April 15, 1947 is the day that one of the most important events in American
history took place. On that day, Jackie Robinson took the final step in making the
biggest breakthrough in sports history, It was the day that Jackie Robinson played his
first Major League Baseball game, which was also the first game of any kind of organized
athletics in which a white man shared the field with an African-American. By doing so,
he opened the door for future African-Americans to play organized athletics and now
more than half of all athletes in major sport athletics are African-Americans. By
breaking through the baseball color barrier, Jackie Robinson has become a hero to many
Jackie Robinson has influenced the lives of many people facing adversity. He has
been an inspiration to many across the world. Jackie Robinson forever changed the
landscape of American sports by breaking the color barrier (Guss, Skins Game 52).
When people see what Robinson accomplished, they think that they can accomplish what
ever is staring them in the face and accomplish their goal. They way Robinson broke
through the baseball color barrier is similar to the way women received their rights such
as voting. Both Robinson and women fought for what they thought they deserved.
Neither of them gave up, they fought and fought until they reached their goal. Jackie
Robinson has been fighting for things all of his life. His father left them when he was a
young child and his mother raised him and his four brothers and sisters on her own. The
Robinson family grew up in Pasadena, California where they were the only black family
on the block. Jackie and his family received criticism from the other children but they
grew to ignore it. In school, Jackie was called many names by other students, but then
graduated one of the best athletes to ever come out of Muir Tech High School in
Pasadena, California. After Robinson’s college education, he enlisted in the U.S Army.
Through much criticism, he had progressed to a second lieutenant.
Few men in any sport had ever faced such competitive odds as Jackie Robinson
faced when he made his bid for a place in organized baseball (Bontemps, Famous Negro
Athletes 59). But by overcoming those odds, Jackie Robinson influenced the lives of all
African-Americans. By becoming the first African-American to play sports in an
organized league with whites, Robinson not only gained respect for black athletes, but for
the entire black race. Now that African-Americans can play all sports, they have
drastically changed the way the game is played (Leavy, 50 Years of Blacks In Baseball
38). African-Americans are now some of the premier athletes in sports. For example,
baseball player Kenny Lofton shows some of the same talents that Robinson did such as
speed and defensive skills. Lofton is one of the most educated men about the Robinson
era. He plays every game with the mind frame that he wouldn’t be here playing the game
that he loves if it weren’t for Jackie Robinson. There are some athletes who do not care
or know much about what Robinson did for the black race, such as baseball player Frank
Thomas. When asked about whether or not he knew much about Robinson he replied,
“Not really...I’m really more about the New age.” Thomas also makes about ten million
dollars a year compared to the $3,500 that Robinson signed for in 1945. Whether
Thomas knows it or not, he and other African-Americans wouldn’t have the jobs that
they do if it weren’t for Robinson (White, Stepping Up To The Plate 1).
There are many people that know that Jackie Robinson was the first man to break
the baseball color barrier, but most of those same people do not know how Robinson did
so. The main source of Robinson entering Major League Baseball was a man by the
name of Brach Rickey. Rickey was the General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers at the
time and chose Robinson from the Negro Leagues where Robinson was in his first year.
Why did Rickey choose Robinson out of the hundreds of players in the Negro Leagues?
One of the reasons why Rickey chose Robinson was because of his abundance of talent.
During Robinson’s first and only year in the Negro Leagues, Rickey was impressed by
the amazing things Robinson could do in the field. Jackie was a second basemen and had
very few errors. He made plays that were equaled by none, even second basemen in
Major League Baseball