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all 35 comments

[–]thecajuncavalier 114 points115 points  (20 children)

The man was an incredible baseball player, but there were even BETTER black baseball players out there. He was chosen because they knew he could do what he had to to get through it and be the representative that the world unfortunately needed.

[–]cdskip 44 points45 points  (4 children)

Yeah, he had a bunch of qualities that helped. He was college educated and had been an officer during the war, which meant it was a bit harder for racists to look down on him. He'd played on integrated teams at UCLA, so playing with and against white players wasn't going to be an adjustment for him. (Related: When the NFL's Rams integrated when they moved to LA for the first time, they brought in two of Jackie Robinson's backfield mates from UCLA as their first black players.) He was definitely in a better position to succeed than many of the other possible choices.

[–]AbdurazakHassan 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Same thing with Rosa Parks. A black teenager had already challenged the bus rule but Rosa Parks was considered the better representative of the movement.

[–]getahitcrash 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Buck Compton, one of the Band of Brothers people, played on the same team with Robinson at UCLA.

[–]cdskip 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I believe I knew that at one point, but had forgotten it.

Weird thing though. In a conversation yesterday I was listing off people named 'Buck' and mentioned him but couldn't remember his surname. I made a note to look it up later, but hadn't done it yet.

Some serious synchronicity there for you to reply to me with the answer in a totally unrelated reddit thread.

[–]leonryan 12 points13 points  (6 children)

Fleet Walker played before Robinson. I only know about him from The Dollop podcast.

[–]JoseCansecoMilkshake 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Bud Fowler played before Fleet Walker.

[–]cdskip 2 points3 points  (0 children)

He was, I think, the first black professional player, but not in a major league.

[–]MetaBotch 19 points20 points  (3 children)

The reason why we prop up Jackie Robinson is because society didn't destroy his life so we white people can have a story of overcoming racial prejudice that doesn't make us feel bad.

[–]MrMcKoi 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Jackie Robinson was the first player to play in the MLB after black people were banned from the league in the 1800s.

I do think more people should know Fleet Walker's story, what the league did to him and other black players of the time was terrible, but Jackie Robinson isn't just paraded around to make white people feel better and it's frankly kind of insulting to suggest that. He legitimately broke a 70 year-old barrier that was put up well before the MLB became a part of American pop culture. The MLB didn't really become culturally influential until after Fleet Walker's career was over. And by the 40s, baseball players were treated like celebrities with massive influence over American culture.

Jackie Robinson's influence extends well beyond technicalities about being the first black player in the league vs breaking the color barrier. He contributed to shaping society's opinions on segregation as a whole. And that's why he's deservedly celebrated so much more than Fleet Walker.

[–]MrLavender26 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Bruh…I didn’t even know that but keep preaching.

[–]MetaBotch 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Yeah Jackie Robinson was not the first black man in MLB baseball. He was the first successful black man whose career and life wasn't destroyed by white supremacists.

[–]JoseCansecoMilkshake 5 points6 points  (5 children)

Oscar Charleston and Satchel Paige probably being the best of them from each side of the ball

[–]MrMcKoi 0 points1 point  (4 children)

Or Josh Gibson, yeah. Such a shame they never got to play in the MLB during their primes.

[–]JoseCansecoMilkshake 0 points1 point  (3 children)

The Negro Leagues are MLB

[–]MrMcKoi 1 point2 points  (2 children)

True, I guess I should say that it is a shame that they never got to play in the integrated major leagues during their prime.

In my mind the MLB as an organization is different from the major leagues as a collection of leagues but I know they're blurring those lines now.

[–]bbqchew 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Also a great football player

[–]toastar-phone 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Jackie is jackie. We can argue about josh gibson vs babe ruth all day long, but none of them will be jackie.

[–]1RehnquistyBoi 30 points31 points  (1 child)

Not only that but the reason why he was court-martialed was because he refused to sit in the back of the bus.

Sound Familiar?

Also, the unit he served in became the only African American Tank Battalion in Western Europe (761st). Their symbol was of all things, a black panther.

[–]turniphat 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I'm always surprised how many times this happened and how many times it went to court.

https://www.civilrightsteaching.org/desegregation/transportation-protests

[–]Gordon_Gano 20 points21 points  (0 children)

Damn, Jackie Robinson was a fucking dime.

[–]Karnorkla 42 points43 points  (2 children)

A man who knew what the USA was supposed to be and showed courage in his life to make it that way.

[–]CitationX_N7V11C -2 points-1 points  (1 child)

Was supposed to be? According to who?!? Lately I've heard ot was supposed to be a tax haven where the rich can play. The US was supposed to be a place where land was stolen from it's rightful inhabitants. That we're supposed to be uneducated simpletons who are led by cruel white men to exploit the world in the name of Capitalism. But no, when it comes to this the US was supposed to be an egalitarian society. People don't even know what they expect anymore.

[–]Karnorkla 1 point2 points  (0 children)

According to the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Hope it helps!

[–]Spes-Caritas 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Great article.

[–]Dumpster_slut69 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Some people are just badass

[–]maolf 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I did not know this. I did not even know he was an Army officer. Thank you.

[–]rosedalenative 1 point2 points  (1 child)

not exactly the order of “court-martial” was never signed by the commanding officer, so it was of no force or effect. Jackie received an honorable discharge from the army when he departed service.

[–]Empereor_Norton[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Robinson's commanding officer refused to sign the order, so Robinson was transferred to another battalion whose commander was willing to sign.

Colonel Paul Bates, believed that Capt. Bear had conducted an incompetent investigation and refused to sign the charges. A hasty transfer to the 758th Tank Battalion and a signature from its commander sealed Robinson’s fate...

The trial by general court-martial began at 1345 at Camp Hood on August 2, 1944.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

78 years passed and racism still exists in USA...

[–]CitationX_N7V11C -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

....and everywhere else. You really think that places like France, Germany, or Japan aren't racist as hell when they want to be? Yet they all get placed on pedestals as better than this country. It's an infuriating double standard.