Quoted: Sports Illustrated On Jackie Robinson’s Rookie Season, 65 Years Later

Courtesy: halloffamememorabilia.com

As April 15, 1947, neared and the Dodgers prepared to play the Boston Braves in the season opener at Ebbets Field, the Brooklyn clubhouse was not exactly harmonious about Robinson’s arrival. Southerners Dixie Walker, Eddie Stanky and Bobby Bragan drew up a petition saying they preferred being traded to playing with a black teammate.[Branch] Rickey and manager Leo Durocher silenced the rebels, with Durocher vowing Robinson would “make them all rich.” Another Southerner, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, also supported Robinson

Statistically, Robinson’s debut was forgettable. He was 0-for-3 with a run scored while recording 11 putouts at first base. But a new age had dawned before 26,623 fans and the Pittsburgh Courier wrote, “History was made here Tuesday.”

Although Robinson received threats, hate mail and racist comments from opposing dugouts, and teams constantly threw at his head and tried to spike him on the bases, baseball fans of all races were enthralled. All seven of the other National League teams drew their largest crowds of 1947 when Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers were in town, including a National League high of 52,355 at the Polo Grounds on April 19. Somehow Wrigley Field, with a baseball capacity of less than 40,000, squeezed in 46,572 fans for the Dodgers’ first visit to Chicago on May 18.

Robinson was making more than just the Dodgers rich.

He finished with a .297 batting average and led the National League in stolen bases. He was named the first Rookie of the Year, and the Dodgers won the pennant before falling to the New York Yankees in a dramatic seven-game World Series.

That was a watershed year for baseball. The World Series was televised for the first time and the NCAA conducted its first College World Series. But Robinson’s breaking the color line, one year before the U.S. military integrated and seven years before the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools, was the sport’s biggest story.
– From “Jackie Robinson’s debut changed the game–and the nation,” by Richard Rothschild

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

Use the "for:racialicious" tag in del.icio.us to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Support Racialicious

The Octavia Butler Book Club

The Octavia Butler Book Club
(Click the book for the latest conversation)

Recent Comments

Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

Feminism for Real

Yes Means Yes – Latoya

Yes Means Yes

Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

Youth and Sexual Health

OMLN

Online Media Legal Network

Recent Posts

Support Racialicious

Older Archives

Tags

Written by: