Jackie Robinson This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Fifty years ago, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson became the first black player to play in a Major League baseball game. The day he stepped onto Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947 he broke the color barrier, and paved the way for other black athletes. Without Jackie Robinson there would not be Muhammed Ali, Arthur Ashe, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, or Tiger Woods. Without Jackie Robinson, sports would be very different today. I know someone else may have come along and broken the color barrier. But that person could not have done it as well, with as much guts and grace as Jackie Robinson. The way he handled himself on and off the field is remarkable. He took every racist comment and turned the other cheek. Branch Rickey, the general manager who brought him into baseball, prohibited him from talking back. But Robinson didn't let the pressure get to him, or so it seemed on the field.

Robinson's problems also came from his teammates. Many of the Brooklyn Dodgers were from the South, and didn't like black people. From day one, some hated the idea of playing with a black teammate. Jackie had to earn their respect with his bat and glove.

He did earn their respect, along with the respect of all of baseball. In 1947, he received the Rookie of the Year Award. He was not a one-year wonder; he continued his great play for the rest of his career, earning a spot in baseball's Hall of Fame. Robinson went on to become a civil rights activist, and a leader of the black community. Jackie Robinson is regarded as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. He was one of the most influential men in this century, too.

At Shea Stadium, in Queens, New York, Robinson was honored during a game between the Dodgers (now in Los Angeles) and the New York Mets. President Clinton and Rachael Robinson, Robinson's widow, were the speakers and gave Jackie a tribute. That night number 42, that Robinson wore, was retired from all of baseball forever. That was right, he was a great man who deserved this honor.

I think that Jackie Robinson is a great American hero. I look at him as a model of consistency and bravery. I look to him with utmost respect, and hope that one day I can be as great in what I do as he was in baseball. Jackie Robinson has changed many lives, including mine. Thank you, Jackie Robinson. l

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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percykilo said...
Nov. 4, 2015 at 1:13 pm
I like this because you was bringing up black men that accomplish good things in life. The line, "Jackie Robinson is regarded as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century" this is powerful to prove that black men can be great also.
pharoahb said...
Apr. 17, 2013 at 8:42 am
Do not diminish the accomplishments of Muhammed Ali. He stands on his own and though Robinson came before him there was a Jack Johnson and Joe Louis. Ali made his own way, just because someone came before you does'nt mean they opened doors for you. Any well disciplined man Black or White can achieve a goal once he or she sets a task and goal. Robinson was chosen and given the opportunity to play the sport. Muhammed Ali took it! White America had no choice at the time, since he was a very tal... (more »)
stevey replied...
May 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm
By saying White America had no choice at the time but to choose Robinson diminishes robinsons accomplishments. You can't say Robinson was choosen and given an opportunity, because he worked just as hard as Muhammed Ali did. Robinson could have walked away from baseball after the first day you started training with the Dodgers, but he didn't. He set a goal for himself and accomplished it. Theres no way you can say Jackie Robinson had it all handed to him.
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