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The Break Through

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The Break Through in American Baseball

Baseball, what is baseball? Baseball is a game about runs, hits and errors; 73 homers by Barry Bonds and seven no hitters by Nolan Ryan, a .367 lifetime mark by Ty Cobb and 511 wins by Cy Young. It's all about the 15,000 people who have had the privilege to make it in the league and more, from homerun hitting Babe Ruth to the lately retired Cal Ripken Jr., but there is more to baseball then records and fame; the thing, the man, goes by the name of Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson. The name alone is inspiring and pure. Jack Roosevelt Robinson (Jackie) was born on 1919, in Cairo Georgia and quickly found out that life wasn't going to be easy. When Jackie was one-year-old his father, Jerry, packed up and left his whole family, after his deserting; Jackie's mother, Mallie, then rounded up her five children and moved to Pasadena, California, where she found work as a maid.

Not long after moving to Pasadena Jackie soon enrolled at George Washington High School at the age of 17. Not only did he play four sports in high school but he also won the city's Ping-Pong championship. While Jackie was still young and in high school his brother was way over in Berlin, Germany competing in the Summer Olympics. Mack got second in the 200-meter dash, finishing behind the all-time great Jesse Owens.

After graduating high school Jackie then attended UCLA in 1941 and was the first athlete in UCLA history to ever letter in four sports (baseball, football, basketball, and track) in a single year. Not only did he make history there, but he met the love of his life, Rachel.

After one year of college, Jackie entered the army for World War II. He was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, and while he was there he was denied entrance into the Officers' Candidate School because of his skin color. Being the man he is, he protested and protested and stood up for what he believed in and in 1945 was discharged as a lieutenant.

After being discharged, Jackie met Branch Rickey on August 28, 1945 and Rickey offered Jackie a contract with one of the Dodgers farm clubs, the Montreal Royals of the International League. Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in the International League, and as you can guess had to overcome a lot of adversity. Although the adversity was hard to deal with, Jackie did just that and won the league's batting title in 1946 and 1947 while playing second base. Although he won those title's his most memorable moment of the minor leagues was winning the "Little World Series" and scoring the winning run in the seventh and 15 running their opponents.

In 1947, just two years after he had begun playing for the Montreal Royals, Jackie was called up to the MAJOR leagues. This move is not only one of most historical events in the history of baseball, but in the history of the world. When Jackie entered into the major leagues, he gave black people hope, hell he gave everyone hope. From what he did the world has changed because of it and that is why he is now in the baseball hall of fame, well that and his outstanding numbers.

"There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free." (

"Jackie Robinson was not just about baseball. He was equality, about decency, about morality, about injustice, about ending a wrong with a right after more than 60 years of America and Americans in and out of the game suggesting a kid born with black skin could not be a big leaguer, let alone live a good life. Jackie Robinson gave his life for something great; heroes do. He chose to bear the daily, bloody trial of standing up to bean balls and cleats launched into his shins, chest, and chin, and the race-baiting taunts raining down from the stands, along with trash, tomatoes, rocks, watermelon slices, and Sambo dolls. And then he performed with eloquent achievement and superlative poise. Robinson allowed that hatred to strike him as it would a lightning rod, channeling it down into the rugged earth of himself. All that America saw for many years on the baseball field was that iron as upright as a steeple, never bending. But inside, the strain slowed his body, whitened his hair, thickened his circulation, aggravated his diabetes, and rendered him slow and blind. He was dead by the age of fifty-three--a martyr to trying to make America live up to its creed." (




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