Jack Roosevelt Robinson or Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919 in a small farmhouse near Cairo, Georgia. His father Jerry Robinson was a farmer. He lived on a small farm and had to give half of the crops he grew. He was tired of his poor lifestyle and lied to his wife saying that he was going to visit his brother in Texas and ditched them.
Years later, when Jackie found out his father deserted them in there time of need, he was bitterly hurt. His mother took her five children and escaped to Pasadena, California.They first lived in a run-down apartment with three rooms, but were only able to sleep in one because they aunts and uncle’s slept in the other two. The condition they had to live in was very poor.
Soon, Jackie’s mother found a job and was able to support her family. Since her mother was so busy, Jackie’s Sister Willa Mae took her to school and got permission from her teacher to be able to let Jackie play in the school-yard when she was at school. But, in many ways there life was better in California, than life had been in the South.Jackie remembered “Some days we had nothing to eat, if it hadn’t been for my mother who brought leftovers from her work.
.. She got up before daylight to go to her job, and although she came home tired, she was able to give us the extra attention we needed… I thought she must have some king of magic to be able to work so hard and never complain and to make us all feel happy..
. Her biggest dream was to make us go to school. ” Jackie attended elementary school at Grover Cleveland Elementary School.
There, he began to realize his great athletic ability.That ability continued from Elementary, to middle school and to high school. At John Muir Technical High School he played in four sports; football, baseball, basketball and track.
His athletic ability was able to get him a scholar ship at UCLA (University of California, Las Angeles). He starred in the same sports that he did in High School. Since, blacks were segregated from sports; he did not want to continue his year at University and wanted to help his mother. He then dropped out of University. “No amount of education would help a black man get a job” Jackie said.He wanted to relieve some of his mother’s financial burdens, so he joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League for $400 a month. From there on, he was a star. He drew the attention of, Branch Rickey the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
All these years, Rickey wanted to integrate baseball and was looking for the right candidate. Rickey knew himself, that black player’s have the same talent as do whites. Being a coach at a high school, Branch Rickey knew the talent of black players and knew that someday a great black player would be signed into the Major Leagues, but he never knew that it would be him.On October 23, 1945, Rickey signed Robinson to play for the Montreal Royals of the International League. He led the league in batting average in 1946. Rickey thought that it was time to bring Robinson to the Major Leagues. Robinson played his first game on April 15, 1947. He was a successful player; in 1946 he led the National league in stolen bases.
He was the first African-American to be presented the Rookie of the Year ward.In 1949, he led the league with a batting average of . 342 and vas voted the league’s M. V. P. He had a career batting average of . 311 and won one World Series. Being the first black baseball player to play in the major leagues, Jackie Robinson faced many prejudice.
As you know, black players were left out and were treated poorly from those, who though they were different. They had to sit at the back of the bus, they were unable to drink from some fountains etc. Jackie Robinson did not like his life, he himself said “I wish that sometimes I were white. If I can only peel of my skin.
” When Jackie Robinson was in the army, he went on a tour of duty in Fort Hood, Texas.One day, while riding in a bus, he refused to obey the bus driver who ordered him to “get to the back of the bus where coloured people belong. ” Jackie was arrested and brought to trail. He was then cleared of all charges of disobedience. When the team travelled around the U. S to play games, Jackie was poorly treated. He was unable to eat at some restaurants.
He was unable to sleep in hotels etc. In the majors, Jackie was beaten black and blue. Fans hurled bottles and invectives at him. His own teammates protested against having to play with a black. The opposing teams threw balls at his head.When sliding to base, the basemen spiked him with his shoe. Also, they threatened him if he took the field. Following Rickey’s order Jackie did not do anything about it.
But, the best thing in his life happened when he became best friends with Pee Wee Reese. When the St. Louis Cardinals threatened Jackie if he took the field, commissioner Ford Frick said that if anyone does so, they would be suspended. Then, Dodger’s captain Pee Wee Reese left his position and put an arm around Jackie Robinson. Today’s society has changed much after Jackie Robinson was signed.Many other black players were signed after that, who became famous such as; Willie Mayes, Larry Doby, Satchel Paige, Don Newcombe etc. There was a big increase in black baseball players in those days.
Now, the percentage of black baseball players has decreased to 8. 4% according to 2006 stats. There are many black baseball players, who are better than half the white players in the MLB. David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas.
Even though, Jackie Robinson was a baseball player, after that many other sports that segregated black’s, allowed black’s to play. Most of the best players in basketball are black!