Cover image for Carrying Jackie's torch : the players who integrated baseball-- and America
Carrying Jackie's torch : the players who integrated baseball-- and America
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Chicago : Lawrence Hill Books, c2007.
Physical Description:
xxiii, 264 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Equal but separate : before Jackie changed everything -- He made his own history : Monte Irvin might have been first -- Second, and second to none : Larry Doby bears the burden with grace -- A closed world opens up : Ed Charles finds there is a chance -- Worse than you imagine : Mudcat Grant dodged the bullets -- Looking back with regret : Ernie Banks was playing baseball -- The pinstripes go black and white : Elston Howard hid the pain -- You know you go in the back door : Alvin Jackson reports to spring training -- I'm no Jackie Robinson : too much bigotry for Charlie Murray -- Recognition 50 years later : Chuck Harmon gets his own street -- Sometimes people live and learn : Maury Wills finds a white ally -- Forever is not too long to wait : Emmett Ashford umpires alone -- Most valuable attitude : Frank Robinson made them better -- The best of them don't always understand : Tommy Davis reminds the Dodgers of their heritage -- Living up to his own image : Bob Gibson overcomes the stereotype -- Joan of Arc of baseball : Curt Flood sacrifices his career -- Breaking that record and bigoted hearts : Henry Aaron sets the record -- What would Jackie do : Dusty Baker finds his answers -- Coping with the ever-present danger : Lou Brock outsmarted the threats -- The only Black in the room : Bob Watson wears a necktie -- Epilogue : We integrated baseball and America followed.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 920 JAC 1 1
Book 796.3570922 JAC 0 1

On Order



The real and painful struggles of the black players who followed Jackie Robinson into major and minor league baseball from 1947 through 1968 are chronicled in this compelling volume. Players share their personal and often heart-wrenching stories of intense racism, both on and off the field, mixed with a sometimes begrudged appreciation for their tremendous talents. Stories include incidents of white players who gave up promising careers in baseball because they wouldn't play with a black teammate, the Georgia law that forbade a black player from dressing in the same clubhouse as the white players, the quotas for the number of blacks on a team, and how salary negotiations without agents or free agency were akin to a plantation system for both black and white players. The 20 players profiled include Ernie Banks, Alvin Jackson, Charlie Murray, Chuck Harmon, Frank Robinson, Bob Gibson, Hank Aaron, Curt Flood, Lou Brock, and Bob Watson.

Author Notes

Steve Jacobson is an award-winning sports journalist and author. A sports reporter and columnist for Newsday for 44 years, he was nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize, awarded first prize by the Associated Press of New York for his coverage of the 1986 World Series, and recognized as one of the Top Five Sports Columnists numerous times by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is the author of The Best Team Money Could Buy and The Pitching Staff: A Classic Portrait of Baseball's Most Unique Fraternity, and the coauthor of Nolan Ryan, Strike-Out King and Tom Seaver's Baseball Is My Life . In 2004 he created, interviewed, and helped script the documentary Jackie's Disciples for ESPN. He lives on Long Island in New York.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Veteran Newsday sports reporter Jacobson sticks mainly to the facts in this story of the African-American players who followed Jackie Robinson's lead into the major leagues. In his portraits of these 19 greats-who range from stars like Hank Aaron to lesser-knowns such as Mudcat Grant and Ed Charles-Jacobson bemoans the fate of so many might-have-beens and celebrates the success of the lucky few who actually received their just rewards. The hardships were legion, with almost every player recounting the difficulties of traveling a segregated country in the pre-civil rights era, when black athletes often couldn't patronize the same restaurants or the same hotels as their white teammates. In 1962 the St. Louis Cardinals helped bust down Jim Crow laws in Florida by buying their own hotel in St. Petersburg to avoid the problem during spring training. Although Jacobson's pen is a pedestrian one, he imparts a good many details on almost every page, due to the incomparable character of the men gathered in this honor roll of bravery. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Martin Luther King Jr. said that his journey was made easier because people like Jackie Robinson came before him and challenged segregation. Jacobson, a longtime sportswriter for Newsday, interviewed 19 African Americans--18 players and one umpire--who followed Robinson into professional baseball from 1947 to 1968. The stories reveal the courage, humiliation, and pain of these men as they faced the brutality of racial discrimination. Thanks to their talent and determination, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks, and Henry Aaron endured and went on to become major league stars. For others, such as Charlie Murray, bigotry won out and drove them from the game. Jacobson vividly captures these men who, as Robinson himself put it, "never had it made." Because so many of these stories cover the same ground, with heartbreaking anguish, readers will get a sense of deja vu as they move through the book. Baseball fans will respond to the book as they do the game's hall of fame: they will wonder why certain players are in it and others are not. For example, what about "Pumpsie" Green, the first black to play for the Boston Red Sox, the last major league team to be integrated? The book deserves a better title than the unnecessary cliche with which it is saddled. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-/upper-division undergraduates; general readers. C. J. Lamb College of Charleston

Library Journal Review

In this informally delivered offering of 19 life stories, Jacobson, a longtime sports reporter for Newsday, underscores the anguish and the accomplishments of black Major League players. Seeking to go beyond the familiar tales of Jackie Robinson and many top Negro League players, he nevertheless explores the lives and times of Monte Irvin and Larry Doby but also presents accounts of lesser-known figures, including Ed Charles, Alvin Jackson, and Chuck Harmon. The author also discusses Ernie Banks's love for the game; the pain the first black New York Yankee, Elston Howard, endured; the athletic genius of Frank Robinson, Bob Gibson, and Henry Aaron; and the heroic battles waged by Curt Flood, Lou Brock, and Bob Watson. Jacobson's style is casual, sometimes a bit too much so, but the message of lengthy racial barriers, crass insensitivity, dogged determination, and marked triumphs comes through. Altogether, this volume makes a contribution to the ever-expanding literature on America's game and the role played by its black competitors, including the path forged by organized baseball's first black umpire, Emmett Ashford. Recommended for public libraries.-R.C. Cottrell, California State Univ., Chico (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Equal But Separate: Before Jackie Changed Everything
He Made His Own History: Monte Irvin Might Have Been First
Second, and Second to None: Larry Doby Bears the Burden with Grace
A Closed World Opens Up: Ed Charles Finds There Is a Chance
Worse Than You Imagine: Mudcat Grant Dodged the Bullets
Looking Back with Regret: Ernie Banks Was Playing Baseball
The Pinstripes Go Black and White: Elston Howard Hid the Pain
You Know You Go in the Back Door: Alvin Jackson Reports to Spring Training
I'm No Jackie Robinson: Too Much Bigotry for Charlie Murray
Recognition 50 Years Later: Chuck Harmon Gets His Own Street
Sometimes People Live and Learn: Maury Wills Finds a White Ally
Forever Is Not Too long to Wait: Emmett Ashford Umpires Alone
Most Valuable Attitude: Frank Robinson Made Them Better
The Best of Them Don't Always Understand: Tommy Davis Reminds the Dodgers of their Heritage
Living Up to His Own Image: Bob Gibson Overcomes the Stereotype
Joan of Arc of Baseball: Curt Flood Sacrifices His Career
Breaking That Record and Bigoted Hearts: Henry Aaron Sets the Record
What Would Jackie Do: Dusty Baker Finds His Answers
Coping with the Ever-Present Danger: Lou Brock Outsmarted the Threats