Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 16, 2013/ 6 Iyar, 5773

Jackie Robinson's achievement

By Rich Lowry




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Before he triumphed over prejudice, Jackie Robinson triumphed over himself.

The signal achievements of the pioneering baseball star, whose story is recounted in the top-grossing biopic "42," were perseverance and self-control. In the face of hatred from fans and opposing players, he showed no anger. In response to isolation from his teammates, he betrayed no self-pity. He went out every day and swung the bat and ran the bases and fielded his position, and displayed the character that his detractors lacked. He was the gentleman, they were the haters, the rubes, the rotten teammates.

"42" is a paean to discipline and to an ethic that has eroded badly in American sporting life, and in our national life in general: "Please, don't express yourself or feel sorry for yourself, don't make excuses, don't worry about what someone else is doing or saying, just go out and do your job." In Jackie Robinson's circumstances in 1947 -- the year he broke into the big leagues and the focus of the film -- adherence to this quotidian standard constituted notable courage.

The first meeting between Robinson and Branch Rickey, when the team honcho broached making him a Brooklyn Dodger, with all the pressure and abuse that would entail, is one of the most mythogenic episodes in baseball history. Rickey shouted insults at Robinson and demanded to know how he would respond to such provocation. Robinson asked if Rickey wanted a player who lacked the guts to fight back. Rickey responded, "I want a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back."

The two men were Methodists and discussed the example of Christ, although Robinson hadn't excelled at turning the other cheek at the humiliations of Jim Crow-era America. As Jonathan Eig writes in his book "Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season," Robinson grew up without a father, and his mother worked as a maid in Pasadena, Calif. When as a boy a white girl taunted him with a racial epithet, he called her a "cracker" right back. The girl's father and Robinson ended up throwing stones at one another.

As a young man stationed at Camp Hood in Texas during World War II, he got court-martialed. One day, Lt. Robinson refused to move to the back of the bus when the driver told him to, and exploded in rage when the driver called him "n-----." He was arrested, but eventually cleared of all charges.

Rickey hadn't sought out a shrinking violet. "He wanted someone big enough and strong enough to intimidate," Eig writes, "and someone intelligent enough to understand the historic nature of his role." We never would have heard of Robinson, of course, if he hadn't been a supremely gifted athlete (Rickey wanted to win the pennant, as well as do right). But baseball history is full of those; it is Robinson's dignity when confronted with so many indignities that sets him apart.

Baseball then had a distinctively Southern flavor that could make even players who were white ethnics feel uncomfortable. A contingent of Robinson's own teammates wanted to boycott him, and so did rival players. He couldn't stay in some of the team's hotels. He got death threats. In a game early in the season, Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman and his players viciously abused him. Robinson envisioned throwing his bat down and attacking his tormentors. During all of this, he slumped and thought about quitting, but kept on going, and eventually his talent spoke louder than words.

A legendary image -- memorialized in a bronze statue outside the ballpark of the minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones -- is of Kentucky-born Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese draping his arm around Robinson on the field, in a gesture of support and in a rebuke to hostile fans. It may or may not have happened that way. But it's hard to make a statue to the essence of Robinson's accomplishment, to the lonely resolve one at-bat and one inning at a time.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Rich Lowry Archives

© 2012 King Features Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles