Scholastic Essay Contest 2013 Jackie Robinson

RULES: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. All students who are legal residents of, and currently reside in, the U.S., D.C., Puerto Rico, and Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are currently enrolled in grades 4–9 are eligible to enter, except for those who have family members employed by Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., Scholastic Inc., and other related companies (see the Official Rules for a complete listing). Entries accepted in English or Spanish. Visit scholastic.com/breakingbarriers/officialrules for complete Official Rules and restrictions. All prospective winners and their respective parents/legal guardians will be required to sign, notarize, and return an affidavit of eligibility/release of liability within ten (10) days of date of notification or an alternate winner may be selected. In the event of prize unavailability, a prize of equal or greater value will be awarded as determined by the sole discretion of MLB. No cash substitutions for prizes. Prizes are nontransferable. ERV of Prizes: Grand Prize ($7,659.70); MVP ($4,859.70); All-Star ($2,159.70).

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April 15 marks the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color barrier in Major League Baseball. A student once asked me: "What is the color barrier?" Baseball's "color barrier" refers to the time in U.S. history when black- and brown-skinned ballplayers were kept out of the Majors. In 1947, my father, Jackie Robinson, broke through that barrier. He made it easier for others to follow.

Fifty years later, the education program Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life was created to help diverse students of all backgrounds understand Jackie Robinson’s accomplishments. By learning about his life, you’ll come to understand the values that made my father successful on the field, and that guided him as a parent. I hope you’ll also discover strengths in your own character to help you overcome barriers in your life. Here is his story:

American baseball became popular during the Civil War. Briefly in the late 1800s, two black players, Bud Fowler and Moses Fleetwood Walker, played alongside white players. But by 1890, Major League Baseball, like most of the U.S., was "segregated." Black- and brown-skinned players were in the Negro Leagues. Whites played in the Majors.

In 1945, Branch Rickey wanted to break baseball’s color barrier.

Rickey was president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He sent scouts to check out the Negro League players—many were well-known and highly skilled. Players such as Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson

topped the list provided by Mr. Rickey’s scouts. But they agreed on Jack Roosevelt Robinson.

The scouts told Mr. Rickey that during his season with the Negro League team the Kansas City Monarchs, Robinson played shortstop. He had a very high batting average of .387, honed his skill at stealing bases, and was chosen for the league’s All-Star Game.

They presented his college statistics next. While at UCLA, he was the leading basketball scorer in his conference. He was also the national champion in the long jump, an All-American halfback in football, and a varsity baseball shortstop. In fact, he was the first athlete at UCLA to letter in four sports in a single year.

In a now-famous meeting, Mr. Rickey

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