Legacy of a pivotal player
Jonathan Eig's Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season recalls events of 1947 when, under intense media and public scrutiny, Robinson made history as the opening day first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers and major league baseball's first African-American player. Eig sets up the reader nicely with personal background on Robinson, charting his multi-sport college success at UCLA, his stint in the Negro Leagues and his singular relationship with Branch Rickey, the legendary executive who determined that Robinson was the right man to break the color barrier. Then follows a blow-by-blow account of Robinson's inaugural season, including his experiences (both bad and good) with fellow players and fans throughout the National League. Robinson had a key role in leading the Dodgers to the World Series at season's end, while also winning the first-ever Rookie of the Year Award for his stellar play. Moreover, he proved that a black man could combine courage with skill and earn respect on his own terms.