♪ (man) This is the story of a boy and his dream… but more than that… it is the story of an American boy… and a dream that is truly American. ♪ The year… 1928. The time… spring. If you were a young man, your thoughts were undoubtedly turning to those of love. But if you were a young boy, your thoughts were of one thing… baseball.
Give me some high ones! Come on! Here… right over here! Give me a fast one! Crack! Give me one… come on! Come on… I’ll show you how! Crack! Give me a good high one! Great bunch of infielders we got.
02:06 - Yeah, big leaguers. Phump. Hit me one, mister? What do you want? Grounders, flies, anything.
02:17 - Watch this. Crack! Right here… come on! How’s that for a ballplayer? Yeah, we ought to give him another chance.
02:27 - Hey, kid, you want another? (kid) Yes, sir. Here it comes! Crack! Hey, kid, come here a minute.
02:43 - Now, don’t tell me that one didn’t sting. Just a little bit.
02:47 - Haven’t you got a glove? No, sir.
02:49 - Come here a minute. You mean I can borrow this? No… you can have it.
03:05 - For keeps? For keeps! Yea!!! ♪ (kid) Mom! Mom! Yes, Jackie? Look, Mom! Where’d you get it? A man gave it to me.
03:20 - Torn! You can sew it up. Oh, Jackie! Heh-heh-heh ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Jackie! Yes, Mom? Sew ‘em on like that? No, Mom.
04:16 - The way you have them now reads. “Junior Pasadena College. ” That way, Mom.
04:22 - Pasadena Junior College. Of course.
04:24 - How’d I get it mixed up like that? My, my…
04:28 - They wouldn’t know who I’d be jumping for at the track meet.
04:31 - That what your brother Mack won a medal for? That what you’re talkin’ about? Won a medal? When Mack jumped for Pasadena Junior College he broke the National Junior College record and nobody has jumped that far since.
04:42 - That’s nice! Heh-heh ♪ This kid jumped 25 feet, 6 1⁄2 inches, Bill.
04:56 - Broke his brother’s record. Do you think maybe he could, ah, jump over that Southern Cal line? He led the conference in TDs.
05:04 - Only, there’s one problem, Bill. You mean the Trojans have already got him? Heh… no, no.
05:09 - He’s a colored boy. I heard somebody squawking about giving colored boys too many athletic scholarships.
05:15 - Colored boys are all right with me, if they’re the right color.
05:19 - The right color? I like a good, clean, American boy with a B average.
05:23 - If that’s the kind of a boy you’re talking about- his colors are blue and gold. UCLA colors, huh? That’s right, and you can tell it to Robinson for me.
05:37 - ♪ Fvee-fvee-fvwheet! Come on, Jackie, come on.
05:55 - Come on, boy. Come on, Jackie. Come on! You’re his brother, aren’t you? That’s right.
06:01 - You’re Mack Robinson. I ran against you when you were at Oregon.
06:05 - Oh, sure, you ran for Southern Cal. Pete Schubeck… this is my wife.
06:08 - Hello, Mack. How do you do? This is Rae Isum, Jackie’s girl.
06:12 - - Hello. - Glad to know you. What are you doing these days? Oh, I got a good, steady job.
06:17 - Glad to hear it. Come on, Jackie. Tweet-tweet. Easing up? Yeah, a lot.
06:36 - What’s the matter with those guys, giving it to Jack like that just because he’s…
06:41 - Because he’s the best halfback on the field.
06:43 - Oh, yeah… yeah, sure. And Jackie, I wasn’t kidding about that either.
06:49 - They have a lot of respect for you out there.
06:52 - I have a lot of respect for them too.
06:55 - Believe me. How’s Mack been doing lately? I always liked Mack.
07:00 - Mack? Oh, Mack’s doin’ fine. ♪ Been waitin’ long? No, just got here.
07:22 - Somebody told me you got an honorable mention on the All-American.
07:25 - Did I? Somebody else told me you cut class this morning.
07:28 - Could be. Was it because you worked late last night? And I went to see about a better job…
07:34 - A full-time job. Why now? You’ve still got some time before you graduate.
07:38 - If I graduate. Oh. Suppose I finish out the year.
07:42 - I’m no further along than when I started…
07:44 - No closer to getting a half-decent job so I can afford to get married.
07:48 - Who are you thinking of marrying, Mr. Robinson? Oh, you know who.
07:52 - Your mother’ll take it hard if you quit school now.
07:55 - Yes, I know. You ought to talk to her before you do anything…
07:59 - And to Mack. Yeah… it was Mack I was thinking of.
08:04 - ♪ Well, if you’d just wait till June and get your diploma…
08:12 - A lot of good a college education did Mack.
08:14 - Well, Mack’s all right. He’s got a job.
08:17 - Yeah… a good, steady job. ♪ Hey, Mack! ♪ What are you doing here this time of night? I fixed you some lunch.
08:45 - Here, catch! Man, that’s really smart signal callin’.
08:51 - I thought you’d be hungry. I’m always hungry. Sit awhile? Sure.
08:58 - ♪ Anything botherin’ you? I wanna quit college.
09:05 - Right after the basketball season. What for? I gotta get a job.
09:10 - I wanna marry Rae. School’s one thing, but…
09:13 - You and Mom can’t support Rae too. Can’t it wait till you graduate? What good will a degree do me? They’re not hiring colored football coaches.
09:21 - Not our color anyway. Don’t you want to play baseball this season? What good will that do me? Baseball’s one sport they’ll never let me in.
09:30 - Yeah, it’s your best sport too. I wonder if there’s any place where they will let you in.
09:39 - Here’s one place nobody draws the color line.
09:42 - Yeah… great job for a college man. May not be a great job, but it’s steady.
09:49 - ♪ ♪ ♪ Nice going that half, Jackie.
10:11 - Thanks a lot. What’s this I hear about you quitting? Yeah, right after the basketball season.
10:18 - We’ll miss you, fella. You got a job lined up? No, not yet.
10:22 - What about those letters to high schools? Any answers? Three.
10:26 - What’d they say? The first school didn’t want me for a coach.
10:29 - The second school didn’t want me for a coach.
10:32 - And, heh, the third school… They just didn’t want me.
10:40 - Any mail for me? Five more letters.
10:42 - Business must be good. Let’s open ‘em.
10:49 - Pickwick College doesn’t want any coaches. Bainbridge either.
10:55 - See what’s in this one. Horton U. Says sorry.
11:01 - Western State… no soap. Uh-oh… you’ve got a job, brother.
11:08 - I have? What does it say? Listen to this…
11:14 - “From the President of the United States. Greetings!” ♪ (woman) He sure writes interesting letters. (Rae) Oh, yes! Listen to this, Mildred. “The other day my commanding officer “called me in and told me the good news.
11:37 - “So I’m some kind of athletic director at last, even if it’s for the army. ” Sounds like he’s happy.
11:44 - And he looks good too. In his new picture.
11:48 - And a lieutenant now. That’s a mighty fine job.
11:55 - ♪ ♪ Why can’t this wait till later on? Dinner’s almost ready.
12:11 - It’ll only take a minute, Mom. That’s just like you.
12:15 - First thing on top is your glove. What’re you going to do with it? Don’t know if I’ll ever do anything with it again.
12:21 - Ah, more mail again. I bet you spent 50 bucks on stamps.
12:25 - If it gets me a job, it’ll be worth it. Idaho Poly doesn’t want any coaches.
12:29 - I could have guessed that. Hey, wait a minute.
12:35 - What is it? A job! Not the President greeting me again? No, but you read it.
12:48 - ♪ Robinson, you’re up next. Pick out the one you like and give it a ride.
12:54 - Yes, sir! Now batting for the Black Panthers, Jackie Robinson, shortstop. All right, just a minute, boy.
13:04 - This is a new boy, Sampson. Take it real easy with him.
13:08 - Nice and easy. Let him hit it. Yeah, I’ll do that little thing.
13:16 - Okay, boy… I fixed it right up for you.
13:19 - Easy, man… throw it easy. (umpire) Strike! What? Let me help you up, Mr. Robinson.
13:26 - My goodness, I don’t know what’s wrong with that pitcher today.
13:30 - You hadn’t ought to do that, Sampson. You’ll make this boy mad.
13:34 - Nice and easy, I said! Ball one! What’s wrong with that boy? He’s incorrigible, that’s what he is…
13:48 - Incorrigible! Right here now, man! Strike two! Man alive, you sure swing pretty! - Hold it! - Whack! (umpire) Safe! You shouldn’t a done that, new boy.
14:21 - I thought we gonna be friends. (catcher) Oh, why didn’t you throw the ball right? Safe! Hey, that’s enough of that.
14:58 - How about “Shortnin’ Bread”? Never mind about “Shortnin’ Bread. ” How about some ham and eggs? That’s a pretty good idea.
15:04 - How about something to eat? Okay, okay, we’ll stop at the next drive-in.
15:13 - Is it always like this? Sleeping on the bus? Most of the time.
15:19 - We sleep and we eat and we play ball.
15:22 - Then we get on a bus and do it all over again. You got a cigarette? I don’t smoke.
15:27 - That Ernie… Always beggin’ cigarettes. I can’t afford to buy ‘em! Why not? Don’t you get paid like the rest of us? Yeah, I get paid a little.
15:36 - Got a wife in Birmingham. I have to send her every buck.
15:39 - Got a new baby comin’ in a couple of weeks. Sure wish I could be there. Why don’t you take a week off? Can’t… haven’t got the money.
15:47 - After what I send home, I just make it to payday.
15:50 - You’re breakin’ my heart. Here. Thanks, boy! Get back! Get back! Who’s going in? New boy’s turn.
16:02 - Rules and regulations. New boy always goes first.
16:05 - I guess that means you, Jackie. What will I have to do? Three things.
16:10 - See if we can eat inside. Two, see if we can wash up.
16:15 - Three, if we can’t eat inside, see if they’ll fix up sandwiches.
16:21 - ♪ Yeah, what is it? Sixteen of us outside in a bus.
16:50 - How’s chances of getting something to eat? Well, uh, I’m all alone here.
16:54 - Afraid I couldn’t help ya. How about some sandwiches? Could we have sandwiches? Well, I, uh…
17:03 - clang-clang. How many of them did you say? (Jackie) Sixteen. Well, I could make you 16 beef sandwiches, and maybe the same in ham and egg.
17:13 - That’d do you? Swell. How about some fried potatoes on the side, Chef? Yep. Take about 20 minutes. Thanks.
17:22 - Do you suppose we could wash up a bit? Sorry, it’s out of order.
17:42 - Say, Ernie. Yeah? When are they gonna give me a contract? Contract? You want to know about contracts? Yes! Say, fellas! This man wants to know about contracts.
17:54 - Contracts? Fix you right up with the information.
17:56 - Yes, sir, contracts. Tell him about that, boy.
18:00 - You want a contract with the Panthers? The first thing you’ve got to do…
18:05 - is borrow some money from the boss. Then you got a job until he gets paid back.
18:09 - If you can get him to lend the geetus. Keep your eye on the grandstand.
18:13 - Got a good day and a good crowd… That’s the time to hit ‘im up.
18:17 - Owe him a week’s salary… You got a one-week contract.
18:20 - Owe him for two… You got a two-week contract.
18:23 - The oss-bay. Get out of here and get a little work.
18:26 - Come on! Fwhee-ooohh. Strike two! (umpire) You’re out! Well, that’s the ball game.
18:46 - That Robinson sure had a good day, didn’t he? Sure did! (man) Robinson! Robinson, can I see you? I’m Clyde Sukeforth…
19:07 - of the Brooklyn Dodgers. I’d like to talk for a minute.
19:10 - What about? About you. Branch Rickey would like to see you.
19:14 - He would? Do you think you could get away for a day? I guess so.
19:19 - Good… I’ll take care of the tickets. Now you meet me at the Union Station at 7 o’clock.
19:24 - The New York gate. Is that okay? Sure… that’s great.
19:31 - (Ernie) Hey, who’s your friend? Scout for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
19:35 - Signed me for the New York Yankees. Were gonna give me a bonus to pitch for the Red Sox.
19:40 - And then his keeper came. Some guys think they’re funny.
19:43 - Yeah, you can say that again. Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-tap ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-tap. Yes? (Clyde) Robinson! Clyde Sukeforth. Sukeforth? Ta-ta-ta-ta-tap. Robinson, is that you in there? Coming! I don’t understand this, Robinson! Don’t you have a good mind? Or are you playing coy? I waited for you till I missed the train.
20:23 - What’s the idea? You don’t mean you’re really with the Dodgers? ♪ Whaoooooo… ♪ ♪ ♪ You got a girl, Jackie? Well, uh, I don’t know.
21:07 - What do you mean, you don’t know? Traveling around all the time, and not writing as often as I should…
21:14 - I think I still have a girl. Good, you’ll need one.
21:19 - Do you know why we brought you here? No, sir… not exactly.
21:23 - I heard you were starting a colored ball team.
21:25 - Is that it? No, you were brought here to play with the Brooklyn organization.
21:30 - Montreal, to start with. Me? Play for Montreal? I want to win pennants and we need ballplayers.
21:44 - The war set us back a little. So, three years ago, the Brooklyn Dodger management decided to scout untapped sources of supply… Mexico, Cuba, all the Latin American countries, and our own country too.
21:56 - That right, Clyde? From coast to coast.
21:59 - Yes… for players who can help us win. Many of the men we saw were good.
22:05 - Some had great promise… Like you.
22:08 - Do you think you can do it, Jackie? Make good in organized baseball? If I got the chance.
22:16 - There’s more here than just playing. I wish it just meant runs and hits and errors…
22:21 - The things you can see in a box score. Heh… a box score.
22:27 - You know, a box score is really democratic, Jackie.
22:30 - It doesn’t say how big you are or how your father voted in the last election, or what church you attend.
22:37 - It just tells you what kind of a ballplayer you were that day. Well, isn’t that what counts? It’s all that ought to count.
22:45 - And maybe someday it’s all that will count.
22:48 - That’s why we brought you here. I want to see if we can make a start in that direction.
22:53 - It’ll take a lot of courage. Yeah… it sure will.
22:59 - It might take more courage for the organization than for you, Jackie.
23:02 - Have you thought of that? I haven’t thought of anything.
23:06 - It’s all so sudden… Kind of hits me straight between the eyes.
23:10 - Just relax, boy. There’s plenty of time.
23:13 - Pull up a chair… Make yourself comfortable.
23:15 - Thanks. We’re tackling something big here, Jackie.
23:21 - If we fail, no one will try again for 20 years.
23:25 - But if we succeed… If we succeed, Brooklyn will win a pennant.
23:29 - Yes, that too. But we’re dealing with rights here…
23:33 - The right of any American to play baseball…
23:35 - The American game. Do you think he’s our boy, Clyde? Well, he can run, he can hit, and he can field.
23:43 - But can he take it? That, I don’t know.
23:47 - What do you think, Jackie? Well, I can try.
23:50 - Think you’ve got guts enough to play the game no matter what happens? They’ll shout insults at you.
23:55 - They’ll come into you spikes first. They’ll throw at your head.
23:58 - They’ve been throwin’ at my head for a long time, Mr. Rickey.
24:01 - Suppose I’m a player in the heat of a game.
24:04 - I collide with you at second base. And when I get up, I say, “You dirty black so-and-so!” What do you do? Mr. Rickey, do you want a ballplayer who’s afraid to fight back? I want a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.
24:19 - You’ve got to do this job with base hits, stolen bases, and fielding ground balls, Jackie.
24:23 - Nothing else. I’m playin’ against you and I’m hotheaded.
24:27 - I want to win this game. I go into you spikes first.
24:30 - You jab the ball in my ribs. The umpire says, “Out. ” All I see is your face…
24:35 - That black face over me. So I haul off and punch you right in the cheek.
24:39 - What do you do? Mr. Rickey, I’ve got two cheeks.
24:46 - Good! You under contract to the Black Panthers? No, sir, we don’t have contracts.
24:53 - Do you have any agreement about how long you’ll play? No, sir, none at all.
24:57 - All right. Clyde will give you a contract before you leave.
25:00 - Don’t sign it right away. This is a very important move.
25:04 - Think it over carefully. Is your, ah, mother living? Yes, sir, she’s in California.
25:11 - Call her up… ask her advice. We’ll pay the phone bill.
25:15 - Yes, sir. And, Jackie… remember one thing.
25:18 - No matter what happens on the ball field, you can’t fight back.
25:23 - That’s going to be the hard part… You can’t fight back.
25:30 - Helen, get Jackie Robinson’s home in Pasadena, California.
25:34 - It’s Sycamore 7-6-4-5-9. ♪ Brrrrrrring ♪ Hello? Who? From New York? Yes, put him on, please.
25:55 - It… it’s Jackie, Mom. Calling from New York.
25:57 - Why is he calling? Is somethin’ wrong with him? Just a minute, Mom.
26:01 - Hello? Yes! Jackie?! How are you, kid? Are you okay? He’s okay, Mom.
26:11 - You want to talk to Mom? Sure, she’s right here.
26:14 - He wants to talk to you, Mom. Hello, Jackie.
26:18 - You all right? You’ve got a chance for what? I can be the first Negro to ever play in organized baseball, Mom.
26:26 - If I’m good enough… If I can make the grade.
26:29 - Only, I’ll be taking a big chance. Mack, they want Jackie to play baseball for… For Brooklyn.
26:38 - They do? Yeah. Well, Jackie, I don’t know what kind of advice to give you.
26:45 - Only… only there must be churches in a big town like New York.
26:50 - Why don’t you go find yourself a church and talk to the minister and see what he has to say.
26:57 - And Jackie, any time you have a real problem, listen to God about it.
27:05 - Here, talk to your brother Mack. He knows more about baseball than I do.
27:17 - Tap-tap. Come in. Are you Reverend Carter? That’s right, son.
27:24 - My name’s Robinson… Jackie Robinson. Glad to know you, Mr. Robinson.
27:28 - I need some advice… Important advice. Well, suppose we sit down and talk this thing over.
27:33 - You’re new to this part of the city, Mr. Robinson? I’m from California.
27:39 - I came to New York yesterday to see Branch Rickey.
27:41 - Rickey? Do you mean, uh… Mr. Rickey, the baseball man? Yes.
27:47 - I’m a ballplayer, Reverend. I’ve just learned that the Brooklyn Dodgers have been scouting Negro players for a couple of years, and Mr. Rickey thinks I’m good enough to…
27:57 - Reverend, it means that a colored man will be able to play on the same field with a white man for the first time.
28:04 - Uh, who goes out to these ball parks, Jackie? Just white men? No, anybody can buy a ticket, Reverend.
28:11 - Colored or white. Ah, tell me, Jackie.
28:15 - What do you think would actually happen if you were to get out on a white baseball field? I don’t know.
28:25 - They might call me names. They might even beat me up.
28:28 - I don’t mean what would happen to you, Jackie.
28:31 - I mean, what would happen to the colored people? Might start fights.
28:37 - Might even start a riot. That’s true.
28:44 - On the other hand, every step forward for our people has started a fight somewhere…
28:50 - For the time being, anyhow. This is a big thing you have to decide, Jackie, and not just for you alone. It’s a big thing for the whole colored people. I know.
29:03 - That’s why I came to you for help. A great deal depends upon you, Jackie.
29:10 - What kind of a man you are. I suppose upon… what kind of a ballplayer you are too. I don’t know what kind of a man I am, Reverend, but, ah, I think I’m a pretty good ballplayer.
29:24 - That might help… yes, it might help a great deal.
29:37 - ♪ ♪ It’s wonderful to see you, especially when I’d… I’d almost given you up.
29:54 - I should have written oftener but… you know how it is? You keep waiting for good news…
29:58 - Something worth writing about. And then when this big chance came, I didn’t want to tell you.
30:04 - I wanted to be sure I had the contract signed.
30:07 - You know, sometimes when you wait for real good news, you wait forever.
30:11 - I guess so. I don’t want to wait forever.
30:15 - Look, let’s sit a minute. Let’s talk it over.
30:19 - All right. It’s gonna be real tough.
30:21 - A lot of people don’t want a Negro in baseball.
30:25 - I know. As soon as I make it stick, I’ll come for you.
30:29 - We’ll get married. No… not after you’ve made good, Jackie.
30:33 - Now… before you start. I can’t let you do that.
30:36 - I’ve got to go south for spring training. I’ll have to face that.
30:40 - It might not be easy. It’ll be easier if we face it together.
30:44 - It won’t be any picnic. You marry me now, and you’re askin’ for trouble.
30:48 - All right, Jackie. I’ll ask for it.
30:52 - ♪ ♪ (man) Daytona Beach, next stop. Are you Jackie Robinson? Yes, I am and this is my wife.
31:30 - Glad to know you. My name’s Gaines.
31:32 - I’m an attorney here. Mr. Rickey asked me if I could help arrange accommodations for you.
31:37 - He did? Sent a man down to look up a place for you to stay.
31:41 - I won. That’s very nice of you, Mr. Gaines.
31:45 - We’re proud to have you. Your bags will be in the checkroom.
31:48 - My car’s right out front. Crack! Whack! Whack! Fvwhee-whooo. Hey, Robinson. Ask you a few questions? You think there’s goin’ to be trouble? He means trouble with the other players.
32:34 - Trouble? The only trouble I’m worried about’s ground balls to my right.
32:38 - Think you’re good enough to make the Dodgers? Don’t know if I can make Montreal.
32:42 - Better concentrate on that first. What are you gonna do if a pitcher throws at your head? Same as you’d do… duck! What’re you sportswriters doin’ up at this hour of the mornin’? Walkin’ in your sleep? Thought we’d take a look at your new ballplayer, Clay.
32:57 - Look at him playin’ ball… Not flappin’ his mouth with you guys.
33:00 - Get out there and throw a few, loosen up your arm.
33:03 - Yes, Mr. Hopper. Do you think baseball will accept a colored second baseman? First, let’s see if I will.
33:19 - Whack whack whack whack whack whack thud, thud… thud.
33:54 - Let’s have one! Want me to take the first one? Or shall I hit away? Use your own judgment, Shorty.
34:39 - How’s that high elbow comin’? Keep you from hittin’ under the ball? Don’t work out like it should, Mr. Hopper.
34:44 - Of course, I don’t pop to the infield anymore.
34:47 - I just fly into center field. Shorty’s got a problem.
34:50 - He’s built too close to the ground. But I’ve got a new idea.
34:54 - When I take the bat back, I’m gonna hold it up.
34:57 - I ought to come through higher. (umpire) Batter up. That’s me.
35:01 - I ought to hit right on the line. You watch.
35:08 - ♪ ♪ ♪ Whack! ♪ (umpire) You’re out of there! ♪ (catcher) All right, Tex, hurry it up! All right, Eddie. Get ‘em out of there, Ed! All right, gang! (catcher) Attaboy, Ed, come on! Whack! (umpire) Out! Fvwhee-whooo. Let’s get this guy out of here! Come on! (umpire ) Ball! All right, Eddie! Bring it on, Ed! Come on now.
36:20 - (catcher) All right, Eddie. Plunk! (umpire) He’s out! Now if he can hit like that too.
36:48 - Fvwhee-whoo (umpire) Ball! Bring the ball in here.
36:59 - That’s the one… that’s the one! (umpire) Ball… two! Whack! Did you get that? I got it.
37:29 - All right, Hank! This guy’s got a hole in his bat.
37:33 - Let’s get him out of here. Strike… one! Whack! (catcher) Come on, Jackie! He’s out! No other human being could’ve made that play! Mr. Rickey, do you really think he is a human bein’? Think Jackie’s gonna like these.
38:14 - Knitting, knitting. Seems like that’s all you ever do, Mrs. Robinson.
38:20 - Why don’t you walk downtown once in a while? Or maybe take a ride to the beach? I’m afraid to.
38:26 - Afraid? No one’s going to hurt you here.
38:30 - I’m not so sure. The last time I took a bus I heard some white men talking…
38:35 - about Jackie. About what they’d do if a colored man tried to play on this city’s team.
38:42 - Oh, you know… they talk big, but they don’t usually mean it.
38:47 - Maybe they don’t usually… but sometimes they do.
38:52 - Some of the things they said gave me cold chills.
38:57 - ♪ ♪ Somebody get a key. (player) Can’t we get in? Oh, Mr. Rickey, look at this.
39:29 - ♪ Back in the bus, boys. Back in the bus.
39:44 - ♪ Come on, Jackie. We don’t want trouble.
39:55 - I’m the cause of the trouble, Mr. Rickey. Maybe you’d like to call it off.
39:59 - Maybe you’d rather I went back to the Panthers.
40:01 - Not on your life! We started this together, boy, and we’ll finish it together.
40:06 - We’ll complete the training season and you’ll complete it with us.
40:09 - Come on. And ladies and gentlemen, believe me, it should be the best welterweight battle in the past ten years.
40:17 - And sports fans, all is not so quiet on the baseball front as officials would have us believe.
40:22 - While there are no known organized movements against Montreal’s Jackie Robinson, it is a fact that some cities are expressing pretty strong sentiments.
40:30 - So strong, in fact, that I hear the International League president, Shaughnessy, will make a significant visit to the Brooklyn Dodger office in the immediate future…
40:39 - perhaps… tomorrow. And now, to answer some mail as time allows.
40:46 - Clunk. Branch, I’ve got to talk to you.
40:53 - Well, go ahead and talk. Branch… the season opens in Jersey City tomorrow.
40:59 - Oh, glad you told me. And this is your last chance to avoid a big mistake.
41:05 - Now suppose you let me decide that. You’ll break up the whole International League playing that colored boy.
41:12 - I’ve had letters, phone calls… I’ve even polled all the sportswriters.
41:15 - What do the sportswriters have to say? Jim Flanagan thinks you’re even hurting the Negroes.
41:20 - This’ll stir up a lot of trouble. There’ll be black and white fights all over the country, and you’ll be sorry you ever started it.
41:29 - Frank, I’ve spent my whole life in baseball, and I’ve always been proud of that, because I’ve always thought baseball was a fine game, a clean game.
41:36 - I’ve always thought it had a good influence on the American people, on the kids growing up.
41:41 - I’ve always thought baseball taught fair play and sportsmanship.
41:44 - But if what you say is true, then I’ve been all wrong.
41:47 - My whole life’s been wrong… wasted. I’ll tell you what I’ll do with you.
41:53 - I’ll go out to Jersey City with you tomorrow and we’ll sit in a front box.
41:58 - And if anybody’s got any rocks to throw, they can throw ‘em at me.
42:07 - ♪ Phump, phump. Are you nervous? A little… maybe.
42:19 - I won’t be when we get on the field. Another hour and it’ll begin.
42:24 - Would you rather I didn’t go? Nooo! You might as well come.
42:27 - If I’m gonna fall on my face, might as well be in front of you.
42:31 - You won’t fall down. I won’t if trying will do it.
42:34 - You think I can run? Wait’ll you see me this afternoon.
42:37 - I can’t break in with any scratch hit and fielder’s choice.
42:40 - I’ve got to set them on their ear. I’ve got to be the best ballplayer they’ve ever seen anywhere.
42:46 - That’s the spirit. ♪ (vendor) chewing gum, Cracker Jacks! Anyone else? Five cents change. And that’s a fact, ladies and gentlemen…
42:56 - 25,000 people are here to see baseball history made today at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City for this…
43:03 - The opening of the 1946 International League season.
43:07 - Even though the ball game has started, excited fans are still crowding in to this huge concrete horseshoe.
43:13 - It’s a holiday throng… Eager and expectant…
43:17 - But with one thing in mind. What will the highly publicized Jackie Robinson do today? Will organized baseball’s first Negro player make good, or… will he fail? You fans out there, what do you think? (man) Programs! Programs! (catcher) Attaboy, Bill! Come on, Bill! Ball! (catcher) Here you go! Here, Bill! Here, baby! Whack! Well, I guess he’s got the jitters.
44:15 - Well, anybody can make an error. That was an awful easy chance.
44:24 - Well, as the poet said, “To err is human,” and Jackie Robinson proved himself indeed a mortal man in the first inning by booting that easy play, permitting Jersey City’s first run.
44:36 - But the game is young, fans… And so is Jackie.
44:47 - Strike! Jackie? You’re up next… get on deck.
45:02 - Yes, sir. Boooo! Boooo… whack! Play ball! And now, here’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for.
45:36 - This big crowd is silent and tense as Jackie stands there at the plate.
45:41 - He’s a right-handed batter. Stands well back in the box, feet wide apart, very good form.
45:47 - And every eye in this stadium is on that boy.
45:50 - Anxious… as Jackie stands there, waiting for that first pitch.
46:07 - (catcher) Give it to me, come on! Strike! Thunk.
46:26 - Safe! Fvwhee-whoo (umpire) Safe! Fvwhee-whoo fvwhee-whoo (umpire) Safe! (man) Hurry up, Jackie! Right here! (umpire) Strike one! Balk! Balk! He made a balk! Balk! Balk! He made a balk! Come on in! Go in, Robinson.
47:53 - (catcher) All right, here we go. Come on. (umpire) Strike! Fvwhee-whoo. Strike! Attababy! Whack! Yes, sir, folks, it’s a historic day.
48:40 - But a sad one for Jersey. There’s two out in the ninth, and the score is 14 to 1 with a single Jersey City put-out left.
48:48 - There it goes! It’s a high grounder to Robinson’s left! It’ll be close! But he stabs it! Jackie goes to first for the out, and the ball game is over! What a memorable day! Especially for Jackie Robinson, and for the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey.
49:05 - That’s the greatest first day any ballplayer ever had! Man, oh, man! Four hits including a homer, two stolen bases, and scored twice on balks.
49:13 - Yes, he played a great game, but… Oh, that’s the trouble with you, Frank.
49:17 - There you go “but-ing” again. No, but you know where Montreal is playing next week, Branch, and they don’t like colored people there.
49:25 - Here, look at this. The sports editor sent it to me.
49:32 - ♪ (vendor) Cold beer, 25. Hey, punk, give me a beer.
49:47 - Yeah, me too. How many altogether? Make it three.
49:50 - You got a shine playin’ here this afternoon.
49:52 - Not me… I ain’t got him. You’ve got him.
49:55 - I’ve got ‘im? I don’t live here. Where you from? I’m from Brooklyn.
49:59 - I drive a truck here once a week. When you get back home, tell Rickey that you spoke with a couple of friends of his nigger ballplayer.
50:06 - Yeah… keck… friends. Don’t tell me about it.
50:10 - I just don’t like shines. Yeah? That mean anything to ya? No.
50:16 - I thought you was one of the boys. One of what boys? Shut up, Spike! Oh, what’s the diff? We got a little club, kinda.
50:23 - Branches all over the country. When they get uppity, we kinda put ‘em in their place.
50:28 - Pheet-phooo. Look what’s comin’. Ah, this seat is taken.
50:35 - Sorry. Excuse me. Maybe you’d like to come with us? Shut up, Spike! Where you goin’ after the ball game? The lodge has decided to send a delegation.
50:53 - (Spike) That’s us. You hadn’t ought to tell anybody.
50:56 - Aww, this guy’s all right. We’re gonna call on Robinson soon as the game is over. We don’t like them boys playin’ ball around here.
51:04 - Not in this town. Robinson! Clak-clak-clak.
51:18 - Get out there, Robbie. BOOOOOO! BOOOOOO! ♪ Let’s go, darling… quick! What’s the matter? Where you goin’, black boy? Don’t run away, black boy! We’re the welcoming committee.
52:21 - Better get out of here. No, Jackie.
52:24 - It makes it tougher havin’ you here. We want to have a talk with you.
52:28 - We don’t want you in this town, see? ♪ No matter what happens on the ball field, you can’t fight back. That’s going to be the hard part… You can’t fight back. ♪ You better not play tomorrow! Get me? Get me? ♪ Having any trouble, Jackie? No… no trouble.
52:52 - We’ll just walk to the bus with you. Out of my way, you! ♪ Nice game today, Jackie.
52:59 - Thanks… thanks a lot. ♪ Shorty.
53:12 - Yes, Mr. Hopper? A little present for you.
53:15 - Present? Just what you need. Gee, Mr. Hopper, that’s awful nice of you.
53:19 - New pair of shoes! Mmmmm… elevator shoes…
53:22 - add an inch to ya. Keep you from hittin’ under the ball.
53:26 - Say, that’s wonderful! That’s a great idea! Thanks a lot, Mr. Hopper.
53:29 - Sure hope they’ll work. Watch that, Shorty… You’re an inch taller now.
53:42 - Forgot all about it! (umpire) Batter up! That’s me.
53:49 - ♪ (umpire) Play ball! ♪ ♪ Whack! ♪ Whack. You’re out.
54:32 - (man) Way to go, George. Nice going. Hey there, big boy.
54:47 - What you all doin’ on a white man’s field? Get your carcass out of there before you get rode out! Ha-ha-ha - heh-heh.
54:53 - Here’s a brother of yours, Jackie. Why don’t you take him along.
54:57 - He wants to get into baseball too. Ha-ha… ha ♪ Hey, Jackie…
55:35 - gimme a shine! ♪ Hey, Sambo, do you want to wash your dirty ears? Hey, liver lips, show us them pearly teeth.
55:51 - (player) Hey, Jackie, where’d you get that marcel? Go back and clean up! ♪ Whack! ♪ (Rickey) We’ll exercise our option on Klauber. Right… write Klauber in. Yeah.
56:16 - And that’s all. (Hopper) And that’s all? Good, that’s fine.
56:21 - Then Robinson stays in Montreal? Uhm… for the time being.
56:28 - Brooklyn and Montreal will train together in Panama.
56:31 - We’ll have plenty of chance to see everybody.
56:36 - Well… you do what you think best, Branch.
56:39 - But I’ll tell you this… We’ve had record attendance all over our league this year and if there’s any possible way of leaving Robinson in Montreal another season… Well, I think maybe we might.
56:52 - A boy like that ought to play every day. And we’ve got Burwell at second base.
56:58 - That’s fine, Branch. That’s wonderful.
57:01 - All our fans want him. Besides, I think they’re making too much out of an ordinary ballplayer, don’t you think, Clay? He led the league in hittin’.
57:11 - Well… a minor league. We won in the Little World Series too.
57:17 - Oh, I’m not complaining, Clay. It’s just that I don’t want to burden a fair ballplayer with the responsibilities of a superman.
57:25 - ‘Course, Jackie might hit big league pitching.
57:29 - But suppose he did come up. How do we know that he could…
57:34 - well, that he wouldn’t get out of hand? How do we know? Mr. Rickey! Mr. Rickey, you don’t have to worry none about that boy.
57:44 - He is the greatest competitor I ever saw! And what’s more, he’s a gentleman. Well…
57:52 - I’m glad to hear it. Bring it right here! Right through here to me.
58:09 - Hit me right in the face with it. Phump.
58:12 - That’s close, but not close enough. Here it is, right here.
58:16 - Right there… Right through the middle.
58:18 - That’s close enough. Cut it back. (player) All right, come on! Attaboy, Jackie. Made up your mind on Robinson yet? I think we’ll let him stay in Montreal another year.
58:37 - That’s great with me, Mr. Rickey, but you’re makin’ a mistake.
58:40 - We got Burwell on second. Burwell or no Burwell.
58:43 - Besides, it’d cause trouble. Trouble? Yeah… there’s that petition, you know. Petition? What petition? Well, some of the boys… Half a dozen of your Brooklyn players have signed a petition.
58:56 - They don’t want Robinson on your ball club.
58:58 - They don’t, huh? Get hold of the men that signed and bring ‘em to my room at 8 o’clock.
59:04 - Yes, sir. And you call yourselves Americans.
59:11 - Who’s your leader? Who started this? Tony, you signed that petition.
59:20 - You want to deny Robinson the right to play baseball? I just don’t wanna be on the same team.
59:25 - You born in the United States? Yes, sir.
59:28 - Your parents… Where were they born? My father… in Italy.
59:30 - And your mother? She was born in Italy.
59:33 - They came to America before you were born. Your father… What did he work at when he came to this country? On the railroad… a laborer.
59:40 - Your mother… did she work too? She, uh, she worked in a shirt factory.
59:45 - Your father was an immigrant laborer. Did anybody get up a petition to keep him from working on the railroad? Not that I know of.
59:53 - Did anybody try to stop your mother from working in the shirt factory? Your parents came to this country and were allowed to work as free people.
60:02 - And yet, you… a child and beneficiary of that freedom…
60:05 - Want to deny the same opportunity to an American whose parents and grandparents and great-grandparents have been in this country for 200 years. Is that right? How about you, Dalby? Would you have the courage to tell Robinson that to his face here, behind closed doors? Tell him that he can’t play on the same team with you? Tell him you’re not gonna let him earn his living as a ballplayer? Answer me, sir! Mr.
Rickey, I… wasn’t thinkin’. I didn’t think.
60:39 - And that, sir, explains why your teammates call you “Ironhead. ” Yes, sir.
60:48 - Karpen, you’ve been in baseball a long time.
60:51 - Do you want to play on the Dodgers with Robinson? No, sir, I don’t.
60:55 - Will you play with Robinson? I’d rather not, sir.
61:00 - Would you like to have your contract transferred to another club? Yes, sir, I would.
61:05 - I may accommodate you, sir. All right, men.
61:10 - I respect your right to petition. But I do question and I will fight any petition that denies any American the right to earn his living in a game that is supposed to represent the democratic principles of sportsmanship and fair play! Do you understand me?! - (Tony) Yes, sir. - (Dalby) Yes, sir. That’s all for tonight.
61:33 - Your suits are in your lockers. There’s a ball game tomorrow.
61:40 - I hope I’ll see you there… in uniform.
61:57 - Jackie. Yes, sir. Jackie, Montreal is starting a 12-game series with the Dodgers.
62:05 - Yes, sir. Take this. During that series I want you to play first base for Montreal.
62:11 - First base? Mr. Rickey, I’ve never played first base.
62:14 - We’re protected at second base, Jackie. We’ve got Burwell.
62:18 - Brooklyn can use a good first baseman. Oh, I see.
62:22 - Go out there and show ‘em. Run their legs off.
62:25 - Yes, sir! I sure will! Phump-phump-phump (catcher) Right here now! Come on! (umpire) Ball! All right, come on, Lefty! Get him out of there! Make him pitch to ya.
62:49 - Thunk (player) Take it, Jackie! (umpire) He’s out! Fine play.
63:00 - (umpire) Batter up! Come on now.
63:05 - All right, Lefty, come on, boy. Whack! (umpire) You’re out! A great play! Yeah, but a little dangerous.
63:21 - I think I’ll move over to the Brooklyn side.
63:28 - (Rickey) Karpen. You wanted to keep Robinson off the Brooklyn team? Yes, sir.
63:34 - Then why do you keep feeding him those big fat ones? I ain’t feedin’ him no fat ones.
63:39 - Then how’d he get three hits off you? Just lucky.
63:42 - All right, Karpen. He’s up first in this inning.
63:45 - If you want to keep him off the team, I’ll tell you how you can do it.
63:49 - Strike him out. Okay, watch me. (umpire) Play ball! (umpire) Ball one! (player) That’s the way to throw ‘im out. Come on now! Give me a good ball now! Thattaboy now! Here to me now! ♪ Let’s get this game started.
64:25 - Hey, Barney… win this game and I’ll give you a great big kiss.
64:29 - What’s the matter with you guys? You think I don’t mean it? Sit down! Hey, Robinson, why don’t you go back to Harlem where you belong? Why don’t you drop dead, Robinson? Greetings from Ebbets Field.
64:52 - They call it big league baseball, folks, because you’ve got to be bigger and better to stay up here.
64:58 - That’s the problem confronting Jackie Robinson at this very minute as he goes to bat for the first time in a big league game.
65:04 - Oh, yes, I know he’s done all right in training…
65:07 - I’ve seen the papers too. But that was only practice.
65:11 - From now on, it’s for keeps. There’s a little man upstairs in the press box who’s known among other things as the official scorer.
65:20 - He watches like a hawk. He marks down everything.
65:24 - He’ll make a mark for every move that Jackie Robinson makes…
65:27 - Good or bad. And not only the official scorer’s eyes are on the Negro rookie…
65:32 - the whole world is waiting. Everybody wants to know if Branch Rickey has made a mistake.
65:38 - Will they be able to say “I told you so”? Let’s see.
66:07 - Whack! Down, Jack! Safe! He made it! He made it! He got a triple! So what? What do you mean “so what?” Sit down.
66:45 - Ooh! You’ll lose your tightness in a few days.
66:48 - It’s nerves, that’s all. I just can’t get on to shifting my feet.
66:52 - I missed the bag completely today in the third inning.
66:55 - If they’d only let you play second base. We’ve got Burwell at second base.
67:00 - First is where they need me. If you can’t get it and it worries you…
67:04 - It’s got me worried. And it’s got me where I’m not hitting, either.
67:07 - You’re still their best base runner. They can’t take that away from you.
67:11 - Yeah, but you can’t steal first. Owww! What’ve you got in those hands? Steel springs? They’re nurse’s hands, remember? They’d better nurse me out of this slump, or Mr. Rickey will be lookin’ for a new boy.
67:27 - Don’t wait till you feel the bag under your foot.
67:30 - Do it all in one motion. I just can’t get the hang of it.
67:33 - Try another one. That’s worse. (player) Here, let me show you how. You almost had it last time.
67:45 - When you miss the bag, you kick back for it like this.
67:49 - Here, you try it. Thanks. That’s the idea.
67:59 - All you have to do is practice now. Why’d he want to do that? If I can’t make the grade at first base, he’d have his old job back.
68:11 - He’s a team player, Jackie. Yeah, and the weatherman apologizes for the recent rain.
68:27 - Well, let’s get serious, folks. They can’t say that Branch Rickey hasn’t given Jackie Robinson a king-sized opportunity in staying in big league baseball.
68:36 - On that last road trip, when the California boy wasn’t hitting too well, some of the out-of-town sportswriters said that Jackie should have been out of there.
68:45 - He had a little trouble with first base… Playing it and reaching it.
68:49 - He just couldn’t come up with that extra base hit.
68:52 - Right now, I see Jackie stepping into the box.
68:56 - All right, bring it in out there. Here we go! Ball! Come on, babe.
69:06 - All right, let’s go. Here it is. Whack! Thattaboy, Jackie.
69:14 - What happened to you?! Keep your fingers crossed, folks.
69:25 - It may be that the rookie, Jackie Robinson, is a big league ballplayer after all.
69:29 - But he had us all worried, didn’t he? Going to the plate 19 straight times without a hit.
69:34 - But the pendulum can swing both ways, and it may be that Jackie has started on a hitting streak now.
69:39 - In baseball, it’s not who or what you are, but can you play the game? And Jackie Robinson sure is playing it.
69:49 - Whack! Well, Dalby, he’s hitting again.
69:56 - Yeah, we might win the pennant now. Whack! Safe! You’re out of the game, Kelly! He knocked me down! Didn’t you spike the Cub shortstop last week? That was an accident.
70:26 - So was this an accident. They’re all accidents! Let’s get out there! Next time I get on base, watch out for spikes.
70:34 - Get off the field! You better get Robinson off the field.
70:37 - Yeah, get him off. Get him out of here.
70:39 - Anybody lookin’ for a little argument? Yes, I am! You’re out of the game too.
70:44 - Who me? Yes, you. What’s the big idea, you dirty little…
70:48 - Get off the field or it’s gonna cost you plenty! (Dalby) Let’s get out of here! (Karpen) Let me at that guy! Come on, get out… play ball.
71:07 - Whack! Come on, Jackie. Go ahead, go on! Hey, Mike! What’s happened to my clothes? I got them over here.
71:42 - Come here, I’ll show them to you. I got a locker for ya.
71:48 - Thanks. ♪ The Brooklyn Dodgers really are pouring it on now.
72:14 - They’re up at bat with one run behind in the ninth inning and Brooklyn hearts today have skipped more beats than an absent-minded policeman.
72:21 - Well, this boy’s set fire to the league since midseason when he hit safely in 21 straight games, missing the league record by one.
72:29 - He’s laid down 42 successful bunts… A prodigious number.
72:33 - He’s a cinch to be voted the Rookie of the Year, incidentally.
72:36 - Now we’ve got a runner on second, the tying run, and Jackie Robinson is at the plate.
72:42 - He can’t bunt now. He’s got to hit straight away.
72:45 - There are two out. Come on! Wait a minute! (umpire) Strike! Watch your glove, huh? Oh, go on! Get up there and hit the ball.
72:59 - Come on, Jackie boy, get a hold of one! (umpire) Ball! (catcher) All right, here we go. Come on. Phump! (umpire) Strike! All right.
73:36 - Whack! The tying run scored on Jackie’s base hit to center field and it’s a new ball game now with Jackie Robinson on second base representing the winning run.
73:52 - And the crowd here’s gone mad. Strike one! (umpire) Safe! Well, folks, the game is over, and the Dodgers win the pennant! And where’s my aspirin? That was my boy! Did you see my Jackie? Yeah, I sure did.
74:37 - Ah, he is some boy! Jackie, congratulations.
74:52 - Thank you, sir… same to you. By the way, Mr. Rickey, there’s something bothering me.
74:58 - About that invitation to Washington… Do you really think I should go? Yes, Jackie, I do.
75:03 - To Washington… to the Senate, to the House of Representatives, to the American people.
75:09 - You’ve earned the right to speak. They want you to speak…
75:13 - about things on your mind, about a threat to peace that’s on everybody’s mind, Jackie.
75:18 - Now you can fight back. ♪ “I know that life in these United States “can be mighty tough for people “who are a little different from the majority.
75:31 - “I’m not fooled because I’ve had a chance “open to very few Negro Americans, “but I do know that democracy works “for those who are willing to fight for it, “and I’m sure it’s worth defending.
75:43 - “I can’t speak for any 15 million people. “No one person can.
75:47 - “But I’m certain that I, “and other Americans of many races and faiths, “have too much invested in our country’s welfare to throw it away, or to let it be taken from us. ” ♪ (man) Yes, this is the Jackie Robinson story, but it is not his story alone. Not his victory alone. It is one that each of us shares… a story, a victory that can only happen in a country that is truly free.
A country where every child has the opportunity to become President, or play baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers. ♪ Funding for purchase and captioning of this video was provided by the U. S. Department of Education: 1-800-572-5580 (V). .