In 1997 the American people will celebrate with great fanfare and publicity the fiftieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson's explosive entrance into major league baseball. Robinson has become a national icon, his name a virtual synonym for pathbreaker. Indeed, much has transpired between this young African-American's first bold strides around the baseball diamonds of a segregated America and General Manager Bob Watson's pride in assembling 1996 World Champion New York Yankees. Recognizing this monumental event in America's continuing struggle for integration, Jules Tygiel has expanded his highly acclaimed Baseball's Great Experiment. In a new afterword, he addresses the mythology surrounding Robinson's achievements, his overall effect on baseball and other sports, and the enduring legacy Robinson has left for African Americans and American society.
In this gripping account of one of the most important steps in the history of American desegregation, Tygiel tells the story of Jackie Robinson's crossing of baseball's color line. Examining the social and historical context of Robinson's introduction into white organized baseball, both on and off the field, Tygiel also tells the often neglected stories of other African-American playerssuch as Satchel Paige, Roy Campanella, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaronwho helped transform our national pastime into an integrated game. Drawing on dozens of interviews with players and front office executives, contemporary newspaper accounts, and personal papers, Tygiel provides the most telling and insightful account of Jackie Robinson's influence on American baseball and society.