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Mister Rickey do you want a player who doesn't fight back? No Jackie I want one who's got the guts not to!
True story of Brooklyn Dodger ballplayer Jackie Robinson the man who broke the color barrier in professional Baseball and made it possible for future black ballplayers, like Willie Mays Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson to name a few, to follow him.
After the end of WWII it was Brooklyn Dodger owner Branch Rickey, Minor Watson, who saw what a reservoir of talent there was in the then segregated Negro League and attempted to tap in on it. It was Jackie Robinson who was not only a star in collage football basketball baseball and track and field but was educated and well spoken, unlike most Negro players at that time, who was chosen by Rickey's top scout William Spaulding to be the man to do it: Brake Baseball's color barrier.
Jackie not at first believing that he's to play in the major leagues is surprised when Spaulding knocked at his hotel room while he was playing with the Black Panthers Negro Baseball team and convinced Jackie that he was the real thing, a scout or the Brooklyn Dodgers, not someone trying to play a joke on him! Like Jackie and his fellow Black Panthers at first thought.
In knowing that it was far more important for him to succeed for his race not just for himself Jackie not only had to be able to hit run and field on the baseball diamond but put up with the insults and threats to him and his family. Not just by the racist fans but his fellow baseball players, some on his own team, to make his and Branch Rickey, who put his reputation on the line in giving Jackie a chance, dream come true.
It was in the Triple A Brooklyn farm team the Montreal Royals that Jackie got his first taste of what he was to run into being the only black not on the team but in the entire league. The taunts and insults that Jackie suffered from both the fans and players just toughened his resolve to succeed to the point that he not only ended up leading the league in batting with a .349 average but was named the league's "MVP" Most Valuable Player. There was a very touching and bittersweet scene in the film where Jackie being taunted by the fans about him being black is shown a cute little black cat and told to come over and say hello to a relative of his. Jackie instead of whacking the guys in the mouth like he should have got up out of the dugout and took the cat, with those who were holding it running for safety, back into the dugout with him petting the cute litter kitzel as if he somehow knew that it was suffering the same kind of abuse that he was going through at the time.
Finally making it to the big leagues in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers who lost the 1946 National League Pennant on the very last day of the season in a two out of three game playoff, with the Dodgers losing the first two games, to the World Champion St.Louis Cardinals he in fact was the extra ingredient that was able to get the Dodgers to become the 1947 National League Champs. Jackie did all that not just with his hitting fielding and dazzling running on the bases running but with his courage as well both on and off the field which earned Jackie the 1947 Rookie of the Year Award.
Made in 1950 while Jackie Robinson was still an active player "The Jackie Robinson Story" is about as autobiographical a movie as a movie could be. It showed that by turning the other cheek and concentrating on his game and not letting his temper get the best of him Jackie achieved the impossible in being a both fiery combatant as well as gentleman at the same time. Which in the end even had his biggest detractors,fan and ballplayers alike, end up standing up and cheering wildly for for him whenever he hit the ball either out of the park or the infield. It was that, Jackie's ability to stand tall and not give into his pent up emotions, far more then his baseball playing ability that made Jackie Robinson the Baseball legend that he is today.
P.S Jackie Robinson #42 uniform was retired not only from the Dodger team but from all of Major League Baseball in 1997 making him the first and only Major League Baseball player to have that honor. What most people don't know is that there was a Dodger player George Jeffcoat who had the famed #42 before Jackie did while he was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers back in 1939.
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