Opening Day, 1947

Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season by Jonathan Eig is a detailed, authoritative account of one of the most important seasons in baseball history.

April 15, 1947, marked the most important opening day in baseball history. When Jackie Robinson stepped onto the diamond that afternoon at Ebbets Field, he became the first black man to break into major-league baseball in the twentieth century. World War II had just ended. Democracy had triumphed. Now Americans were beginning to press for justice on the home front—and Robinson had a chance to lead the way. Opening Day was published in 2007, on the 60th anniversary of Robinson’s first game. 323 pages

Opening Day will be available this spring for groups to discuss. It will be the first nonfiction addition to the Book Group in a Bag collection in mid-2017.  A kit of ten copies of the book plus a discussion guide can be borrowed through the BGIB system upon its completion.

The library has many biographies, children’s books, and videos on Jackie Robinson.

Check out the recent film on Robinson: 42.

History was made in 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the professional baseball race barrier to become the first African American MLB player of the modern era. 42 tells the life story of Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey.

Feel like a road trip? Next time you’re in Kansas City, stop at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in 18th & Vine Historic District. Vivid displays document the history of the Negro Leagues through uniforms, photos, documents, films and even the recreation of a Negro Leagues-era hotel room to show how players lived out on the road in segregated America (if they could even find a hotel–sleeping on buses, in rooming houses or in the back seats of cars were common workarounds for African American players). Carnivores can round out the neighborhood experience by walking a few hundred feet east on 14th Street to Brooklyn and have of Kansas City’s best barbecue at Arthur Bryant’s.

 

Matt Pettit

Matt is a Public Service Specialist for the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. His areas of responsibility include outreach library services to nursing homes, senior, retirement and congregate living centers; service to homebound library users; the Kansas Talking Books service; Book Group in a Bag program and the history and sports neighborhoods of the library’s nonfiction collection.