Only one major league baseball player has ever had his jersey number retired from use in his honor – can you guess who that is? None other than Jackie Robinson, who – as some baseball-loving kids probably already know – broke the color barrier as a Brooklyn Dodger back in the ’40s, paving the way for other players of color. In this issue, the barrier-busting life of Jackie Robinson, for kids, gets the full run-down, from his early days as a spirited child, growing up on a plantation in Georgia, to his eventual inclusion in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Kids will learn how Robinson stood up to discrimination as a young soldier during World War II, refusing to sit in the “Negro” section of a military bus, and how he took this attitude of quiet determination with him when he joined the Dodgers as the first black player in 1947. Although fans and other players taunted him, he never once responded to their attacks. He turned out to be not only a great player – he was named Rookie of the Year, and later, Most Valuable Player – but a great man who opened doors for others. After retiring, he was active in the civil rights movement, and his foundation continues to give scholarships to deserving black college students. Jackie Robinson, for kids interested in real sports heroes, definitely fits the bill.