I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson

Pinned on August 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm by Ashley Rudolph

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I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson

The Autobiography of a Boy of Summer Who Became a Man for All Seasons

Before Barry Bonds, before Reggie Jackson, before Hank Aaron, baseball’s stars had one undeniable trait in common: they were all white. In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke that barrier, striking a crucial blow for racial equality and changing the world of sports forever. I Never Had It Made is Robinson’s own candid, hard-hitting account of what it took to become the first black man in history to play in the major leagues.

I Never Had It Made recalls Robinson’s early years and influences: his time at UCLA, where he became the school’s first four-letter athlete; his army stint during World War II, when he challenged Jim Crow laws and narrowly escaped court martial; his years of frustration, on and off the field, with the Negro Leagues; and finally that fateful day when Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers proposed what became known as the “Noble Experiment”—Robinson would step up to bat to integrate and revolutionize baseball.

More than a baseball story, I Never Had It Made also reveals the highs and lows of Robinson’s life after baseball. He recounts his political aspirations and civil rights activism; his friendships with Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, William Buckley, Jr., and Nelson Rockefeller; and his troubled relationship with his son, Jackie, Jr.

Originally published the year Robinson died, I Never Had It Made endures as an inspiring story of a man whose heroism extended well beyond the playing field.


Comments

Joshua Mallipudi says:

A man who lived A dream…or did he? When I think about someone like Jackie Robinson, I think of someone who had an easy life of playing baseball and making lots of money. He was first the first African-American to play in the professional Major League level and was highly respected by everyone. After having read his autobiography, I Never Had It Made, I realized that I was totally wrong. Besides the glory and the fame for having been the first African-American to play in the major leagues, Jackie had to go through many hardships to get where he got. Jackie uses this book to tell the reader of all the different trials and hardships he had to go through before, during, and after his professional career as the 1st and 2nd baseman of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie also tells of all the other things that he did besides baseball. I didn’t know it, but Jackie went to UCLA and while he was there, he did many great things. Not only was a great baseball star at UCLA, he was also a big star in football, basketball, and track. After college, he went into the Army and became a lieutenant for the U.S. Army before he signed with the Montreal Royals (a minor league baseball team) in 1945. Jackie gives a lot of the credit to Mr. Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers for having the guts to bring him into the team and making the transition as easy as possible. Jackie promised to take in any insults thrown at him while he was in baseball uniform and not to respond to them for two years. This was to pave the way for other black players to be brought into the major league. I personally don’t think that I can play a game while people are yelling and making fun of me. Jackie describes what he had to go through in the book. Jackie also discusses the hate mail he got and even the threats people placed on his life. He also tells of his wife and the kind of positive impact she had on him as well. Many people think of Jackie Robinson as being only a baseball player, but he did much more. After retiring from baseball, he did many things in regard to the civil rights issue. He influenced many issues and was even the political scene, helping President Nixon and President John F. Kennedy during their stay in office. He was even apart of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). In the book, you learn more about his relationships with Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, and many others. Jackie Robinson accomplished many things and had endured many problems even within his own family. He talks about the drug problems that plagued his oldest son and all the hardships his children had to go through being the sons and daughter of a famous African-American figure. Jackie changed the way of life for many people and gave hope to the African-American community. After all of this, Jackie learns that no matter what his successes were in the white world, he would always remain a black man. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing about Jackie Robinson. You wouldn’t expect for a baseball player to be a good enough writer to write a three hundred page autobiography, but I thought Jackie did a great job. The book flowed and it never got boring. I didn’t even want to put it down, just kept turning the pages. This book gave great insight into the kind of life African American faced in the early to mid nineteen hundreds and what they had to endure. Jackie Robinson is not only a great icon in the world of professional sports, but in other aspects as well and I think that he did awesome job in writing this book.

Jeremy says:

A moving story of one of the great athletes and men of the century. I read this book when I did a research paper on Jackie Robinson in 11th grade English class back in 2003. It was a great autobiography and I couldn’t put the book down. Not only tells the story of the man as a baseball player, but it tells how he struggled being a “black man in a white world.” If you are interested in baseball, civil rights, or even just want to read a good book and learn more about the time, I highly recommend this book.

matt says:

I Never Had It Made This book tells of the struggles Jackie Robinson faced as he made a name for himself in the game of baseball. This is a wonderfully writen autobiography that tells the emotion and physical hardships he faced not only in the major and minor leagues while playing baseball but also in his everyday life as well.While perservering through all this, he succeeded to a degree of breaking the color barrier in the United States. As a child he witnessed constant racism from neighbors, children, and many others that came into contact with him. His mother brought him up to be very strong and independent because when Jackie was about one or two his father went to the city and never returned. He left her with nothing but thier five children who were all too young to work and support the family. Eventually after being forced to move, they went to live with Jacies uncle in California. This book really showed me how hard he had it. Not only did he have the pressures of playing in the major leagues but also have to worry about prejudist on the field and in the stands. You will see how he didnt have a friend to talk to unless his wife, Rachel Robinson, would travel with him during the season. There was no one who even dreamed of having a black man in baseball until the dodgers took on Jackie. Baseball has never been the same because of the influence this one man has had on the sport itself and many if not all other sports indirectly. “I Never Had It Made” tells Robinson’s early years and influences such as his college experience at UCLA, where he became the school’s first four-letter athlete;World War II , playing with the Negro Leagues; and when Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers asked Jackie Robinson to play, which was known as the “Noble Experiment”.The league itself recieved a lot of critism from fans during the timethis “experiment” was unvealed.Jackie Robinson expesses his deppest feelings in this book and writes of his relationship’s with individual player’s and managers. He also talked of the few he had arguments and different views in many areas. There is many accounts of important games such as the 1955 World Series, when jackie Robinson and the Dodgers won against thier rivals. This book is a great story of one man’s determination and detication to a sport he loved to play through thick and thin. He did this in the faces of all those people who said it could never happen,.it would never happen, and blacks will never say in major league baseball in the United States.Jackie Robinson was a true hero


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