What I Learned From Jackie Robinson: A Teammate's Reflections On and Off the Field

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9780071450850: What I Learned From Jackie Robinson: A Teammate's Reflections On and Off the Field

AN INTIMATE LOOK AT JACKIE ROBINSON'S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY, FROM FORMER TEAMMATE AND LONGTIME FRIEND CARL ERSKINE

"Jackie needed to quell his anger the first couple of years, a task which only someone of this inner strength and vision could have coped with at that moment. When I reflect and wonder what it must have been like for a man who should have been at the happiest of moments in his life, to still have to deal with racial indignities on a daily basis, it is mind-boggling. Most mortal men would have cracked."--Carl Erskine, from the book

Jackie Robinson changed the game of baseball forever when he paved the way for equality in sports. In What I Learned from Jackie Robinson, former teammate and friend Carl Erskine shares his memories of Jackie's crusade in a loving social memoir.

Written with New York Times bestselling coauthor Burton Rocks and filled with personal photos, this moving portrait of friendship takes readers for the first time inside the locker room, inside the soul of Jackie, and inside the hearts of his friends, teammates, and oppressors. As a former Dodger, with access to the important people from Jackie's life, Erskine talks with Robinson's widow and also shares memories about:

Yogi Berra

Whitey Ford

Sandy Koufax

Stan Musial

Pee Wee Reese

Roy Campanella

Don Drysdale

Billy Martin

and many other players, coaches, sportswriters, and entertainers who remembered Jackie on and off the field. A retrospective on a man who fought for his cause until death, this memoir is a testament to the man and the game that brought the world together when it was falling apart.

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From the Back Cover:

An intimate portrait of baseball, friendship, and one man's fight to change the world

In this endearing personal memoir, former Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine takes us back to the giddy postwar heyday of Brooklyn baseball. In a time when the sport was just recovering from the ravages of World War II and when the United States still divided buses and lunch counters into black and white, baseball stepped up to the plate and invited Jackie Robinson onto the field. The game--and all professional sports--would never be the same.

Carl Erskine was in the minor leagues when he first met Jackie Robinson. It was spring training in 1948, and after pitching five solid innings against the formidable Dodgers lineup the young Erskine walked back to the dugout, stomping the dirt from his cleats and praying that someone from the big club would tap him on the shoulder. That someone was Jackie Robinson. "You're going to be with us real soon" were the unforgettable words he spoke to the young hopeful. Within just a few months, Jackie's prediction came true. And so began an enduring friendship that would teach the author many important lessons about patience, fortitude, and doing the right thing--even when the chips were down.

In honor of his friend, Erskine has teamed up with New York Times bestselling coauthor Burton Rocks to give us a one-of-a-kind social memoir. As both a former teammate and close friend of Robinson, Erskine shares his memories of Jackie's crusade for racial equality, along with his heroic exploits on the field, and in the end relates it to his son Jimmy's personal struggles against prejudice as a person with Down syndrome. Featuring a sixteen-page insert containing several never-published personal photos, this moving portrait takes us inside the locker room at Ebbets Field, inside the soul of Jackie Robinson, and inside the hearts of his friends, teammates, and oppressors.

To paint this complicated portrait of an American hero, Erskine recalls his many seasons with number 42 and brings us face-to-face with the important people in Robinson's life. He brings us first-hand stories from Robinson's widow, Rachel; from teammates Duke Snider, Don Newcombe, Pee Wee Reese, and Roy Campanella; manager Charlie Dressen; and from the many other players, coaches, and sportswriters who remembered Jackie best. A unique combination of personal reflection and in-depth research, What I Learned from Jackie Robinson is a testament to a man and a game that, together, helped break through racial barriers and level the playing field.

About the Author:

Carl Erskine played twelve seasons with the Dodgers. Following his retirement in 1960, he returned to Anderson College in Indiana to coach baseball for twelve seasons, during which time his teams won four Hoosier College Conference championships and earned an appearance in the NAIA College World Series. He continues to be a community leader, participating in numerous organizations and businesses.

Burton Rocks is the coauthor, with former New York Yankee Paul O'Neill, of the New York Times bestseller Me and My Dad.

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