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Essay

Jackie Robinson

By Kip A. Cates

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We're lucky to live in a multicultural world where we can watch a wide range of sports and see amazing performances by athletes of every race. Things weren't always like this. In the past, discrimination was rife and sports were segregated.

Take the example of baseball. For many years, blacks and whites in the United States weren't allowed to play together. Major League Baseball was for white players only. This all changed in 1947 thanks to Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson.

Branch Rickey was the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was impressed by the talent of black players and angry at the prejudice they faced. He was eager to integrate baseball so that blacks and whites could play together as equals.

To do this, he needed a black athlete who was an excellent ball player. Finally, his scouts found the perfect candidate — a young man named Jackie Robinson.

Robinson grew up in California. His dream was to play professional baseball in the major leagues. There was just one problem — he was black.

Rickey warned Robinson about the hate he would face as the first black player in an all-white league. Jackie would have to endure this racism by playing the best baseball he could — not by getting angry, fighting back or giving up.

Soon after, Rickey announced that Robinson — the first black player in the MLB — would join the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1947 season.

Jackie's first year was hard. Some of his teammates threatened to quit. Rival clubs refused to play against a black player. Racist spectators called him names and shouted insults. He received hate mail and death threats.

Despite this harassment, no one could deny that Robinson was a great player. He made amazing catches, incredible throws and daring steals. At the end of the 1947 season, he was voted rookie of the year. In 1949, he was voted most valuable player.

Jackie Robinson played in the major leagues until 1958. After retiring, he spent the rest of his life working toward racial equality. He passed away in 1972 at the age of 53.

In 2013, his story was made into a Hollywood movie called 42. That was the number on his uniform. His life is remembered each year on Jackie Robinson Day, a national event celebrated on April 15.

The integration of American baseball came about because of the actions of two men — one white and one black. This year marks the 70th anniversary of this historic event.

By working together to break the color barrier, Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson opened the door to great players of all races. Through their actions, they helped to create the modern world of professional sports, where athletes are judged by their ability and not by the color of their skin.


※2017年7月10日10時 一部訂正しました。


ジャッキー・ロビンソン

今年は黒人初の大リーグ選手となったジャッキー・ロビンソンの入団から70周年にあたる。アメリカ野球界の人種の壁を崩したのは、ロビンソンと彼を見出した1人の白人男性だった。

The Japan Times ST: July 14, 2017

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート

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