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

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  983 Ratings  ·  94 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
ebook, 336 pages
Published March 20th 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2007)
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Sean Gibson
Aug 03, 2015 Sean Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.8 Stars

Reviewed for Kirkus when it came out:
Feb 17, 2015 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this with my twelve-year-old son, partly because he loves baseball (and I wanted to introduce him to the merits of non-fiction), but also because as part of his homeschool curriculum we are studying the Civil War, its outcome, and its impact on American culture both then and today.

Though this book offers a lot of information about Jackie the man/player as it documents his first season playing with the Dodgers, this is as much a story about the integration of baseball as it is a straight r
Lynn Green
May 06, 2013 Lynn Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, biography
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
Sep 02, 2007 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryan Baskin
This book is very good. It can be an interesting topic to a baseball fan. Or in the fact that you like to understand Jackie Robinsons story. It tells how he made his spot in history and how he made it in the league. The book might get a little bad at times, but it is a true story that will get you hooked from the first page. According to writing style, I would say that the author needs to make his pages shorter and then just make the book longer, because in my opinion, I get more into a book if ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John Hiller
Apr 02, 2015 John Hiller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an incredible book. It was not simply a collection of hateful and racist episodes experienced by the first black baseball player, although that was certainly included. Opening Day focused on the social temperature of America in 1947, just following the hardships endured during World War II. It not only explored the social climate of Brooklyn (home of the Dodgers back then), but the other National League cities such as Cincinnati, Pittsburg, and St. Louis. It accounted for attitudes of o ...more
Wesley Roth
Aug 05, 2014 Wesley Roth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
A solid account of the integration in 1947 of major-league baseball that avoids being too hero-worshippy and at least questions some of the myth-making around the great Robinson in his first season. At times it felt as if there was a little too much padding, and I felt that frequent irk when the author repeats information or opinions; I can remember what was written a page or two before, even many chapter past. But if you enjoy baseball and history, this is likely a good account to pick up, thou ...more
Jun 30, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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
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
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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
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
Jul 14, 2013 Mara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2012 Martin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012books
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
Jul 13, 2014 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 18, 2011 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 12, 2008 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball/history buffs
Shelves: history, sports
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
Aug 19, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 25, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Dec 26, 2011 Korrin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2014 Jeff Dickison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it  ·  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.
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
Jun 01, 2008 Donald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 11, 2011 Ty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 15, 2016 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted this book to do more than it did. Robinson is an amazing figure--in some ways much more amazing than the legend would have us believe--and there are some interesting nuggets of information about him in Eig's book. Unfortunately, Eig does a lot more interesting reporting about Jackie's teammates and fans around the country who were affected by Robinson's first season, rather than delving into the psychology of this fascinating man. A worthwhile read, but only for people who either really ...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."
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“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.” 1 likes
“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
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