Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Negron: Thoughts On Jackie Robinson Day

This poem was sent to me this morning by Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle. It was done by a 7th grade student from Michigan. I thought I should share this with the world.

In 1947, the Dodgers were Brooklyn’s team;
And the man in charge had a dream.

To make baseball equal for all;
Because black players could not scream, “Play Ball”.

Oh, sure, “they” would play on dirt fields far and wide;
But never on a Major League diamond could a Negro hit, catch or slide.

The “other” league had great players, this is true;
Satchel, Josh, Cool-Papa to name a few.

But Mr. Rickey needed a man who “could turn the other cheek”;
He needed a player of courage, who would be strong, not weak.

For insults would be hurled and this man would be put to the test;
Throughout the season this man would have to be at his very best.

He would have to ignore the pain and vitriol;
Just to prove he could “Play Ball”
With those who scorned and loathed him;
With those whose lights burned dim.

From far out West he came;
Jack Robinson was his God-given name.

A great athlete from UCLA;
He starred for the Kansas City Monarchs during the day.
A base stealing threat and slugger by trade;
Branch Rickey knew this man was courageously made.

He would not wilt under the slings and barbs that were sure to come;
He would rise up and with his teammates become a “Brooklyn Bum”.

Starting in Montreal, he showed his baseball skill;
Staring down bigotry, he proved his will.

Earning a spot on the big-league roster;
Hate, resentment most fans and teammates would foster.

Donning number Forty Two, Jackie stepped onto Ebbets Field and heard a loud “boo”;
It got louder at each city he went; the fans, opponents all filled with resentment.

But, Robinson kept playing – Jackie persevered;
Singles he hit, catches he made and bases he cleared.

To the pennant the Dodgers he led, always remembering what Branch Rickey had said:
“You must turn the other cheek, be courageous, not weak”;

Rookie of the Year, MVP and Hall of Fame, are some awards Jackie Robinson earned;
But what makes him special, is that fire that burned.
To be the first, a trail blazer some might say;
So that players of all color could get a chance to play.

By Grace Boczar, 7th Grade, Plymouth Scholars School

Hey! Are you enjoying NYCTastemakers? Make sure to join our mailing list for NYCTM and never miss the chance to read all of our articles!