By: Carin T. Ford
Book report by: Austin Stuhr
The year was 1945 and Major League Baseball (MLB) was an all white sport that is until Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers had a groundbreaking idea. He was determined to bring in the first negro baseball player into the MLB. He discovered a fast, young, and self-disciplined athlete who was playing for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro league, his name was Jackie Robinson.
Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, near Cairo, GA. He was one of five siblings who was raised by a single mom. They moved to Pasadena, CA. and by the time he was in high school, he excelled in several sports. After high school, he went to a Junior College and would later transfer to UCLA and become a football and basketball star while taking a break from his least skilled sport, baseball. Following college, he was drafted into the military on March 23, 1942, and was honorably discharged three years later. While in the military, he met a former Kansas City Monarchs player who convinced him that he could make good money playing in the Negro Leagues. In 1945, Robinson landed a spot on the the Kansas City Monarchs. He became a star in the Negro Leagues and was offered a contract by the Montreal Royals (Brooklyn's minor league team). While playing for the Montreal Royals, he married Rachel Isum.
Jackie Robinson was successful in the minor leagues so Rickey signed him to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers for $10,700 his first year. He was given the #42. Robinson was about to face the biggest challenge of his life being the first and only negro player in the major leagues. In his first season, he encountered harassment, critisism, dirty play, hate mail, and threats. Robinson handled it with class. Throughout his career, Robinson played first, second, third base, and left field. In 1949 he was voted the most valuable player in the National League and won their first world series six years later in 1955. Robinson would then retire the following year.
Jackie Robinson was the first African American inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 23, 1962. Robinson died on October 24, 1972 at the age of 53 after suffering a heart attack. He was remembered for breaking barriers in sports and in life. In his honor the #42 was retired from every MLB team and annually on April 15th, every MLB player wears the #42 in remembrance of Jackie Roosevelt Robinson.
What did I enjoy about this book?
I've always been a fan of sports books and learning about people who are bigger than life. Jackie Robinson was a prime example of that. He went from being one of the most hated players in baseball to one of the most loved and respected players in baseball.
Would I recommend this book?
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes biographies, history, and sports. In this book you learn how things used to be, and how Jackie Robinson changed those things.
What was the author's purpose for writing this book?
To tell the story of Jackie Robinson and how he overcame various obstacles on his way to making a difference in the sporting world and in life.
What other media told the story of Jackie Robinson?
The movie called "42" was opened in theatres on April 12, 2013 and has been seen by millions of people around the world.