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Download Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season, by Jonathan Eig Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (404 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Eig Narrator: Richard Allen Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

He was an unlikely hero: he had little experience in organized baseball, his swing was far from graceful, and he was assigned to play first base—a position he had never tried before that season. But the biggest concern was his temper. Robinson was an angry man who played an aggressive style of ball. In order to succeed he would have to control himself in the face of what promised to be a brutal assault by opponents of integration.

In Opening Day, Jonathan Eig tells the true story behind the national pastime’s most sacred myth. Along the way 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Allen gives this chronicle…a measured and dignified reading, 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

  • “A wonderful book that provided insights about Lou, his amazing life, and outstanding career.”

    Cal Ripkin Jr. on Luckiest Man

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jeff | 2/18/2014

    " 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 years by participants may not have been deemed significant enough to warrant inclusion in the news of the day. All in all, a decent book, but I would read Jules Tygiel's book if I wanted a true sense of the Robinson story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Chum | 2/10/2014

    " A friend wrote this book on Jackie Robinson and there is a lot of interesting material in it on race relations at the time. I know very little about baseball history and I found this book enlightening on that topic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michael | 2/7/2014

    " 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 thrived, and became one of the best players in the history of the game. The book gives brief chapters on Robinson's upbringing and his later career and life, but the bulk of the book focuses, as the subtitle suggests, on his first season in the majors. Such a narrow focus adds a very baseball-like dimension to this story. The baseball season is long and it ebbs and flows with streaks of greatness interspersed with streaks of failure. Robinson went through all of that during his first season, and since Eig decided to dedicate this entire book to his first season, the reader gets to go through it with him. We cheer him on as he's batting over .400 and we worry with him when he hasn't been hitting for the past ten games. Eig also does a wonderful job of placing Robinson's first season in the context of its time and showing what it meant to him, to other players on his team and in his league, to others of his race, and to the country as a whole. This is a very accessible, objectively written, book on one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of sports--which is not that a black man played in the major leagues, but that a man thrived in the major leagues while he was reminded every day that he was different and unwanted by some. And that he did so with such grace is a testament to his moral courage. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kerin Soares | 2/5/2014

    " This is a great book. It is an insight into Jackie Robinson's courage, fighting against the racism in the country at the time he broke the color line is professional baseball. "

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