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Beyond Home Plate

Jackie Robinson on Life After Baseball

by Michael Long

Publication Year: 2013

When he first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Jackie Robinson broke a color barrier that reached back sixty years to the very origins of American baseball. He would go on to play in six World Series and help the Dodgers win the 1955 World Championship. But Robinson was much more than just a baseball player. This book collects columns which Robinson wrote primarily for the New York Post and the New York Amsterdam News, as well as including excerpts of letters between Robinson and politicians such as Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy. These writings portray Robinson as a deeply passionate, intelligent, and eloquent man with strongly-held convictions about the Civil Rights Movement and the political decisions which shaped America in the 1960s and ‘70s. He was also a devoted husband and father conflicted by his ability to provide the best for his children and his desire to keep them grounded in the struggles facing all African Americans at the time. Each column is preceded by a brief contextualizing introduction by Long, and Robinson’s columns are broken into three themes: “On Baseball and Golf,” “On Family and Friends,” and “On Civil Rights.” The brevity of the columns and Robinson’s vivid imagery and compelling voice make this an absorbing and often very moving read.

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 3-10


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

Rachel Robinson deserves my immediate thanks. She kindly granted me permission to publish the material included in this book, met with me to discuss an early version of the manuscript, and suggested points that I had overlooked in my analysis of her husband’s public life. ...

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Introduction: Keeping the Legacy Straight

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pp. xv-xxx

Jackie Robinson, a hero of the Republican Party? I simply could not believe it, but after surfing my way to GOP.com, I found it—a photograph of a youthful Robinson sporting his baseball uniform on a webpage titled “Heroes.” The brief bit of text under the photo was rather flat in its prose: ...

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1. On Baseball and Golf

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pp. 1-41

I’ll never forget the day Branch Rickey, former president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, asked me to join his baseball organization. I would be the first Negro to play in organized baseball—that is, if I were good enough to make the grade. ...

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2. On Family and Friends

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pp. 42-64

My own childhood is one reason I try to win all the time. When I was 1-year-old, my mother was left alone on a farm in Georgia with five small children. I’ve never seen my father. My mother took us in dirty Jim Crow coaches to Pasadena, Calif., and raised us there. ...

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3. On Civil Rights

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pp. 65-101

In our struggle for equal opportunity here in America, people very often ask: “What can I as an individual do to help?” For instance, I hear almost daily from both Negroes and whites who are anxious to be of some practical service in righting wrongs and opening doors. ...

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4. On Peace with Justice

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pp. 102-125

So it’s the same old story all over again. A Negro is boldly and brutally lynched in Mississippi. The murderers are reportedly known and identifi ed. And yet everybody claims there’s nothing whatsoever that can be done about it. ...

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5. On Politics with Principles

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pp. 126-154

Back in 1947 when I joined the Dodger baseball club, there were a couple of Dodgers who objected to Branch Rickey about my coming on the team. Later, however, they came to me to pass on tips as to how I might help win games. ...


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pp. 155-156

Back Cover

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pp. 191-192

E-ISBN-13: 9780815652182
E-ISBN-10: 0815652186
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815610014
Print-ISBN-10: 0815610017

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2013