From Black Athlete Sports Netwrok
This N' That with Tony Mack:
Book Review: Rickey and Robinson
-"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out where the strong man stumbles, nor where the doer of deeds could have done better. On the contrary, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena -- whose vision is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives vallantly; who errs and comes up again and again; who knows the greatest devotions; the great enthusiasms; who at best knows in the end of the triumph of high achievement."
-- Theodore Roosevelt
Harvey Frommer lived in Brooklyn that summer in 1947 when two men, one black and one white, came together to right a long overdue wrong in the sport of baseball. Just two years removed from the end of World War II, the climate in America and the world had taken on a major change.
More than 50 years later, Frommer gives us a brief snapshot of the life and times of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey. Blending exclusive interviews with Rachel Robinson, Mack Robinson (Jackie's brother), Hall of Famers Monte Irvin, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Ralph Kiner, and others, Frommer evokes the lives of Brooklyn Dodgers manager Branch Rickey and heralded baseball player Jackie Robinson to describe how they worked to shatter baseball's color line.
"Rickey and Robinson: The Men Who Broke Baseball's Color Barrier" gives a vivid account on the lives of these two men and how their collaboration helped bring change to the game of baseball and to society. "Many Blacks had just returned home from the war, including Jackie", said Frommer. "They had just served their country in a war and were tired of being considered second-class citizens."
In an excerpt from the book, Frommer talks about that day in April when Robinson played his first game in Brooklyn:
"With the blue number 42 on the back of his Brooklyn Dodger home uniform, Jackie Robinson took his place at first base at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947. It was 32 years to the day since Jack Johnson had become the first black heavyweight champion of the world."
Writer James Baldwin had noted: "Back in the thirties and forties, Joe Louis was the only hero that we ever had. When he won a fight, everybody in Harlem was up in heaven. On that April day the large contingent of blacks in the crowd of nearly 40, 000 had another hero to be "up in heaven" about, another hero to stand beside Joe Louis."
Frommer's book also examines the decisions and oppositions that existed during a time when black athletes underwent the kind of scrutiny that would be embarrassing to this day. In many instances, we can still see them existing in a subtle fashion now, but it showed how Robinson had to be the first to endure such indignities.
"Rickey and Robinson" is a dual biography tracing the convergence of the lives of two of baseball's most influential individuals in a special moment in sports and cultural history.
For anyone that wants to learn and grasp the period that these two men lived, this book does an excellent job of weaving that story.
I highly recommend that you check this book out.