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SPORTS HERO:
JACKIE ROBINSON
by Brandon from Selden, New York

To me, a hero is someone you can look up to; someone whom you can admire for their qualities and the obstacles they have overcome. I chose Jackie Robinson, baseball's civil rights legend, as my hero. Jackie Robinson is my hero because he is an ambitious, determined, fearless, and remarkable man. I admire him for his perseverance and influence on America during the rough trials and tribulations he faced. He was determined to be the first black baseball player in the modern era, and he accomplished his goal with courage and patience. Even with all the taunting and threats he received, Jackie Robinson never gave up. He was a daring, fearless, and friendly man, which makes him an admirable figure. In my opinion, Jackie Robinson is one of the most influential and remarkable people in baseball history.

Jackie steals home.

Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, the grandson of a slave, was born in a cabin in Cairo, Georgia, on January 31, 1919. He had four siblings: Edgar, Frank, Mack, and Willa Mae. The Robinsons sharecropped for a white family called the Sassers. They grew crops for Mr. Sasser, and in exchange got a place to live and chits, which were used at Mr. Sasser's store. However, Jackie's father deserted the family when he was six months old. Marlie Robinson, Jackie's mother, decided to move to Pepper Street in Pasadena, California to give her children a better life. Soon, Robinson realized his athletic ability, and went on to do incredible things.

Between 1937 and 1945, Jackie Robinson did many incredible things people thought impossible to be done by an African American, and some that changed his life. In 1937, Robinson attended Pasadena Junior College, and in 1939 went to UCLA. Robinson became UCLA's first four letter athlete, excelling in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field. In 1940, he met Rachel Isum, who always praised him when he was feeling down, and later became his wife. He was drafted into the army in March, 1942, and later on became a morale officer. Some coaches of sports teams in the army even laughed at him when he tried out for the team. After leaving the army, he joined the negro league for baseball, playing for the Kansas City Monarchs, but encountered Jim Crow Laws, which segregated whites and blacks. He quit soon thereafter, but had no idea of how to make money. Not too long after, Robinson met Branch Rickey for a meeting that changed his life.

In his early life, Jackie Robinson went through some tough times. That all turned around when he met Branch Rickey. On August 28, 1945, Rickey chose Robinson out of one hundred others for his little experiment. He had chosen Robinson to be the first player to integrate baseball. Robinson was warned about the abuse he would take, but took the job. On April 18, 1946, Robinson played for the Dodgers minor league team, the Montreal Royals. Robinson was very nervous and under a huge amount of pressure. For the next year, Robinson had the courage and bravery to endure the taunting and torment that was to come.

As number forty-two, Jackie Robinson made his major league debut on April 15, 1947. Rachel and five-month-old Jackie Jr., and fourteen thousand African Americans came to the game. Some team members created a petition to stop Robinson from joining the team, but failed when Dodger manager Leo Durocher learned about it. The first game was very unremarkable because nothing extraordinary happened. During the course of the year, rival players kicked and spit at him, and some people sent him letters threatening the lives and safety of himself and his family. Robinson started having doubts about playing MLB, but he persevered anyway. Racism from fans and rival players was incredible, but only made Robinson channel it into his performance. 1947 was a great year for Robinson performance-wise, as he opened the door for integrated play.

Jackie Robinson overcame many obstacles in his life, which give him the qualifications to be my hero. His wife, Rachel, had given them Jackie Jr. It was very hard for Jackie Robinson to support his family. All the discouraging letters did not make it any easier, but Jackie Robinson never gave up. Jackie Robinson also was a very talented and ambitious man. He helped the Dodgers to a World Series, and fans repaid him with taunts and racism.

Perhaps the most important reason I look up to Jackie Robinson as a hero is because he opened the door to Major League Baseball for African Americans. This was a very difficult and tedious task to accomplish, and Robinson was the right man for the job. For most of his career, he was glorified for his playing ability and always spoke his mind. Jackie Robinson was also a hero to many people. He was a spokesperson for his people, a national hero, and an important historical figure. Robinson was always greeting new players on the team and making them feel welcome, showing them great kindness. He always went out of his way to help rookies play their best. He wouldn't stop at anything to end discrimination and segregation in America.

Jackie Robinson is an important public figure. He was well known and very popular. I look up to him for his courage and persistence through the battle against discrimination. After ten years in MLB, Robinson retired. The NAACP named February 16, 1958 Jackie Robinson Day, in his memory. Robinson helped blaze the trail for the Civil Rights movement. Robinson also helped Martin Luther King, Jr. raise money for his organization.

On January 23, 1962, an event happened that left Robinson speechless. It was announced that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was the first African American to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which is another reason he is my hero. Jackie Robinson made the quest for equal rights possible. Unfortunately, not soon after, Jackie Jr. died in a car crash in the spring of 1971, when he was only twenty-four years old. His death was mourned by his father, but eventually, he moved on with his life.

During the course of his life, Jackie Robinson had to endure much racism, discrimination, and segregation. Some hotels refused to take him and Rachel in. Some restaurants wouldn't even let them sit in the dining room! City officials sometimes wouldn't let the Dodgers play in the city because they had an African American on the team. As you can see, it was a rough time for African Americans.

Jackie Robinson also had a long list of leg problems. Toward the end of his life, he was scheduled to get his leg amputated. On October 24, 1972, fifty-three-year-old Jackie Robinson died of a heart attack. That day was a sad day for America. From that day on, Jackie Robinson would be known as baseball's civil rights legend.

In conclusion, Jackie Robinson is my hero because of his perseverance, determination, and courage. He blazed the trail for integrated play in baseball. He was the first African American inducted into the Hall of Fame. Robinson is one of the most influential people in baseball history. He will forever be known as baseball's civil right's legend. Even today, Jackie Robinson is a part of us all.


Written by Brandon from Selden, New York
Last changed on: 5/21/2010 12:15:19 PM

The Official Website of Jackie Robinson Read more about "Baseball's Barrier Breaker."

The Jackie Robinson Foundation is a national, not–for–profit, organization founded in 1973 as a vehicle to perpetuate the memory of Jackie Robinson through the advancement of higher education among underserved populations.

The Library of Congress American Memory Baseball and Jackie Robinson

Baseball Hall of Fame Jackie Robinson

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