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Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Eig
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $13.99
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Book Description

This bestselling account of the most important season in baseball history, 1947, tells the dramatic story of how Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and changed baseball forever.

April 15, 1947, marked the most important opening day in baseball history. When Jackie Robinson stepped onto the diamond that afternoon at Ebbets Field, he became the first black man to break into major-league baseball in the twentieth century. World War II had just ended. Democracy had triumphed. Now Americans were beginning to press for justice on the home front—and Robinson had a chance to lead the way.

In Opening Day, Jonathan Eig tells the true story behind the national pastime’s most sacred myth. He offers new insights into events of sixty years ago and punctures some familiar legends. Was it true that the St. Louis Cardinals plotted to boycott their first home game against the Brooklyn Dodgers? Was Pee Wee Reese really Robinson’s closest ally on the team? Was Dixie Walker his greatest foe? How did Robinson handle the extraordinary stress of being the only black man in baseball and still manage to perform so well on the field? Opening Day is also the story of a team of underdogs that came together against tremendous odds to capture the pennant. Facing the powerful New York Yankees, Robinson and the Dodgers battled to the seventh game in one of the most thrilling World Series competitions of all time.

Drawing on interviews with surviving players, sportswriters, and eyewitnesses, as well as newly discovered material from archives around the country, Jonathan Eig presents a fresh portrait of a ferocious competitor who embodied integration’s promise and helped launch the modern civil-rights era. Full of new details and thrilling action, Opening Day brings to life baseball’s ultimate story.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The author of the acclaimed Luckiest Man (2005)a biography of Lou Gehrig, turns here to another great American sportsman, Jackie Robinson. So elegant in its logic is Eig's angle--chronicling Robinson's first major-league season (1947) with the Brooklyn Dodgers--it's a wonder no one thought of it before. From Robinson's preseason call-up by Brooklyn's legendary GM, Branch Rickey, to the 1947 World Series, in which the Dodgers took the Yankees to a seventh game (Brooklyn lost), Eig details the dynamics of Robinson's hard-earned acceptance by teammates, the well-chronicled abuse Robinson took from opposing fans and players, the response of local and out-of-town press, and the impact the season had on Robinson's family and on African Americans. Eig also shows what a flat-out great player Robinson was that season. If Eig's workmanlike writing style doesn't necessarily pull the reader along, his account of the Dodgers' dramatic 1947 pennant race will. Even Dodger haters--and they are legion--will cheer on the Bums in this fine account. Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Allen gives this chronicle...a measured and dignifiedreading, conveying both the excitement of the on-field action and the tense drama of Robinson's journey into the previously all-white world of pro baseball." ---Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 27411 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0743294610
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (March 20, 2007)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,100 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The story of Jackie Robinson has been told in several books by many distinguished authors. Now Jonathan Eig, author of the definitive book on Lou Gehrig, has given us a fresh look at the Brooklyn Dodgers of 1947, which was Robinson's initial season with the team. First let me say this man (Eig) can write. This is not a rehash of other stories you may have read. The author skillfully weaves the role of influential individuals such as Branch Rickey, Pee Wee Reese, Harry "The Hat" Walker, Leo "The Lip" Durocher, Burt Shotten, Eddie "The Brat" Stanky, Dick Young of the New York Daily News, and others in this historic story. Baseball rosters were heavily made up of players from the south. The Dodgers were no exception, and they brought their long held prejudices along with them. You may think you have heard all the anecdotes relating to Robinson and the Dodgers, but the gifted author of this book will provide you with nuggets of information culled from a variety of sources. Years after the fact, several former Dodger players said Robinson "made them better men." However, the author notes, these claims were made only after supporting civil rights became fashionable. In 1947, when Robinson needed these friends, he found none on the Dodgers. At least significant ones! Reese developed a genuine friendship with Robinson, but in 1947 Pee Wee was one of the boys and whether the often told incident of him supporting Robinson in Cincinnati when he was being heckled is open to question. At least for 1947. This is quite simply one of the very best of hundreds of baseball books that I have read. It is definitely a keeper for anyone's library. It's a great story, especially with the 60th anniversary rapidly approaching. I can't wait to see what this new author, Jonathan Eig, is preparing for us to read next.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RICK SHAQ GOLDSTEIN SAYS: "I LOVE JACKIE ROBINSON!" June 11, 2007
I am a born and raised Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodger fan. In fact my family moved from New York to Los Angeles the same year as the Dodgers. Before my brothers and I were born, my parents went to Ebbets field every weekend. I still have a box full of Brooklyn scorecards from those days. I was too young to see Jackie in his prime, but my Dad took me to some games in 1956 and I got to see Jackie and all the "Boys Of Summer"! I was a Brooklyn Dodger fanatic even at that age. Besides watching the Dodgers, I read everything available on them, and still do, 50 years later. I can unabashedly say I love Jackie Robinson. One of my many fond memories of my Dad, was him talking to me in front of our tiny black and white TV watching the Dodgers. He said "I have gone to hundreds of baseball games, and have seen 1,000 players, and the most exciting player I ever saw was Jackie Robinson!" "What Jackie did, was not displayed only in the statistics. Over the history of baseball, many players stole more bases. (Such as Ricky Henderson stealing bases with a 7 run lead in the 8th inning.) But no one unnerved every player on the team just by leading off the base and dancing on his pigeon toes, like Jackie. This book points out little, subtle, beneficial affects, on the whole Dodger team, that the average fan wouldn't see. The pitcher and catcher would be so nervous with Jackie dancing around on the base paths, that they would be afraid to throw curve balls, so the batters got better pitches to hit. Jackie stole home more times, than just about anyone except Ty Cobb. When we moved to Los Angeles there was a program on called the "Million Dollar Theatre", in which they showed the same movie on TV every day for a week. When the "Jackie Robinson Story" was on, I watched it every night, and literally memorized the dialogue. Read more ›
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book - for both history and enjoyment March 24, 2007
I just finished Jonathan Eig's book "Opening Day", and loved it. Like his earlier work "Luckiest Man", Eig sticks to facts and historical sources (interviews [old and new], newspaper sources) and is able to separate some of the myths surrounding Jackie Robinson and the 1947 season from the truth. For example, the story about Pee Wee Reese draping his arm around Robinson's shoulder in Cincinnati in 1947. Great story, but not much fact supporting whether it happened. Eig reports the known sources and lets the reader decide whether to believe the facts or the myth (in this case, I like the myth!).

This is the first book that I know of that chronicles the 1947 season (w/some "flashbacks", which are necessary to understand some of the people and the culture and thought of the time). Eig's writing style keeps the reader interested, as Robinson joins the Dodgers after a year with the minor league Montreal Royals, proceeds to take the field and ultimately become Major League Rookie of the Year - there was only one for both leagues at the time. Interviews with Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife, show both the courage Robinson shows, as well as the emotional turmoil, as Robinson had promised Branch Rickey that he would not fight his tormentors.

As the season progresses, Eig does a great job of how Robinson's Dodger teammates loosen up to him, believing that his playing as a ballplayer is more important than skin color. By the end of the season, Ralph Branca is catching Robinson who is diving for a foul ball, something that might not have happened earlier in the year. There's a great scene where Dixie Walker, possibly unfairly maligned as an instigator of a potential major league strike against Robinson, calls Robinson aside to give him batting tips.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The first 2/3 of the book were good as they provided good background...
The first 2/3 of the book were good as they provided good background on his challenges. The last 1/3 was largely about the Dodgers baseball games, without a real focus on Jackie
Published 20 days ago by William Meyers
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Very educational. My teenage boy loved it.
Published 26 days ago by Amanda R.
5.0 out of 5 stars For the lover of baseball and history,,
This is an absorbing account of Jackie Robinson's 1947 baseball season, a new chapter in American history. Jackie Robinson was not only a legend, but a pioneer. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Zephan
3.0 out of 5 stars Got to be a chore to read.
Had high hopes for this after seeing the movie. The detail started getting very dull. I did not finish the book
Published 3 months ago by Robert M. Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars Very intelligently written book with excitement
Very good book. One of the best I have ever read about Jackie Robinson. It explains his life in great detail and
Published 5 months ago by Zach gives a picture to the readers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Courageous story!
Published 6 months ago by Dougg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
enjoyed this interpretation of what went on in those days
Published 6 months ago by ellie cohn
4.0 out of 5 stars but overly tedious occasionally.
It was an interesting story, but overly tedious occasionally.
Published 8 months ago by Kenneth
5.0 out of 5 stars Jackie Robinson was good for baseball at a time when baseball needed...
Jackie Robinson was good for baseball at a time when baseball needed him. This is a good read about that day.
Published 8 months ago by Thebugnurse
4.0 out of 5 stars ... - had details I had never seen before - great read.
Well written - had details I had never seen before - great read.
Published 9 months ago by Kendall Ayres
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More About the Author

Jonathan Eig is the best-selling author of four books: "Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig;" "Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season;" "Get Capone;" and, most recently, "The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution." Booklist called the book "an engrossing and paramount chronicle."
Eig is a former senior writer for The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Chicago with his wife and children. For more information, go to

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