Jackie Robinson: Breaking the Racial Barriers Essay

Jackie Robinson: Breaking the Racial Barriers Essay

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Jackie Robinson: Breaking the Racial Barriers

     On July 23, 1962, in the charming village of Cooperstown, New York, four new members were inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. As they gathered around the wooden platform, the fans reminisced about America’s national pastime. Edd Roush and Bill McKechnie, sixty-eight and seventy-four years old respectively, were two of the inductees that day (Robinson 142). They were old-timers chosen by the veterans’ committee. Bob Feller and Jackie Robinson, both forty-two, were youngsters by comparison. According to the rules of the Hall of Fame, a player must be retired for five years before he can be considered for induction. Both Feller and Robinson were elected in the first year they were eligible (141).

     As Robinson received his plaque to take his place among the greats in the Hall of Fame, he said, “I’ve been riding on cloud number nine since the election, and I don’t think I’ll ever come down. Today everything is complete“ (Robinson 142). After the induction ceremony, an exhibition game between the Milwaukee Braves and the New York Yankees was to take place at Doubleday Field, where the sport had its beginnings. A sudden thunderstorm delayed the game, and after an hours wait it was cancelled. At this same time, picketers in the streets of Harlem were carrying signs saying, “Jackie, we love you as a ballplayer, but not as a spokesman for the Negro race“ (143).

     Just two days earlier at a banquet in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, many people had paid $25 a plate to show their admiration for Jackie as both a ballplayer and a representative of the Negro race as well. Some of the most distinguished figures in the nation were present this day and their praise was loud and long (Mann 187). Jackie had accepted without hesitation a challenge to break a prevailing color barrier in the national sport of America with complete knowledge of how much depended on him. Few men had ever faced such competitive odds when becoming a player in organized baseball. Despite criticism and opposition, Jack Roosevelt Robinson had truly come a long way from his poor beginnings as the grandson of slaves in Cairo, Georgia, to breaking the racial barriers in major league baseball by becoming its first black athlete and achieving hall of fame status.

Jackie Robinson’s childhood was a struggle in family and financ...

... middle of paper ...

...s and coaches can now be found in the dugout and a few black managers on third base. However, the great Dodger would most likely have kept pushing to see more racial diversity in baseball, particularly among the executive ranks. The Hall of Fame second baseman was never satisfied with second best.

Works Cited

Bontemps, Arna. Famous Negro Athletes. New York: Dodd, Mead and      

     Company, 1964

Brown, Avonie. “Jackie Robinson, Dodgers #42.” The Afro-American      

     Newspaper Company of      Baltimore, Inc., 1997.      


Robinson, Jackie. I Never Had It Made. New Jersey: The Ecco Press, 1995.

Smith, Robert. Pioneers of Baseball. Boston: Little, Brown, 1978.

“Soul of the Game.” The Sporting News, 2000.      


TIME. Great People of the 20th Century. New York: Time Inc. Home      

     Entertainment, 1996

Walker, Sam. “How Blacks View Sports in Post-Robinson Era.”(cover story)      

     Christian Science Monitor      1997: 1

Young, A.S. “Doc.” Negros Firsts in Sports. Chicago: Johnson Publishing      

     Company, Inc., 1963

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