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An overview of the color barrier in the history of american baseball

Jackie Robinson is remembered as the man who broke the color barrier in major league baseball and was the first African American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame 1962. In his later years he worked as a business executive and was a spokesperson for civil rights, black athletes and other causes. Although Robinson is often called the first black player in the major leagues, Moses Fleetwood "Fleet" Walkera catcher for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association in 1884, had an Irish father and African American mother who had been a slave.

Born Jack Roosevelt Robinson on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, the future baseball great was the grandson of a slave and the fifth child of a sharecropper. At John Muir High School, he exhibited remarkable versatility as an athlete, playing on the baseball, football, basketball and track teams.

His athletic prowess brought him college scholarships, first to Pasadena Junior College and then to the University of California at Los Angeles; the latter school was founded the same year he was born.

At UCLA, he became the first and only player ever to letter in four different sports and won All-American honors as a football player. He had left Pearl Harbor, bound for the U. Robinson joined the U. Army and was promoted to second lieutenant but never saw combat.

While stationed in Texas he refused to move to the back of a military an overview of the color barrier in the history of american baseball and was courtmartialed, though he was eventually acquitted and was honorably discharged in 1944. The year 1945 was a memorable one for Jackie Robinson. On February 10 he married Rachel Isum, and they had their first child on November 18. He signed with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Baseball League, in an era when professional baseball was racially segregated.

In his autobiography, My Own Story, he recalled, "Although I was wearing the colors of the enemy, the Jersey City fans gave me a fine ovation. Montreal would go on to win the Little World Series that year, and Jackie reigned as the International League batting champion, earning a. Rickey had warned him to expect abuse, andRobinson was often taunted from the bleachers, especially during away games.

He and his family were threatened. But Rickey had him promise not to respond, Robinson kept his temper. He went 0—3 and scored one run. The following month, the St. Louis Cardinals threatened to strike rather than allow a black player in their game with Brooklyn. Robinson became the highest-paid player in Dodgers history but was traded to the New York Giants in 1956; he retired shortly thereafter.

His quiet dignity and superior skills opened the door to major league ball for other black players, including Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Satchel Paige. He became a spokesman for civil rights and other causes. Jackie Robinson died in Stamford, Connecticut, on October 24, 1972, suffering from heart and diabetes-related problems.

On March 2, 2005, President George W.

  1. I think there's great history there.
  2. Completely rejected by Major League Baseball, black players -- some of the greatest players in the history of the game -- endured incredible hardship and built an independent, thriving league.
  3. Jackie Robinson was their man.
  4. In his later years he worked as a business executive and was a spokesperson for civil rights, black athletes and other causes. If he could not steal third, he would distract the pitcher by dancing off second in order to advance.

Invited on the pretense that Branch Rickey, since 1942 a part owner of the club as well as its president and general manager, was seeking top black talent in order to create a Negro League team of his own, Robinson approached the meeting with great reluctance. Deep down he wanted to break the color barrier that existed in professional baseball, not discuss the possibility of playing for another all-black team. Little did he realize that Rickey shared his dream.

A shrewd, talkative man who had dedicated his life to baseball, the 64-year-old Rickey was secretly plotting a sweeping revolution within the national pastime. He believed that integration of the major leagues would be good for the country as well as the game.

Financial gain was only part of his motive—it was also a matter of moral principle.

Rickey, a devout Methodist, disdained the bigoted attitudes of the white baseball establishment. Greeting Robinson with a vigorous handshake, Rickey wasted no time in revealing his true intentions. I think you can play in the major leagues. How do you feel about it?

He had taught himself to be cynical toward all an overview of the color barrier in the history of american baseball owners, especially white one, in order to prevent any personal disillusionment. You think you can play for Montreal? In every scenario, Rickey cursed Robinson and threatened him, verbally degrading him in every way imaginable. I need a man that will take abuse and insults for his race. He was insulted by the implication that he was a coward.

No owners, no umpires, virtually no newspapermen. He felt his sincerity, his deep, quiet strength, and his sense of moral justice. You will symbolize a crucial cause. One incident, just one incident, can set it back twenty years. I think I can play ball in Brooklyn…. If you want to take this gamble, I will promise you there will be no incident.

Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey had launched a noble experiment to integrate major league baseball. Two years later, in 1947, when Robinson actually broke the color barrier, winning Rookie of the Year honors with the Dodgers, he raised the hopes and expectations of millions of black Americans who believed that deeply rooted patterns of discrimination could be changed.

In 1945, segregation was the most distinguishing characteristic of American race relations. For blacks, these so-called Jim Crow laws meant inferior public schools, health care, and public lodging, as well as discriminatory voter registration procedures that kept many of them disenfranchised. For the nearly 1 million African Americans who had served in the armed forces during World War II, the contradiction inherent in their fight against totalitarianism abroad while enduring segregation at home was insufferable.

No longer willing to knuckle under to Jim Crow, this young generation of black Americans was determined to secure full political and social equality. Many migrated to Northern cities, where they found better jobs, better schooling, and freedom from landlord control.

And Jackie Robinson became their hero. Blacks had been expelled from the major leagues when segregation was established by the 1896 Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Racist attitudes were reinforced by the significant numbers of white Southerners who played in the majors, as well as by the extensive minor league system that existed in the South. When blacks established their own Negro Leagues, white journalists, as well as historians, ignored them. Despite the periodic efforts of some white club owners to circumvent the racist policies and sign exceptional Negro Leaguers, the majors continued to bar blacks through the end of World War II.

Publicly, Rickey never revealed his intentions of breaking the color barrier. What Rickey really wanted to find was a talented, college-educated ballplayer who would be able to contradict the popular an overview of the color barrier in the history of american baseball of black ignorance. Born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, Jackie was the grandson of a slave and the fifth child of a sharecropper who deserted his family. Raised by his mother in a white, middle-class neighborhood in Pasadena, California, Jackie and his brothers and sister were verbally ridiculed and frequently pelted with rocks by local children.

Rather than endure the humiliation, the boys formed a gang and began to return fire. What saved young Jackie from more serious trouble and even crime was his exceptional athletic ability. His versatility earned him an athletic scholarship, first to Pasadena Junior College and later to the University of California at Los Angeles, where he earned varsity letters in four different sports and All-American honors in football.

His application was eventually approved, however, thanks to the help of boxing champion Joe Louis, who was stationed with Jackie at Fort Riley, Kansas. Commissioned a second lieutenant, Robinson continued during the next few years to defy discriminatory practices within the military. When, in July 1944, he refused to move to the rear of a military bus at Fort Hood, Texas, Robinson was charged with insubordination and court-martialed.

But the case against him was weak—the Army had recently issued orders against such segregation—and a good lawyer won his acquittal. While with the Monarchs, Robinson established himself as a fine defensive shortstop with impressive base stealing and hitting abilities.

But he hated barnstorming through the South, with its Jim Crow restaurants and hotels, and frequently allowed his temper to get the better of him. Some teammates thought Jackie too impatient with the segregationist treatment of blacks. Others admired him for his determination to take a stand against racism. Yet Robinson never saw himself as a crusader for civil rights as much as an athlete who had grown disillusioned with his chosen career.

The black press, some liberal sportswriters and even a few politicians were banging away at those Jim Crow barriers in baseball, but I never expected the walls to come tumbling down in my lifetime. I began to wonder why I should dedicate my life to a career where the boundaries of progress were set by racial discrimination.

Jackie Robinson

Nevertheless, the tryout brought Robinson to the attention of Clyde Sukeforth, the chief scout of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson had no illusions about the purpose of his meeting with the Dodgers. But he was convinced that he was morally right and he shrewdly sensed that making the game a truly national one would have healthy financial results.

The Monarchs were especially angered by the signing and went so far as to threaten a lawsuit against the Dodgers for tampering with a player who was already under contract. The Dodger president refused, speaking only of the excitement and competitive advantage that black players would bring to Brooklyn baseball, while downplaying the moral significance he attached to integration.

Rickey named Mississippian Clay Hopper, who had worked for him since 1929, to manage the Royals. There were reports, probably true, that Hopper begged Rickey to reconsider giving him this assignment. Finding himself unable to eat or sleep, he went to a doctor, who concluded he was suffering from stress. After the final game in that championship series, grateful Royals fans hoisted Robinson onto their shoulders and carried him to the locker room.

First, in order to avoid Jim Crow restrictions, he held spring training in Havana, Cuba, instead of Florida. Next, he moved Robinson, an experienced shortstop and second baseman, to first base, where he would be spared physical contact with opposing players who might try to injure him deliberately. I want you to hit that ball. I want you to get on base and run wild. Steal their pants off. Be the most conspicuous player on the field. The newspapermen from New York will send good stories back about you and help mold favorable public opinion.

But instead of helping him, the performance served only to alienate him from his future teammates, many of whom were Southerners. Alabamian Dixie Walker drafted a petition stating that the players who signed would prefer to be traded than to play with a black teammate. While the team was playing exhibition games in Panama, Walker proceeded to gather signatures from Dodger teammates. The noble experiment was in full swing. Of all the major league cities, Brooklyn, with its ethnically diverse and racially mixed neighborhoods, was just the place to break the color barrier.