Jackie Robinson

By in Leadership, Sports Leaders






“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” 

-Jackie Robinson




Jackie Robinson broke down the racial barriers in professional baseball by serving as the first African-American player ever in the league. His courageous assertiveness during a time where racial discrimination dwelled all over the country continues to inspire all people even today. Robinson’s resilient personality willingness to persevere against all odds “is a classic example of human achievement under adverse circumstances.”[1] On top of being an exceptional ball player, he also contributed to society as a role model for African-American athletes in the 1940’s and 50’s. His short ten-year career in the majors, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, was plagued with racial biases and prejudice people looking down on him. But he overcame the racial boundaries and played in six all-star games, won a National League MVP award, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. As Robinson famously says, “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” He touched a lot of people in his life and his legend continues to live on in baseball stadiums around the country as the honor one of the most inspirational baseball pioneers in the world.

[1] Weaver, Bill. “The Black Press and the Assault on Professional Baseball’s “Color Line,” (303).




On January 31, 1919, a single mother unknowingly gave birth to one of America’s greatest heroes in Cairo, Georgia. As a southern African-american boy in the South, Jackie Robinson faced a lot of racial discrimination and prejudices. However, that did not stop his passion for athletics: specifically baseball, football, track, tennis and basketball. After attending high school then junior college, Robinson participated on the football, track, basketball, and baseball teams at University of California, Los Angeles. Aside from being an outstanding athlete, Robinson also contributed to the community as a phenomenal student and role model. At the latter part of World War II, Jackie Robinson got drafted to serve in the United States military as a second lieutenant. Although it seemed like Jackie’s life was on the rise, his military career had come to a deliberate downfall when he faced various charges from racist officers at multiple camps. He received an honorable discharge in November of 1944 and attempted to salvage what he could of his athletic career. Jackie played as a professional in the Negro Baseball league for a season. While his statistics tended to not signify his true potential, some Major League Baseball teams had interest in him; or not necessarily him but any willing African-American ballplayer with decent skills. Which eventually led to the famous discovery of Jackie Robinson by Branch Rickey, president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.






Branch Rickey saw a lot of promise in Jackie Robinson and a few other African-American prospects. Knowing the endless scrutiny the first ever black professional baseball player could endure over his career, Rickey knew his prospects must be physically tough, but more importantly mentally tough. In an interview with Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey famously claimed, “I know you are a good player, what I don’t know is whether you have the guts.” In the interview, the Dodgers General manager attacked Jackie with racist insults. He proceeded to “put the vulgar epithets of the ball field in Robinson’s face, even swung a fist at his head and evoked a base-runner sliding spikes up to cut Robinson’s leg or hand, sneering ‘How do you like that, nigger boy?’”[1] After hours of this type of assault, Branch Rickey determined that Jackie would act as the first African-American ball player to break down the racial boundaries in professional baseball. Jackie’s experience in that interview was only the beginning as the type of scrutiny he received in and out of games completely surpassed anything Rickey could have said in the interview. The reason why Jackie is so revered even today in baseball is due to his resilience against all the maltreatment he received in the league. Many times in his professional career, Jackie could have easily cracked under the pressure if not for his teammate, Pee Wee Reese who befriended him immediately. Even the Dodger’s locker room had been racist as many southerner played on the team, which is why Pee Wee Reese played such a crucial part in Jackie’s early professional baseball career. In 1947, Jackie Robinson was called up to the majors to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and racial tensions arose in the league and even in his own locker room. But Pee Wee Reese was there to support and aid him during his trouble with Dodger teammates and assimilation into the league. With the help of Reese and Branch Rickey, Jackie strived in the league, receiving several astonishing accolades in his career. He helped the Dodgers win a World Series in 1955 while also winning an MVP award in 1949. Robinson additionally was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and his jersey number, 42, was retired by every single major league team.

[1] Kelly, John. “Integrating America: Jackie Robinson, Critical Events And Baseball Black And White.” (1011-1035) 


Jackie’s Accomplishments


Jackie Robinson became the first ever African-American person to play in Major League Baseball in 1947. He continued to face scrutiny in the league because of his race for many years but still managed to be named National League Rookie of the Year in 1947. As well as gaining several accolades for his accomplishments in baseball, Jackie became a strong advocate for the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s and helped inspire many followers of the movement. He once wrote a letter to President Lyndon Johnson and stated, “Thank you for pursuing a course towards Civil Rights that no other President in our history has pursued.”[1] His support of the Civil Rights Movement not only appears in his verbal statements or letters but also in his actions of playing baseball in a strictly white league. Following his appearance in professional baseball, all professional sports began to become more integrated and accepting of minorities. Jackie Robinson truly changed the way sports are today. He won a World Series Championship with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955 and a National League Most Valuable Player award in 1949. Jackie’s willingness to overcome adversity and challenge the way the American people view sports now and in the future.

[1] Jackie Robinson, Letter to President Lyndon Johnson (1967)


Jackie as a Leader


Jackie Robinson’s resilience in the face of hardship is uncanny. He will always be remembered as the person who broke down racial barriers in baseball as well as being an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement in America. Not only was he an advocate for the movement but many people regard him as a catalyst saying “the integration of MLB in 1947 has long been considered a triumph in America’s ongoing battle with racism and racial discrimination. And undeniably significant accomplishment, Branch Rickey’s signing of Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946 indubitably evokes altruistic feelings of racial progress in America.”[1] Jackie’s courage proves to be an essential part of his role as a leader in America during the mid 20th century. Through his unparalleled courage, he inspired followers to keep on in his footsteps, which resulted in all American sports being vastly diverse today. Self-examination played a crucial role in Jackie Robinson’s career. Often times he became so frustrated with the racial tension that he almost snapped, but at those moments, he even knew that what he could accomplish was bigger than one man; he was in the process of starting a transformation in all sports. Often times, critiques may assert that Jackie wasn’t good enough or qualified to play in the majors or that it was just an a successful experiment. Nonetheless, he endured the adversities and strived through them and ultimately became one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Jackie Robinson’s legacy will live on as long as the MLB exists and he will always be recognized as the person who overcame and broke down racial obstacles in the American sports.

[1] DeLorme, Joshua, and John Singer. “The Interest Convergence Principle and the Integration of Major League Baseball.” (367-384)






Ardolino, Frank. “A Name, A Number, And A Picture: The Cinematic Memorialization Of Jackie Robinson.” Journal of Popular Film and Television, vol. 33, no. 3 (2005) 151-159.

DeLorme, Joshua, and John Singer. “The Interest Convergence Principle and the Integration of Major League Baseball.” Journal of Black Studies Vol. 89, no. No. 3 (2010): P. 367-384.

Dorinson, Joseph. “Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson: Athletes and Activists at Armageddon.” Pennsylvania History Vol. 66, No. 1, 16-26.

Edelman, Rob. “The Jackie Robinson Story: A Reflection of Its Era.” NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture Vol. 20, no. 1 (2011): 40-55.

Kelly, John. “Integrating America: Jackie Robinson, Critical Events And Baseball Black And White.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 22, no. 6 (2005): 1011-1035.

Robinson, Jackie. Letter to President Lyndon Johnson. 1967. 

Stout, Glenn. “Tryout and Fallout: Race, Jackie Robinson, and the Red Sox.” Massachusetts Historical Review Vol. 6 (2004): 11-37.

Stride, Christopher, Pfion Thomas, and Maureen Smith. “Ballplayer or Barrier Breaker? Branding through the Seven Statues of Jackie Robinson.” International Journal of the History of Sport vol. 31, no. 17 (2014): 2164-2196.

Weaver, Bill. “The Black Press and the Assault on Professional Baseball’s “Color Line,” October, 1945-April, 1947.” Phylon (1960-2002) Vol. 40, No. 4 (1979): P. 303-317.







Timothy Lorber was born on August 8, 19996 in Baltimore, Maryland. He has lived my entire life fifteen minutes outside of the city of Baltimore in a town called Lutherville. As a kid he always attended Catholic schools, from kindergarten to 12th grade. Timothy attended Immaculate Conception Grade School until 5th grade then I went to Loyola Blakefield High School from 6th grade to 12th. All throughout his life he played basketball, lacrosse, and football but in high school Timothy played lacrosse and football. Currently, he plays division 1 lacrosse at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York. He chose this college because of the athletics programs, access to Manhattan, and small class environments. He intends to major in business and possibly minor in marketing but Timothy is currently undeclared.