No one can doubt the immense courage shown by Jackie Robinson when he took his position at Ebbets Field on Tuesday afternoon, April 15, 1947. The first play of the game was a ground ball to third base, and Robinson, playing first, took the throw to make the first putout.
It wasn't just the one moment that was important, of course, but the ongoing significance of his presence on the field. Robinson was the first Black American to play what was then defined as major-league baseball at a time when baseball was dominant in American culture-truly the National Pastime-but an institution which had been segregated by race.
After Robinson completed his 10-year Hall of Fame playing career, the six-time All-Star with a lifetime on-base percentage of .409 took his rightful place in Cooperstown.
Perhaps it is true that celebrating Jackie Robinson's courageous role in integration can sometimes reduce him to a symbol, over-simplify his complex grappling with the racial issues of his day, and turn him into a convenient and self-congratulatory icon celebrated by Major League Baseball today. But, in fact, he was-and remains-a meaningful and inspirational symbol. The articles in this book look beyond the oft-told tale of April 15, 1947, and examine many facets of Robinson's life and career.
Almost all of the articles in Jackie were written specifically for this book. Some 54 members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) contributed their work as authors and editors to bring together a book that offers a variety of perspectives on “42.”