With the recent release of 42, the movie detailing Jackie Robinson's breaking of the Major League Baseball's "color line" in modern era (April 15 marked the 66th anniversary of Robinson's 1947 debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers), I've been thinking a great deal about Robinson, whom I've long admired for his courage and grace.
The connections between Jackie Robinson and the Jewish people, are broader, deeper and more intimate than I knew when I started my research for this series of postings.
"Robinson’s breaking of baseball’s color line in 1947, one of the most important civil rights advances of the first half of the twentieth century, benefited very significantly from such Jewish cooperation and support," write Stephen Norword and Harold Brackman in their SABR award-winning research paper, "Going to Bat for Jackie Robinson: The Jewish Role in Breaking Baseball's Color Line," originally published in the Spring 1999 issue of the Journal of Sport History.
Throughout his career, Robinson played with and against numerous Jewish major leaguers in the late 1940s and 1950s, including Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax, to name but a few.
He also enjoyed the support of some renowned Jewish sportswriters and journalists, and was assisted in his personal life by a variety of Jewish friends and business associates.
The number of collectibles showcasing the relationship between Robinson and the Jews includes baseball cards, books and movies, among other items.
Over the coming days, JewishSportsCollectibles.com will explore each of these connections in a series of upcoming postings about Jackie Robinson and the the Jews.
Watch JSC for additional postings.