Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Never Had It Made” as Want to Read:
I Never Had It Made
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I Never Had It Made

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,813 ratings  ·  253 reviews
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 c
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 6th 2003 by Ecco Press (first published January 1st 1972)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,813 ratings  ·  253 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of I Never Had It Made
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson played in his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, integrating Major League Baseball and alternating the course of 20th century American history. Seventy years later, Robinson remains a key figure in American history as his actions made him a role model for generations of African Americans. As we are approaching Martin Luther King Day, I decided to read Robinson's autobiography I Never Had it Made, his poignant and candid account of his life in and out of baseb ...more
Jackie Robinson definitely "had the guts."

After finishing I Never Had It Made today, I called my brother and asked to speak to my dad, and after a good laugh, he said, call 1-800-H.E.A.V.E.N. (oh how I wish I could) I know as sure as I'm sitting here that my dad was listening to the historic game on his transistor radio back on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson made his major league debut as a Brooklyn Dodger. Why had I never asked him about it?

This amazing story of courage about a determined

Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Never Had it Made was so much more than a book about a famous baseball player. I was expecting this autobiography by Jackie Robinson to be mostly about his baseball career, but instead it captured his whole life, from his early childhood years, to well beyond his baseball career into his involvement in politics and the civil rights movement, including the people who were influential in his life. His story was heartfelt and honest and something about it being written in his own words made it so ...more
Nov 22, 2013 rated it liked it
An autobiography that is inspiring its its entirety—certainly enough to overcome the disheartening element—via exposing to the envenomed root the way in which racism reduces a unique individual to a collective trope of projected fears and ignorance whilst simultaneously depicting the ability for a courageous and committed person—provided with the requisite buttresses of equally determined spouse, kith and kin—to effect change at an exponential level upon the viscosity and rigidity of such staunc ...more
Deacon Tom F
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very exceptional book. Honest, pithy and frank in matters of race and mistreatment. Inspiring in the baseball detail.

Jackie Robinson is a true American hero who endured more pain from prejudice and mistreatment than most.

Mush is relevant to today's racial struggles because ignorance and hate never seem to end. Thanks Jackie for making the world a better place.
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
I initially picked up this book wanting to read about Jackie Robinson’s baseball career, and while that was definitely my favorite part of it, the rest of his life was so interesting. Jackie really was a legend, and not only because he broke baseball’s color barrier. He did it with an attitude that nobody else on the planet could’ve done it with, to have the courage and strength to not fight back and let his play do the talking. And did it ever, winning an MVP and having a .311 career batting av ...more
Beth Anne
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I thought I knew Jackie Robinson’s story. Brave, courageous, professional, talented baseball-playing Jackie. But there was so much I didn’t know until reading this autobiography. Much of Jackie’s life went far beyond baseball. He spent his years giving and giving, time and energy and his celebrity status, particularly to causes and organizations that would help make America better for all Blacks. I never knew he was involved in so many businesses, politics, and spoke passionately on a wide range ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was really 4.5*. It was a fantastic read I'd recommend to anyone. I had no idea Jackie Robinson was so politically involved after his baseball retirement. I loved learning about his life after baseball. I'd seen 42, which is a great movie, but the book is way better. He does a great job at representing both sides of an argument, admitting when he made mistakes, was wrong, and backing up his arguments. Robinson comes across as a very fair-minded person who will fight tooth and nail for his p ...more
Jeremiah Lorrig
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an inspiring book.

Robinson is clear and articulate in telling of his struggle to fight against injustice and his struggle to control himself so as to be able to make history by making the world a better place.

In short, Jackie Robinson inspires me with his book that shows his hard work, passion, and thoughtful pursuit of life.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jackie Robinson needed no embellishments to recount such a fantastic story. His honesty and earnestness were apparent throughout the entire book, and it genuinely made me cry. Great read.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: struggle, race
I grew up with three brothers, therefore I first knew Jackie Robinson as a legendary baseball player. I became more aware of the world and more political, and then I found out that he had been the first Black baseball player allowed to play in the Major Leagues.

This trajectory of knowing, my initial disbelief that there was ever a time when Black people could not play baseball with white is due to the world that Jackie Robinson helped to create, and I give thanks looking back that this is the wo
Jul 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, sports
A *3.5*Read this on my e-reader. A pretty decent read written by Jackie Robinson.I usually do not read books about sports. but this was a memoir written shortly before Jackie Robinson died in the early 1970s.Mr.Robinson wrote about his childhood and of course his years spent playing for the Dodgers what he endured being one of the first black men to play professional baseball. he was honest about the prejudices he endured those first few years, how slowly his teammates learned to accept him one ...more
Brian Dempsey
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blunt and direct the way books released today would be unlikely to match. So many of the stories we have heard about Jackie over the years being told in the voice of the man who lived through these experiences is very powerful. Only Jackie and Branch Rickey (and perhaps Clyde Sukeforth) really know what was said in that very important first meeting. This also gives a vivid account of the many slights that Robinson did not know about firsthand, but only learned later. It is a story that shows Jac ...more
Carol Storm
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shockingly honest -- the black autobiography white liberals can't afford not to read!

Given the smug, patronizing way Baby-Boom liberals from Anna Quindlen to Matt Groening have appropriated the Civil Rights movement as their own personal victory, it's genuinely shocking to hear the way Jackie Robinson defends Richard Nixon and ridicules JFK.

Yet that's only one of the shocking secrets you'll learn in this long-forgotten (or is that long-suppressed?) heroic narrative of the black experience.

Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, blog, baseball
Rating: 4 1/2 of 5 stars (excellent)

Review:Jackie Robinson is one of the few athletes whose importance and popularity transcended sports. “I Never Had It Made” is an excellent autobiography on his life, his outspoken views on the state of civil rights for black people during his life and oh, yes, a little bit about his baseball career with the Brooklyn Dodgers as well.

Most people know of his accomplishments on the baseball field and what he had to endure during his early years with the Dodgers,
2015 Book Challenge #33: A book I started but never finished

This book was on sale on the Nook last summer, and I started it in July after finishing Mariano Rivera's The Closer, and I was so desperate for more baseball. I made the mistake of starting, however, while teaching summer school, so I stalled out after about 75 pages and finally started reading again in late December. I read the last 160 pages, however, in the last few days. Somehow, I was just as riveted at his life post-baseball as I
Anuj Davé
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A straightforward yet inspiring story of what it took to be the first man of color to break into the white world of professional sports. Jackie Robinson's story is more than a telling of his tremendous talent; it is also a recollection that showcases his tenacious spirit, bravery and the courage of his ideals. From the early influences of family and friends, to his time at UCLA, to the army where he challenged racism and Jim Crow laws, Jackie Robinson traces his life to playing in the black leag ...more
Vannessa Anderson
Dec 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading I Never Had It Made served to remind me that the more things change, the more they remain the same. The racism Jackie Robinson experienced is the same racism Blacks are experiencing in 2016, the 21st Century, it only looks slightly different. You’ve got to admire a man who had the tenacity to accept the violence and hate of racism while building his career.

If you’re a sports fan you’ll enjoy reading about Jackie Robinson’s trials and tribulations. If you enjoy reading about history, you’
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful read whether you're an avid baseball fan or (like me) completely uneducated on the baseball world. Jackie Robinson's voice comes through loud and clear in a tone of humility, pride, and dedication. Robinson was a hero in so many ways and affected the history of the US in more ways than I ever imagined. ...more
Brandy Bones
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this with a seventh grader and it led to lots of great conversations for which I am very grateful.
Kaleb Martin
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Book Review for “I Never Had It Made”

The story “I never had it made” is about a African American baseball player that couldn't really play because of his dark complected skin color. The main characters in this book are Jackie Robinson, The coach, and all the players that started to believe in him. Jackie Robinson wanted to prove he could be one of the best baseball players in the world as an African American.
Jackie Robinson happened to run into some problems while becoming a major league baseba
Luke Koran
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
Possibly the most bravest, compassionate, and outspoken man in the history of American sports, Jackie Robinson shares his entire life’s journey with the world in this groundbreaking autobiography, “I Never Had it Made.” Be prepared to hear the true story of #42, from his early years in California, the Army, and the Negro Leagues, to his ten years in professional baseball, along with a thorough commentary on his business and political aspirations following retirement as well as his plentiful cont ...more
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
To me, there are very few players that come close to Jackie Robinson in terms of representing the entire sport of Baseball. These names just conjure smells of peanuts and spilled beer, sounds of jeering crowds and the feel hot August air. Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio... and Jackie. To most of us, we never got to see him play or witness his first steps onto a baseball diamond completely devoid of any other color, and we just know of his accomplishments after the fact. Reading his autobio ...more
Kelsi Hansen
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
Can't actually decide what to give this book - 2 or 3 stars. I had an extremely hard time getting into it/finishing it. For some reason I was compelled to finish it, and I'm overall glad I did. I am really impressed with Jackie Robinson. I didn't know a lot about him going in, but he really did a lot of good, and really tried hard to make this world a better place for everyone. Again just really impressed with the person that he was, I just did not love the writing style at all but the content i ...more
Dillon Liskai
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title of the book does not lie. As a black man in an entirely white world, Jackie Robinson never had it made. He was never given anything in life, and put his blood, sweat, and tears in to everything he did. Whether it's on the baseball field or on the debate floor, Jackie Robinson made sure to make his name known. He was a trailblazer not only athletically, but in every other facet as well. Jackie never backed down and had a blue-collar attitude to everything he did. Maybe that's why everyo ...more
Benjamin Dueholm
This is a frank and bracing book. It is shorter on the vivid anecdotes and gripping play-by-play details than one might expect. It's not a book about Robinson's reverence for the poetry of baseball. It's about making it, surviving it, paying the cost he was uniquely required to pay, and then making good on his prominence in his post-baseball career. The voice is talkative but not casual, serious but not affected. His accounts of the 1964 Republican convention, of his meetings with various nation ...more
This book was mainly how Jackie dealt with racism not really with playing baseball. If you're into seeing the main character having a lot of struggles but some motivation at the then I recommend this book. ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
GoodRead....This Read makes Mi want more information about Jackie
Richard Lamont
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I would have rated this book higher, but I'm not the biggest baseball fan in the world. It's a big part of my family, but I am not that big into it. With that being said, this book is pretty good and would be an absolute read for any baseball fan. Jackie Robinson completely changed baseball by being the first black player in the modern MLB era. This book takes you through his challenging career as it was not just baseball he had to face. He dealt with tons of criticism and racism based on his co ...more
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This turned out to be a very interesting autobiography --- history through memoir, I would call it. Robinson does not go on a year by year review of his life, but instead touches on specific topics in each chapter, with quite a bit of the book covering his post-baseball days. Highly recommended for sports fans and for civil rights history fans.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
i never had it made 2 4 Oct 10, 2019 08:57PM  
Reading This Book 1 2 Oct 26, 2011 06:34AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America
  • Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay
  • For the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League Baseball
  • I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story
  • K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches
  • Yogi: A Life Behind the Mask
  • Rage
  • 24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid
  • The Inside Game: Bad Calls, Strange Moves, and What Baseball Behavior Teaches Us About Ourselves
  • The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team
  • The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players
  • Crash: The Life and Times of Dick Allen
  • The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
  • Fortitude (Enhanced E-Book): The Exemplary Life of Jackie Robinson
  • The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball's Golden Age
  • Wow, No Thank You.
  • The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher
  • Assholeology: The Science Behind Getting Your Way - and Getting Away with it
See similar books…

Related Articles

What will you do when it's your turn to pick your book club's next read? Well, this is what you won't do: panic. Why not? Because we've dug...
81 likes · 17 comments
“There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey's drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.” 6 likes
“on Staten Island. The” 1 likes
More quotes…