The second part of standard SSUSH22 is all about Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball. At first I was confused why the state of Georgia wanted us to know this, why is this so important. After thinking for a while, baseball was the first “all American” pastime. So including other ethnicities into this “all American” game, to me is almost like considering accepting them into American traditions. Once they were seen thriving in baseball, I think was a huge step in white Americans not only accepting them but appreciating them.
To fully understand, lets start from the beginning of desegregation of baseball. It all started when African American and white American soldiers fought side by side in world war 2. Baseball seemed like the next most logical place to desegregate. But, if the wrong athlete were chosen, the movement could go horribly wrong. Some potential candidates were; Satchel Paige, Silvio Garcia, and Josh Gibson. These had all been good possibilities, until they discovered Jackie Robinson. This wasn’t because Robinson was the best baseball player, he wasn’t. He was chosen because he was a good player, he had played on a minor league integrated team in the past, and he had done work for the civil rights movement on his own. And so, on April 15, 1947, Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers starting desegregation in professional baseball. Reactions were very mixed. Generally, the press liked him, I guess he would’ve made quite a story for them. Other players weren’t the same, some supported him, others refused to play with him, teams like the Cardinals refused to play the dodgers if Robinson would be in. The public was also very mixed, of course the African American community supported him. But, no matter what peoples responses were, there was a huge increase in African American MLB players, and by 1979, 26% of players were African American, which Is incredible.
From researching the information in this standard, I learned a lot about how hard it was to choose a representative of integrating baseball. I always just assumed that he was just such a good player that he got onto a team and that’s how It began. it really changes the way I see things now that I know that it wasn’t his choice, and that he wasn’t even the best player, he was chosen for his other characteristics and that is really cool and shows how much thought went into this entire plan.