Rickey and Robinson: The Preacher, the Player and America's Game
February 2000, ©2000, Wiley-Blackwell
On August 28, 1945, a scout for the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team escorted an intriguing, if not exactly youthful, prospect into the intriguing, if not exactly welcoming, office of a veteran baseball man who had already revolutionized the sport at least once. Jackie Robinson meet Branch Rickey.
What actually happened in that cluttered room over the course of the next few hours will never be known for certain, but without a doubt this meeting set in motion changes in major league baseball and in the nation that would echo long after the postwar became the Cold War.
Though baseball necessarily lies at the heart of this fascinating dual biography, the stories of these two remarkable men touch many of the most important issues and changes in American life from 1895-1970-the transition from rural to urban America, two World Wars and the war in Vietnam, the Red Scare, the evolution of mass media, and, of course, the Civil Rights movement-their lives spanning most of the century that they helped to shape. Alone, each story is a good one. Combined-and they can hardly be separated-the Rickey-Robinson story becomes compelling, even mythical.
For those readers not particularly interested in baseball, Rickey and Robinson will surely help them appreciate the game's place in American history. At the same time, those who do not have to be persuaded that baseball truly is America's game will treasure this remarkable work. This unique book is certain to make informative and entertaining reading for a variety of courses in sport history, recent America, popular culture, and the U.S. survey.
Preface and Acknowledgments vii
The First Inning 15
The Second Inning 43
The Third Inning 60
The Fourth Inning 82
The Fifth Inning 104
The Sixth Inning 143
The Seventh Inning 167
The Eighth Inning 191
The Ninth Inning 211
Photographs follow page 132
John C. “Chuck” Chalberg teaches American history at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota. He has written Emma Goldman: American Individualist and edited American Isolationism. In his other lives he performs one-man shows as Teddy Roosevelt, H. L. Mencken, G. K. Chesterton, and Branch Rickey.
Advanced Praise for Rickey & Robinson:
“Chalberg knows his men. This sprightly written dual biography breathes life into two fascinating men forever joined in out historical imagination.” – Larry R. Gerlach , Professor of History, University of Utah
“…a deft and entertaining account of the Rickey and Robinson saga. Based on a thorough knowledge of the secondary sources and great enthusiasm for the subject, this book should appeal to baseball historians and general readers alike.” – Steve Gietschier, The Sporting News
“A striking, provocative, and interesting book about two of the baseball giants of the 20th century… The changing world of baseball, the civil rights movement, and the American social landscape provide the canvas on which the lives o these two men unfold.” – Richard C. Crepeau, Professor of History, University of Central Florida