 2009:

As a sports nut I thought this was great information and eye opening. Thanks.

Annie McMahon from New Jersey on May 14, 2009:

Jackie Robinson is amazing, and so is your lens! I would give you 6 stars if I could. :)

trends12 on May 13, 2009:

wow, so much information I didn't know about someone so great.

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on May 13, 2009:

[in reply to Clairejr] Yep! That's the Jackie Robinson Story movie I've got a special link to (the big block in blue) just above my "Rare Game Footage" video. I'll have to check out your link, though... it'd be interesting to have it embedded on this lens instead of just linking to it, if I can!

anonymous on May 13, 2009:

Thanks for this lens - great information. There's a great movie about Jackie that stars him - "The Jackie Robinson Story." It's in the public domain and can be watched on Google:

It shows both Jackie's and Branch Rickey's courage and determination.


anonymous on May 11, 2009:

A true American hero and inspiration to us all.

Lonskis on May 11, 2009:

A very special lens. As you mentioned although the chains have been cast off, there is still healing to do, lenses like this go along way to help us all move forward.

Sexy-Halloween-Costumes on May 07, 2009:

I can only reiterate what others have said and what you must well know yourself by now . . . you've "done Jackie Robinson proud."

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on April 30, 2009:

[in reply to Lori_Lee-Ray] Wow! And you just made my day! There have been many great and kind comments on this lens, but I gotta hand it to your Nanny. I hope I make it to my last game at 87!

Lori Lee-Ray on April 28, 2009:

Great lense! I read it to my grandmother, who is 92 and an avid baseball fan. She's gone to all of her grandkids games and almost all of her great-grandkids' games. She went to her last game at the age of 87. She remembers when Jackie Robinson started! Great work, thank you for sharing! "That just made my day!" (what Nanny said after I read it to her)

Eklectik1 on April 26, 2009:

We love baseball and it's history. Thank you for a great lens!

ANJHAMBROOK LM on April 24, 2009:

A very big truth. I have learnt something today , Thankyou

papawu on April 24, 2009:

I believe he was a phenomenol example of what one man can do to impact the world around him. By no means did he do it by himself, but he sure left his mark in history and baseball. Well done and a great read.

anonymous on April 18, 2009:

Congratulations! LOTD!

I am sooooo over the moon happy for you!

Miguelito203 on April 18, 2009:

I'm not that into baseball, but as an African American, this makes me really proud! Absolutely fantastic job! 5 stars, favored, and bookmarked! You should do more. Roberto Clemente would be an interesting one, especially being that he was a black Latino. Once more, great job! Keep up the good work! Thank you!

ForexHelpDesk on April 18, 2009:

Really good looking lens.

Smitty from Arizona on April 17, 2009:

I love this lens; what a beautiful story...

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on April 17, 2009:

[in reply to Evelyn_Saenz] Evelyn-- isn't that a great picture?! It shouldn't matter what people look like, but I have to admit, I look at that photo of Jackie and Rachel and their son and go, "Wow, what a beautiful-looking family." Rachel's still beautiful, too-- a fine looking silver-haired lady now, still sharp and smart. (Some of the Jackie Robinson Day photos in my gallery show her.)

DragonFlyGreen -- I never used to like sports either, so I hear ya! But Jackie's story is so much more than baseball, as you see. I'm not African-American, so I can only admire him as a fellow American. I'd be glad if this page can give some African-Americans a special feeling of pride and a bit more of a sense of what happened to get us where we are today.

In some ways I'll be GLAD when African Americans can't really imagine what Jackie went through for them... it will show we live in a different world! But we should still remember. And alas, we haven't realized MLK's dream yet. But we're closer.

DragonflyGreen49 on April 17, 2009:

I am not into sports at all, but I must thank you for making this lens. I enjoyed it very much. I don't like to read autobiographies of any kind but this was just what I need to learn something about the African Americans who have came before me to teach me something about my heritage. Again I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. 5 enthusiastic stars! I just wish I could give you more.

wachioplus on April 17, 2009:




dc64 lm on April 17, 2009:

What a dynamic story! You've laid out for us a beautiful and fitting tribute to a man who had to break through so many barriers to live his dream. Congrats on a well deserved Lens of the Day.

Mountainside-Crochet on April 17, 2009:

Hi - I've now lensrolled this lens to mine to go along with my Crazy about Baseball personal story. I'd like to put the link to this lens under my baseball story on my lensography if I could figure out how to do it :-). I'm such a 'newbie' :).

Mountainside-Crochet on April 17, 2009:

Fantastic lens on this outstanding and courageous baseball player who withstood much so that other wonderful baseball players could be who they are today. I'm a huge baseball fan, but even if I weren't, I would be impressed with Jackie Robinson.

Congratulations on LotD. It's a well deserved honor for this excellent lens.

Did you know that besides ALL baseball players wearing #42 on April 15th this year, and even though the #42 is now retired, there is still one active player wearing the #42 - grandfathered in before the official retirement of the number - and that is Mariano Rivira, one of my all time favorite pitchers, the current closer for the NY Yankees! I know he's honored to wear Jackie's number 42. 5* and more!

reycarr on April 17, 2009:

Prior to one game Jackie received a telephone call that brought him to his tipping point. He was so devastated he couldn't concentrate on the game and struck out with the bases loaded. In another inning he made a fielding error. The crowd escalated their obscenities.

Pee Wee Reese, the white, Dodger's shortstop from Kentucky and Jackie's teammate called a time-out. Pee Wee put his arm around Robinson and said, "Jackie, let me tell you something. I believe in you. You are the greatest ballplayer I have ever seen. You can do it. I know that. And I know something else: One of these days you are going into the Hall of Fame. So, hold your head up high and play ball like only you can do it." Robinson was uplifted by those words and went on to deliver the game-winning hit for his team.

Many years later when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Robinson recalled that day on the field with Pee Wee. "He saved my life and my career that day. I had lost my confidence, and Pee Wee picked me up with his words of encouragement. He gave me hope when all hope was gone."

Globalfriends on April 17, 2009:

This a great story, Wow!

Retired-Cop on April 16, 2009:

This is a very nice tribute to a Great Player and a wonderful guy! 5 Stars from me!

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on April 16, 2009:

[in reply to BLEVE] "I think one of the most interesting women players is Alta Weiss who played PROFESSIONAL baseball on a men's team in Ohio starting in 1917. She played for 15 seasons and managed to put herself through medical school with her earnings."

BLEVE, I actually haven't been a baseball fan that many years, and have NOT heard about Alta Weiss before. I was keenly aware while putting together part of this lens that I was using phrases like all men are created equal, which is still missing part of the picture. It didn't seem the right place to comment on that. But you've just given me someone I definitely need to look up, and a book I should definitely track down and read! Thank you very much! (Who knows, maybe it'll turn into a lens.. .or maybe you could, since you know her story better? Please let me know if you do... I'd be happy to feature it!)

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on April 16, 2009:

[in reply to TheWhistler] TheWhistler -- AH! Thank you! I think I knew that the first time I put this page together, then got confused when I was doing a recent rewrite, trying to track down why he was wearing a Royals uniform in some of the photos I used.

Lemme fix that. Thanks very much for the correction!

anonymous on April 16, 2009:

Wow!!! I would give it 200 stars if I could :)

anonymous on April 16, 2009:

Amazing, wonderful lens ! Tonight was picture night and the first night my foster son got to wear his brand new Little League uniform. Our Opening Day and Parade is this Saturday 4/18/09. Reading this lens has been such an eye-opener for me. I go into this baseball season with a whole new perspective on the history of the game and on this wonderful American hero, Jackie Robinson. You did an awesome job telling his story ! Congrats on LOTD !!!

MattTaylor LM on April 16, 2009:

Very nice! I liked the way you presented the material so that anyone would be interested...

Thank you,


DAD1104 on April 16, 2009:

.and today we recall Harry Kalas, the voice of Philadelphia, who spoke of the Jackie days often in the course of the season. Rest your voice now Harry.

larrybla lm on April 16, 2009:

Sometimes when we face adversity and still persevere through it can we understand what it means to be a whole human being. Muhammed Ali is one of my heroes who had the same tenacity as Jackie Robinson. We can all learn from these historical figures regardless of race, gender, disability etc. Thanks for bringing this message about Mr. Robinson to us.

TopStyleTravel on April 16, 2009:

Great tribute and a labor of love, 5 stars. Congrats on the Top 100!

Andrea R Brown from Fairview on April 16, 2009:

Wow! This is a great history lesson!

anonymous on April 16, 2009:

Dear Ellen,

This lens is truly a great tribute to a great American. You certainly spent a lot of time researching your subject and your writing is a pleasure to read.

Since you are a baseball fan, you probably don't neglect all the women who attempted to break the gender barrier in the sport. I think one of the most interesting women players is Alta Weiss who played PROFESSIONAL baseball on a men's team in Ohio starting in 1917. She played for 15 seasons and managed to put herself through medical school with her earnings. (You can read more about her in YOU CAN'T PLAY BALL IN A SKIRT which is available at

Thanks for putting a spotlight on this deserving American Hero!

Achim Thiemermann from Austin, Texas on April 16, 2009:

Important piece of history that should interest the whole world. I grew up in Germany and didn't really know anything about this great man until I came to the States in 1981. Congratulations on LotD, Greekgeek! 5*s and a hearty SquidAngel Blessing. :-)

drifter0658 lm on April 16, 2009:

What a fantastic birthday gift to give back to the world. Jackie was a hero of mine when I was a child, as well as Jesse Owens. Few people in history can defy their 'tormentors', as you so aptly put it, and persevere.

Kudos on yet another wonderful lens and the icing of LOTD to go on that cake.


stony446 on April 16, 2009:

Alex Haley once said:

"In every conceivable manner the family is the link to our past , and the bridge to our future. "

It is nice to see Professional Baseball recognize the past thought the present players.

anonymous on April 15, 2009:

I could be wrong but the "Montreal Royals" were not in theNegro League. The Montreal Royals were a minor league professional baseball team located in Montreal, Quebec, that existed from 1897-1917 and from 1928-60 as a member of the International League and its progenitor, the original Eastern League. The Royals are most famous as the top farm club (Class AAA beginning in 1946) of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1939 to 1960.

The team holds a unique place in baseball history for being the first major-league affiliate to break the so-called "baseball color barrier". On October 23, 1945, two members of the Brooklyn National League Baseball Club Inc. Board of Directors, Montreal Royals owner and team president, Hector Racine, and Brooklyn Dodgers general manager, Branch Rickey, signed Jackie Robinson, an African-American. Robinson played with the Royals during the 1946 season. John Wright and Roy Partlow, black pitchers, also played with the Royals that year.

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on April 11, 2009:

I just spent two heartbreaking, heartwarming, uplifting and totally satisfying hours reading this lens, following links and watching the videos. Thank you for building this lens. Thank you too for the integrity you evidence in citing your sources and crediting the images you used. Has this been designated a LOTD yet? If not, it should be. I'll nominate it. If any other lensmasters reading this comment agree, please join me.

anonymous on April 07, 2009:

Superbly done. This wonderful man still brings inspiration to so many people. Not just in sports but has human beings as a whole.

sittonbull on April 07, 2009:

JR was an incredible athlete and an even more incredible man who paved the way for other black athletes and served is a pioneer... who blazed through the barriers of adversity. His memory stands today as a model for us all of the kind of Inspiration and Determination that gives great meaning to life. This lens will be added to the plexo and lensrolled to my lens on Inspiration and Determination! Great Job! Also fanned, favored and starred. Happy Birthday!

Spook LM on April 07, 2009:

I just dropped by to wish you a Happy Birthday. A great lens and very well thought out and presented. It's a great pity that there are not more men in today's world with this mans dignity.

anonymous on March 25, 2009:

Still an inspiration. Thanks.

Amanda Blue on February 28, 2009:

Another stunning lens by you about a magnificent man, and I agree, "it is [well] worth remembering what Jackie Robinson endured and the lesson he taught America." Where did he find such restraint?! Thank you for this moving mix of thoughts, images and history. 5* of course!

Liam Tohms on February 10, 2009:

Great page, great content. 5*

Chip_Westley on May 08, 2008:

I'm glad to see Jackie Robinson getting the tribute he deserves from Major League Baseball. Greekgeek, your Dodgers are looking awfully tough this year. All the best, Chip

Related Articles