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2020 Winning Essay by Bradley Brook Russell

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Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson paved the way for unsegregated Major League Baseball (MLB). When he joined baseball, he broke the color barrier. He was the first African-American baseball player.  I choose Jackie Robinson for my love of baseball and without him, it would not be the game I love today.

When Jackie Robinson was young his older brothers were all into sports. He was the youngest sibling in his family but when he grew up, he played football, basketball, and long jump. He played in the Negro league when out of the blue the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers approached him and asked him for a spot on the Dodgers but for one condition “...you can’t fight people.” Jackie replies with, “So... you want a sissy who can’t fight?” the owner replies with “No, I want someone smart enough to not fight.” That’s when Jackie realized this could change his life maybe even the world if he didn’t take this opportunity.

Jackie Robinson did change the world by being the first African-American to play in the major leagues. He joined the Dodgers in 1947 and by doing so, he broke the color barrier and ended racial segregation in major league baseball. Even though he was threatened with his life millions, maybe billions of times he didn’t fight. He stood there and took it like a man. Without him, baseball would have been different, in ways we can’t even imagine. Great players like Albert Pujols, Josh Gibson, Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby, and Hank Aaron would’ve never made a debut to major league baseball.

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. He started a revolution that will last on until the end of time. Right now, racism may be a touchy subject but we all are fighting it like Jackie Robinson did. Look at how professional sports teams are making changes to fight racism today. If you look at basketball, for example, most of the players have things like “equality”, “peace”, and “justice” on their jerseys instead of their names. Others are trying things like only having their number on their jersey to show that they are as equal as the person standing next to them.  Some sports teams are even changing their names, so they won’t be offensive. 

In conclusion, I feel that Jackie Robinson should be honored for his great deeds like destroying the color barrier by being the first African-American to play major league baseball. He realized that he would be affecting more than just himself. To me, he matters a lot because he ended segregation in the major leagues. He showed America that different races could play together and cheer each other on.  Today it is still important to acknowledge the fact that all lives matter.  By doing that we honor him and each other.

Submitted August 28, 2020