At the start of the summer of 1947, television was brand new, the sound barrier had not been broken, and baseball was a white man’s game. By the time the fall arrived, all that had changed. President Truman addressed the nation for the first time on TV, Chuck Yeager flew faster than any man ever had, and Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play major league baseball. It was no accident that Jackie Robinson was chosen as the first ballplayer to break the color barrier in the sport known as America’s pastime. There were plenty of good athletes in the Negro Leagues: some maybe even better than Jackie. But when Branch Rickey decided to add a black person to the Brooklyn Dodgers, he knew that individual had to be special. He had to be strong enough to stand up to the teammates who would ridicule him, the pitchers who would throw at him and the fans who would send him threats. He had to be able to turn the other cheek, to show that he was the bigger man and to prove that he could be everybody’s hero.
This play with music by Mad River Theater Works shows the events that shaped Jackie Robinson’s character, his struggle to gain acceptance, and the tremendous obstacles he overcame on his way to changing the face of our nation and our national pastime.