Jack Roosevelt Robinson (31 January 1919 – 24 October 1972) was an American professional baseball second baseman who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era.
- The kid was great. He was the difference. The Yankees certainly didn't miss Joe DiMaggio out there in center field today—and won't as long as that guy's around.
- On Mickey Mantle's role in the then just-concluded 1962 World Series, as quoted in "Mantle Follows Ruth, DiMaggio; Dodgers Agree—Mickey Beat Them" by Oscar Fraley (UP), The Pittsburgh Press (October 8, 1952)
- I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me. All I ask is that you respect me as a human being. I am not ashamed of my dark skin. You and every other white American should understand that we believe our color is an asset. Your dislike of my aggressiveness has no effect on me. I'm after something much more important than your favor or disfavor. You should at least respect me as a man who stands up for what he believes in. I am not an Uncle Tom. I am in this fight to stay.
- Responding, circa 1954, to an umpire who had known him 8 years before, and, somewhat taken aback at finding his old acquaintance much less ready to turn the other cheek, said "I liked you much better when you were less aggressive"; as quoted in Baseball Has Done It (1964) by Robinson, pp. 9-10
- The role of the manager is overrated, anyhow. Look at Stengel. When he was with the Yankees, loaded with material, he was a winner. When he moved over to the Mets, he finished last. They voted Casey the greatest living manager. That's a lot of bull—a joke. The only thing a manager has to do is relate to the players. Who did Casey ever relate to? Nobody but himself.
- As quoted in "Jackie Robinson Calls Stengel Overrated Pilot: Attacks Managerial Color Line On Clinic Faculty Discrimination Alleged" by the Associated Press, in The Washington Post (October 25, 1969)
- A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
- I Never Had It Made (1972) by Robinson, as told to Alfred Duckett; excerpted in "Why 'I Never Had It Made': Jackie Robinson's Own Story," Newsday (November 5, 1972)
Quotes about Robinson
- This is a particularly good year to campaign against the evils of bigotry, prejudice, and race hatred because we have witnessed the defeat of enemies who tried to found a mastery of the world upon such cruel and fallacious policy.
- On the coming arrival of Jackie Robinson into the minor leagues, in "Brotherhood Week" in The New York Times (17 February 1988)
- I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded.
- Leo Durocher, as quoted in Out of the Shadows : African American Baseball from the Cuban Giants to Jackie Robinson (2005) by Morgan Freedmon
- Today we must balance the tears of sorrow with the tears of joy. Mix the bitter with the sweet in death and life. Jackie as a figure in history was a rock in the water, creating concentric circles and ripples of new possibility. He was medicine. He was immunized by God from catching the diseases that he fought. The Lord's arms of protection enabled him to go through dangers seen and unseen, and he had the capacity to wear glory with grace. Jackie's body was a temple of God. An instrument of peace. We would watch him disappear into nothingness and stand back as spectators, and watch the suffering from afar. The mercy of God intercepted this process Tuesday and permitted him to steal away home, where referees are out of place, and only the supreme judge of the universe speaks.
- Jackie Robinson's eulogy delivered by Jesse Jackson, http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/p_robij5.shtml
- When things look dark, void, and altogether hopeless to the colored youth of America..., when they need an inspiring thought that should urge them onward to the road of achievement despite forbidding obstacles, they will only need to read of and reflect upon the remarkable career of Jackie Robinson.
- From the Kansas City Call, http://www.nyyfans.com/article.php?sid=746, quoted in Ken Burns' 1994 documentary Baseball
- You can hate a man for many reasons, his color isn't one of them.
- Pee Wee Reese (1947) Jackie Robinson's fellow Dodger and friend, on being asked by reporters why he openly put his arm around Robinson's shoulder when Robinson was viciously heckled by fans (whether this happened at all has been disputed; the where and the when of the event are impossible to know anymore), http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/20917/did-reese-really-embrace-robinson-in-47
- Jackie Robinson is the best I've seen. Robinson is the perfect blend of ball player. He has creativeness [sic] and imagination. Every move he makes from the minute he steps onto the field is designed to beat the other club. He's constantly asking himself, at bat or on the bases, "what can I do to beat the other guy?" That's the kind of ball player that wins pennants.
- Fresco Thompson, as quoted by in "Dumb Ball Players Don't Win; Robinson Perfect, Says Czar," Asbury Park Evening Press (July 3, 1955)
- I didn't know baseball from ping pong. But the point was that he had broken in. I grew inches that day. I puffed out my chest.
- No other player on this club with the possible exception of Bruce Edwards has done more to put the Dodgers up in the race than Robinson has. He is everything Branch Rickey said he was when he came up from Montreal.
Wikipedia has an article about Jackie Robinson