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Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season
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Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season

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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  782 ratings  ·  87 reviews
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 i
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ebook, 336 pages
Published March 20th 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,288)
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Lynn Green
Eig's biography of Jack Roosevelt Robinson's first year as a Brooklyn Dodger is a scrupulously balanced account of an oft-told legend. Eig reseaches many of the stories told about Robinson's rookie season such as Pee Wee Reese's gesture of support for Robinson by giving Jackie a shoulder hug during a game when the opposing team cursed and jeered baseball's first modern black player. Eig is somewhat skeptical that it happened, if at all, as the stories about the hug claim.

Robinson is portrayed as
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Brian
This was the first book that I had ever read about Jackie Roosevelt Robinson or about the integration of major league baseball. I found this book to be very well-written and a very interesting read.

The author mixed in the the major social and major political events of the day, including the vast number of changes that were occurring in the United States in the days immediately following World War II and just prior to the Korean Conflict. By doing this he was providing the reader with a broad bac
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Jeff
Not nearly as good as Eig's book on Lou Gehrig, but still OK. Relied too much on newspaper clippings from 1947, piecing them together without really getting into the heart of the story. Spent a lot of time debunking Robinson myths, claiming that according to newspaper reports, certain things never happened. Further research would have shown that some events, such as Pee Wee Reese putting his arm on Robinson's shoulder, happened in later years, and that some events that were recalled in later yea ...more
Chris Witt
The positives were the same as the negatives for me.

It's very impartial and dispels some of the "legends" that surround Robinson's career. But at the same time, it comes across as somewhat distant and removed. It's almost too factual and, well, it's kind of a vanilla read.

A solid thumbs up for unbiased reporting on Jackie's first season as well as how it affected other people's lives that year. But a thumbs down for not being something I really enjoyed reading.

I'll still check out Eig's book on
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Wesley Roth
Jackie Robinson is one of my heroes, ever since 7th grade when I did my final paper and speech about him and his life. This book was well written, taking the reader through the 1947 season when Jackie broke the color barrier. "Over one spectacular summer, he proved that black Americans had been held back not by their inferiority but by systematic discrimination. And he proved it not with printed words or arguments declaimed before a judge. He proved it with deeds. That was Jackie Robinson's true ...more
Michael
It's hard to imagine any athlete having to perform under more pressure than Jackie Robinson performed under during his first season in the major leagues. Not only was he playing for his spot on his team, but for any spot on any team that a black man might be considered for in the future. He had to prove that black man could perform under the scrutiny of the major leagues. And, as Eig recounts in Opening Day, he did so with flying colors. He didn't just maintain his spot in the daily lineup, he t ...more
Bennett
One of the best baseball books I have ever read. Eig shows great passion and emotion in writing about Jackie Robinsons' breakthrough year, 1947, with the Brooklyn Dodgers, while still giving the subject honest and unbiased treatment. It was an incredibly difficult time on so many levels, but none more difficult than the abuse and isolation Robinson endured with stoic character. Robinson was himself far from perfect being somewhat aloof himself from those closest to him and at times brooding and ...more
Ice
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Makenzie Dolnick
By telling the story of Jackie Robinson, Jonathan Eig is tackling a story that has been told many times through different mediums, ranging from children’s books like In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson to books like Baseball’s Great Experiment and films like The Jackie Robinson Story. This can be very daunting in the 21st century, as most readers will know so much about Robinson that it is important for the writer to try and dig even further into the story of the 1947 season.

In his secon
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Corey Stolzenbach
Eig does a fantastic job blending in emotions and painting pictures in this very thorough description of Robinson's first season. He doesn't waste any time setting the scene in the prologue, with April 10, 1947 being five days before Robinson's historic debut and comparing it to other historical moments and just going from there. He reminds us it wasn't easy with how segregated the country was and how Robinson had to hold back, but made a significant impact.

It really conveys the emotions when re
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Mara
The title of this book is wonderfully accurate. It really is the story of the entire season, and not just the baseball parts (although baseball fans won't be disappointed in the description of plays and pitches). But it is much more than a play-by-play of every game the Dodgers played in 1947; Eig paints a picture of the entire season and how it resonated throughout the country.

Eig's writing is so vivid, you can feel the emotion as Jackie walks into the clubhouse for the first time, as he takes
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Martin
At the risk of damning with faint praise, this book was Nice. And I mean it when I say that I’m NOT damning with faint praise; it is truly a Nice Book. (Of course, “Nice” does only get you three stars…)

I enjoyed the read from start to finish, but there was not much THERE there. For a comprehensive account of Jack(ie) Robinson’s first year in Major League Baseball, there was surprisingly little meat. Cover one season in a full-length book and I expect some insight. There was barely even any expl
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Bob
I read this book after watching the movie 42. Outstanding book which goes deeper into the first season of Jackie Robinson's baseball career. Really is sad that people can be so mean to another human being. I am glad that Mr. Robinson was able to keep his eyes on the ultimate prize and not get sucked in to retaliatory tactics that would have placed a blemish on his accomplishments. Really enjoyed this book as I am a huge fan of the game of baseball.
Katie
I wanted to like this book more, but often found my mind wandering as I read; the writing was not at all engaging or exciting and thus this book took me a long time to finish (I basically had to force myself). This is less a story about Jackie Robinson, and more a story of all the other people and circumstances around him during his first season. Although I have a better understanding of the in's and out's of MLB in 1947, I still don't feel like I have much perspective on Robinson as a person. ( ...more
Andrew
May 12, 2008 Andrew rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball/history buffs
Shelves: sports, history
Overall a easy smooth read that attempts to impart a lot of information about Robinson and American society. I appreciate the way that Eig did not shy away from some of the less than heroic aspects of Robinson's personality or his post-baseball career. At times the book gets repetitive, which is only a small sin that the author uses to reenforce information. My larger complaint was with Eig's attempts at more poetic prose or cute metaphors. Lines such as "The ballpark had a sneaky kind of beauty ...more
Mike
I thought this was an excellent book exmaining Jackie Robinson's first season in the majors. This book did not make out Jackie Robinson to be a Saint. He was a human being, just like anyone else, with positive qualities and weaknesses. It looked not just at his performance on the field, but also how he spent his down time and what his personality was. The narrative also extends to the leaugue as a whole as well as the larger society in general. It touches on how other black players did in the ma ...more
Ben
Like the full title suggests, Opening Day is not a traditional birth-to-death biography of Jackie Robinson. The author spends very little time on Robinson's path to Major League Baseball, the tail end of his career, or his retirement years.

But Jackie Robinson's personal story, of course, pales in comparison to the impact of integrating an African-American into Major League Baseball in 1947. He's no Ali, no Babe Ruth. And I in no way say that to take away anything from his accomplishments or his
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Mark
"April 15, 1947, marked the most important opening day in baseball history." So begins Amazon's book description of this very fine limited biography of the first year of Robinson's first major league season; the first black man to play in major league baseball. While focussed primarily on that single season, the author gives enough back story on the major characters and other societal happenings prior to 1947 to set things in historical perspective. Similarly, he gives a satisfying synopsis of t ...more
Korrin
I chose to read this book for extra credit in my Post WWII class at school. It really was a lot more interesting than what I signed up for! Not only did it recount Jackie's playing times and his struggles and sacrifices, it also gave a background of his family and his wife Rachel and of their life as husband and wife during their baseball seasons. It gave the back stories of individual Brooklyn Dodgers players and Branch Rickey, the man who signed Jackie up for THE chances of his life. It even g ...more
Jeff Dickison
A good retelling of Jackie Robinson's first year in the majors (1947). It is hard to imagine what he had to go through that year. If he had failed baseball might never have been integrated. Good read.
Jeremiah Gumm
Apr 03, 2014 Jeremiah Gumm rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Baseball fans
Very well-written and well-researched account of Jackie Robinson's 1947 season. On par with Eig's bio on Lou Gehrig (Luckiest Man) and David Maraniss' bio on Roberto Clemente (Clemente). Definitely a worthwhile read for baseball fans.
Jason
The touch of sentimentality (if that's a word) I found in the intro was the last I encountered, until maybe the last paragraph of the epilouge. I can't really put a finger on the "why" of it, but the first half of the book felt a bit flat. A history, a baseball book, a bio - it just didn't connect on any level. Content-wise, I kept getting the feeling that I already knew "that". And "that". etc.

Fortunately somewhere around the mid-way point, it just settled in to being a good read. The story go
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Donald
A complex, nuanced portrait of Jackie Robinson, told with stunning detail and insight into the first black man to play major league baseball in the 20th century. As an historical account, this book goes beyond myth and revisionist morality to create what feels like a genuine account of a complicated man in a complicated place. As a baseball book, it is wonderfully expansive on an important era with lots of legendary players. As a literary work, it is a top-notch narrative told in an elegant, rhy ...more
Ty
This book is a very focused biography of Jackie Robinson, concentrating primarily on the events of that historic first season. The author does cover Robinson's upbringing some, but largely to set the scene for why Branch Rickey chose Jackie to be the 1st. For baseball nuts, it's a great book, digging into the slumps and streaks of Jackie's season, how the other guys on the Dodgers and those he played against treated him at the beginning of the season vs. the end, covering how Jackie responded to ...more
Therese
I should preface this with the fact that I like baseball, but I don't LOVE baseball. I was really interested in learning more about Jackie Robinson's story after seeing a play (Mr Rickey Calls A Meeting) and had actually knew the author from my previous job. The book starts out strong, giving the kind of color and depth to the Jackie Robinson story that I was craving. I didn't particularly get a lot out of the play-by-play descriptions of the games in the Dodgers-Yankees world series and those p ...more
Corton
Very good - author did lots of research and interviewed Jackie Robinons's wife and some friends to write this story. I liked it a lot since it combined baseball with social justice. I felt the author gave you detailed descriptions of characters and events so you could know the characters involved in the story and feel you were there at the event in the time and place. I would say you 'd have to like baseball - lots of detail of games and plays, but he moved the story along well. He really gave y ...more
Marc
Opening day chronicles Jackie Robinson's rise to the spotlight as he became the first African American to break the color line in 1947 and play baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers. This book tells the whole story, from Branch Rickey's planning process to move the US forward in its race-relations and at the same time capture the African American fan base, to the selection of Jackie to be the man to suffer the cruelty that a largely bigoted population would heap on him -- without fighting back. A mu ...more
Roopa
Very factual account of Jackie Robinson's career. The book has fascinating bits and pieces about everything related to segregation/racism in the 1940's, Rachel and Jack Robinson, Brooklyn in the 40's, and near play-by-play's of Jackie's Opening Day with the Dodgers, 1947 WS, and other important games. Also copious amounts of information about every coach, manager, and commentator that affect Jackie Robinson. Great read for true baseball fans or the obsessed.

Downside is that the book reads like a
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Stew
I like to read about one baseball book per season and I've been wanting to read this one for a couple years. Eig did a wonderful job on capturing Jackie Robinson's first season in the Majors. He did not get bogged down in minutia, which can be a pitfall in so many of these books.
I also enjoyed reading some of the asides of how Robinson indirectly impacted the lives of some fans who saw him play that year. As a journalist, I also liked his analysis of how the media covered this event. Recommende
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Colleen
I wanted to read this before we saw the movie 42, so I had a little more information about Jackie Robinson. This is one of many, many books on the subject and I don't know if it was the best for me. There was way too much baseball but if you like to hear about every pitch, play and out that season this book is for you. I did enjoy reading about the social issues in the country at the time (1947) and the hurdles that faced black Americans. Robinson is a true hero to survive the racial prejudice a ...more
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Jonathan Eig is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and a New York Times best-selling author who has written four books: "Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig;" "Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season;" "Get Capone;" and "The Birth of the Pill."
More about Jonathan Eig...
Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution Playing With Fire: A Story Of Genius, Madness, and Music I Remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Ever Wanted - and ALS

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“more “dignified and business-like manner,” fans would remain loyal, he said. The black newspaper writers were nearly unanimous in their support for integration, and so were the owners of Negro-league teams, even though Jim Crow was essential to the success of both their industries. The few voices crying out for the protection and preservation of black baseball tended to be whites, including Calvin Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators, who wrote that white baseball had “no right to destroy” the Negro leagues. He continued: “Your two [Negro] leagues have established a splendid reputation and now have the support and respect of the colored people all over this country as well as the decent white people. . . . Anything that is worthwhile is worth fighting for so you folks should” 0 likes
“Scottish philosopher William Drummond, read: “He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot reason is a fool; he who dares not reason is a slave.” 0 likes
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