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