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Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's…
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Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season

by Jonathan Eig

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After watching the film "42" I felt the need to refresh my knowledge about Jackie Robinson and his first season. Eig relies primarily on contemporary sources from 1947 and 1948. He could have taken a debunking approach, but instead he explains the reality, and occasional lack of substance, behind the legends we believe. Which takes nothing at all away from Robinson as a ball player, as a man and as a leader. A very enjoyable book. ( )
  nmele | Jul 17, 2013 |
The title of this book is wonderfully accurate. It really is the story of the entire season, and not just the baseball parts (although baseball fans won't be disappointed in the description of plays and pitches). But it is much more than a play-by-play of every game the Dodgers played in 1947; Eig paints a picture of the entire season and how it resonated throughout the country.

Eig's writing is so vivid, you can feel the emotion as Jackie walks into the clubhouse for the first time, as he takes the plate for the first time, as he faces both cruelty and kindness in cities and ballparks across the Major Leagues. He gives us profiles of people who were affected by Robinson's barrier-breaking, including author Robert B. Parker, civil rights leader Malcolm X, and future governor of Virginia Douglas Wilder. Although some of these profiles go on a bit too long, they contribute a lot to the sense of change that was in atmosphere in 1947.

Eig doesn't exactly soft-pedal the negative reactions from both within and without baseball that arose as a result of integration, but in some ways, he down-plays it a little bit. Some of Jackie's fellow Dodgers were opposed on principle to playing with a black man, but when he joined the team, they realized he was an ok guy and that integration probably wouldn't actually bring about the end of civilization as we know it. Somehow I don't think it was that easy. ( )
  mzonderm | Jul 14, 2013 |
I liked this a lot. Really puts Robinson's historic season in context. ( )
  lateinnings | May 20, 2010 |
This story about Jackie Robinson's inspirational first season was interesting, but ultimately struck me as rather dully written. It hopped about in time chronologically in ways that detracted from the flow, and ultimately left me feeling a bit let down. ( )
  Stensvaag | Jan 1, 2008 |
Eig almost redeems himself with dramatic descriptions of games in the 1947 World Series (Bevens' near no-hitter and Gionfrido's catch) but the book is unfulfilling as a history of Robinson's first year. Eig debunks anecdotes superficially and comes close to turning Dixie Walker into a tolerant Southerner. ( )
  MLieberman | Oct 9, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743294602, Hardcover)

April 15, 1947, marked the most important opening day in baseball history. When Jackie Robinson stepped onto the diamond that afternoon at Ebbets Field, he became the first black man to break into major-league baseball in the twentieth century. World War II had just ended. Democracy had triumphed. Now Americans were beginning to press for justice on the home front-and Robinson had a chance to lead the way.He was an unlikely hero. He had little experience in organized baseball. His swing was far from graceful. And he was assigned to play first base, a position he had never tried before that season. But the biggest concern was his temper. Robinson was an angry man who played an aggressive style of ball. In order to succeed he would have to control himself in the face of what promised to be a brutal assault by opponents of integration.In Opening Day, Jonathan Eig tells the true story behind the national pastime's most sacred myth. Along the way he offers new insights into events of sixty years ago and punctures some familiar legends. Was it true that the St. Louis Cardinals plotted to boycott their first home game against the Brooklyn Dodgers? Was Pee Wee Reese really Robinson's closest ally on the team? Was Dixie Walker his greatest foe? How did Robinson handle the extraordinary stress of being the only black man in baseball and still manage to perform so well on the field? Opening Day is also the story of a team of underdogs that came together against tremendous odds to capture the pennant. Facing the powerful New York Yankees, Robinson and the Dodgers battled to the seventh game in one of the most thrilling World Series competitions of all time.Drawing on interviews with surviving players, sportswriters, and eyewitnesses, as well as newly discovered material from archives around the country, Jonathan Eig presents a fresh portrait of a ferocious competitor who embodied integration's promise and helped launch the modern civil rights era. Full of new details and thrilling action, Opening Day brings to life baseball's ultimate story.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

World War II had just ended. Democracy had triumphed. Now Americans were beginning to press for justice on the home front--and Jackie Robinson had a chance to lead the way. He was an unlikely hero. He had little experience in organized baseball, his swing was far from graceful, and he was assigned to play a position he had never tried before. But the biggest concern was his temper--Robinson was an angry man who played aggressively. In order to succeed he would have to control himself in the face of what promised to be a brutal assault by opponents of integration. Drawing on interviews with surviving players, sportswriters, and eyewitnesses, as well as newly discovered material from archives around the country, Jonathan Eig presents a fresh portrait of a ferocious competitor who embodied integration's promise and helped launch the modern civil-rights era.--From publisher description.… (more)

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