I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson

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The bestselling autobiography of American baseball and civil rights legend Jackie Robinson

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 candid, hard-hitting account of what it took to become the first black man in history to play in the major leagues.

I Never Had It Made recalls Robinson's early years and influences: his time at UCLA, where he became the school's first four-letter athlete; his army stint during World War II, when he challenged Jim Crow laws and narrowly escaped court martial; his years of frustration, on and off the field, with the Negro Leagues; and finally that fateful day when Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers proposed what became known as the "Noble Experiment"—Robinson would step up to bat to integrate and revolutionize baseball.

More than a baseball story, I Never Had It Made also reveals the highs and lows of Robinson's life after baseball. He recounts his political aspirations and civil rights activism; his friendships with Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, William Buckley, Jr., and Nelson Rockefeller; and his troubled relationship with his son, Jackie, Jr.

I Never Had It Made endures as an inspiring story of a man whose heroism extended well beyond the playing field.

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About the author

Jackie Robinson shared the turbulent and triumphant story of his life with freelance writer Alfred Duckett, who contributed to the powerful speeches and sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Co-author of I Never Had it Made, Alfred Duckett assisted Jackie Robinson in writing a newspaper column, and had an important role working on the speeches and sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Mar 19, 2013
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780062287298
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / General
Biography & Autobiography / Sports
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Curt Flood, former star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, is a hero to many for selflessly sacrificing his career to challenge the legality of baseball’s reserve system. Although he lost his case before the Supreme Court, he has become for many a martyr in the eventually successful battle for free agency. Sportswriters and fans alike have helped to paint a picture of Flood as a larger-than-life figure, a portrait that, unhappily, cannot stand closer inspection. This book reveals the real Curt Flood—more man than myth.

Flood stirred up a hornet’s nest by refusing to be traded from the Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies after the 1969 season, arguing that Major League Baseball’s reserve system reduced him to the status of bondage. Flood decided to resist a system in which his contract could be traded without his consent and in which he was not at liberty to negotiate his services in an open market. Stuart Weiss examines the man behind the decision, exploring the span of Flood’s life and shedding light on his relationships with those who helped shape his determination to sue baseball and providing a new perspective on the lawsuit that found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although a superb player, Flood was known to be temperamental and sensitive; in suing Major League Baseball he transformed his grievances against the Cardinals front office into an attack on how the business of big-league ball was conducted. Weiss shows that Flood was far from the stereotypical “dumb jock” but was rather a proud, multifaceted black man in a business run by white moguls. By illuminating Flood’s private side, rarely seen by the public, he reveals how Flood misled a gullible press on a regular basis and how his 1971 memoir, The Way It Is, didn’t tell it the way it really was.

Drawing on previously untapped sources, Weiss examines more fully and deeply than other writers the complexities of Flood’s decision to pursue his lawsuit—and demonstrates that the picture of Flood as a martyr for free agency is a myth. He suggests why, of all the players traded or sold through the years, it was Flood who brought this challenge. Weiss also explains how Flood’s battle against the reserve system cannot be understood in isolation from the personal experiences that precipitated it, such as his youth in a dysfunctional home, his troubled first marriage, his financial problems, and his unwavering commitment to the Cardinals.

The Curt Flood Story is a realistic account of an eloquent man who presented a warm, even vulnerable, face to the public as well as to friends, while hiding his inner furies. It shows that Flood was neither a hero nor a martyr but a victim of unique circumstances and his own life.

The legendary New York Yankee catcher tells the incredible story of his personal journey, offering an unexpected, behind-the-plate view of his career, his past, and the father-son bond that fueled his love of the game.

For seventeen seasons, the name Jorge Posada was synonymous with New York Yankees baseball. A fixture behind home plate throughout the Yankees biggest successes, Jorge became the Yankees' star catcher almost immediately upon his arrival, and in the years that followed, his accomplishments, work ethic, and leadership established him as one of the greatest Yankees ever to put on the uniform.

Now, in this long-awaited memoir, Jorge Posada details his journey to home plate, sharing a remarkable, generational account of his journey from the ball fields of Puerto Rico to the House that Ruth built. Offering a view from behind the mask unlike any other, Jorge discusses the key moments and plays that shaped teams and forged a legacy that came to define Yankee baseball for a generation. With pitch-by-pitch recall, Jorge looks back across the years, explaining how—as part of the Core Four alongside Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera—he helped to reestablish the Yankees as a dynasty and win five World Series.

Going beyond his all-star career, Jorge also shares his life in full for the first time, examining how his remarkable journey to the big leagues began in the most unexpected of ways. Digging into his cultural roots in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, Jorge illuminates three generations of cherished father-son relationships that have made him the man he is today. At the center is the deep bond he shares with his father and namesake, Jorge Sr, who escaped Cuba and would eventually mold his son to be a ball player, honing his talent and instilling in him the drive necessary to fulfill his childhood dream of playing in the Bronx.

Complete with sixteen pages of color photographs, this touching and earnest memoir is a testament to hard work and a celebration of the generational gift of baseball between fathers and sons.

A soul-baring, brutally candid, and richly eventful memoir of the two years—1977 and 1978—when Reggie Jackson went from outcast to Yankee legend

In the spring of 1977 Reggie Jackson should have been on top of the world. The best player of the Oakland A’s dynasty, which won three straight World Series, he was the first big-money free agent, wooed and flattered by George Steinbrenner into coming to the New York Yankees, which hadn’t won a World Series since 1962. But Reggie was about to learn, as he writes in this vivid and surprising memoir, that until his initial experience on the Yankees “I didn’t know what alone meant.”
     His manager, the mercurial, alcoholic, and pugilistic Billy Martin, never wanted him on the team and let Reggie—and the rest of the team—know it. Most of his new teammates, resentful of his contract, were aloof at best and hostile at worst. Brash and outspoken, but unused to the ferocity of New York’s tabloid culture, Reggie hadn’t realized how rumor and offhand remarks can turn into screaming negative headlines—especially for a black athlete with a multimillion-dollar contract. Sickened by Martin’s anti-Semitism, his rages, and his quite public disparagement of his new star, ostracized by his teammates, and despairing of how he was stereotyped in the press, Reggie had long talks with his father about quitting. Things hit bottom when Martin plotted to humiliate him during a nationally televised game against the Red Sox. It seemed as if a glorious career had been derailed.
     But then: Reggie vowed to persevere; his pride, work ethic, and talent would overcome Martin’s nearly sociopathic hatred. Gradually, he would win over the fans, then his teammates, as the Yankees surged to the pennant. And one magical autumn evening, he became “Mr. October” in a World Series performance for the ages. He thought his travails were over—until the next season when the insanity began again.
     Becoming Mr. October is a revelatory self-portrait of a baseball icon at the height of his public fame and private anguish. Filled with revealing anecdotes about the notorious “Bronx Zoo” Yankees of the late 1970s and bluntly honest portrayals of his teammates and competitors, this is eye-opening baseball history as can be told only by the man who lived it.
The extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson is illuminated as never before in this full-scale biography by Arnold Rampersad, who was chosen by Jack's widow, Rachel, to tell her husband's story, and was given unprecedented access to his private papers. We are brought closer than we have ever been to the great ballplayer, a man of courage and quality who became a pivotal figure in the areas of race and civil rights.

Born in the rural South, the son of a sharecropper, Robinson was reared in southern California. We see him blossom there as a student-athlete as he struggled against poverty and racism to uphold the beliefs instilled in him by his mother--faith in family, education, America, and God.

We follow Robinson through World War II, when, in the first wave of racial integration in the armed forces, he was commissioned as an officer, then court-martialed after refusing to move to the back of a bus. After he plays in the Negro National League, we watch the opening of an all-American drama as, late in 1945, Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers recognized Jack as the right player to break baseball's color barrier--and the game was forever changed.

Jack's never-before-published letters open up his relationship with his family, especially his wife, Rachel, whom he married just as his perilous venture of integrating baseball began. Her memories are a major resource of the narrative as we learn about the severe harassment Robinson endured from teammates and opponents alike; about death threats and exclusion; about joy and remarkable success. We watch his courageous response to abuse, first as a stoic endurer, then as a fighter who epitomized courage and defiance.

We see his growing friendship with white players like Pee Wee Reese and the black teammates who followed in his footsteps, and his embrace by Brooklyn's fans. We follow his blazing career: 1947, Rookie of the Year; 1949, Most Valuable Player; six pennants in ten seasons, and 1962, induction into the Hall of Fame.

But sports were merely one aspect of his life. We see his business ventures, his leading role in the community, his early support of Martin Luther King Jr., his commitment to the civil rights movement at a crucial stage in its evolution; his controversial associations with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Humphrey, Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller, and Malcolm X.

Rampersad's magnificent biography leaves us with an indelible image of a principled man who was passionate in his loyalties and opinions: a baseball player who could focus a crowd's attention as no one before or since; an activist at the crossroads of his people's struggle; a dedicated family man whose last years were plagued by illness and tragedy, and who died prematurely at fifty-two. He was a pathfinder, an American hero, and he now has the biography he deserves.
"It's not every day that I'm blown away by a book about a sports figure. But MICHAEL JORDAN: THE LIFE, by Roland Lazenby, ranks up there with the very best: The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger, and Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer. The depth of reporting, his frequent ascent into poetry, and his intelligent analysis of the life of this complicated, fascinating American icon deserve Pulitzer Prize consideration. For the first time I understand what makes Michael Jordan tick. I was captivated, fascinated and beguiled from beginning to end." -- Peter Golenbock, New York Times-bestselling author of George and In the Country of Brooklyn

The definitive biography of a legendary athlete

The Shrug. The Shot. The Flu Game. Michael Jordan is responsible for sublime moments so ingrained in sports history that they have their own names. When most people think of him, they think of his beautiful shots with the game on the line, his body totally in sync with the ball -- hitting nothing but net.

But for all his greatness, this scion of a complex family from North Carolina's Coastal Plain has a darker side: he's a ruthless competitor and a lover of high stakes. There's never been a biography that encompassed the dual nature of his character and looked so deeply at Jordan on and off the court -- until now.

Basketball journalist Roland Lazenby spent almost thirty years covering Michael Jordan's career in college and the pros. He witnessed Jordan's growth from a skinny rookie to the instantly recognizable global ambassador for basketball whose business savvy and success have millions of kids still wanting to be just like Mike. Yet Lazenby also witnessed the Michael Jordan whose drive and appetite are more fearsome and more insatiable than any of his fans could begin to know. Michael Jordan: The Life explores both sides of his personality to reveal the fullest, most compelling story of the man who is Michael Jordan.

Lazenby draws on his personal relationships with Jordan's coaches; countless interviews with Jordan's friends, teammates, and family members; and interviews with Jordan himself to provide the first truly definitive study of Michael Jordan: the player, the icon, and the man.
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