Jackie Robinson Tries Out for the Majors

April 16, 1945. Jackie Robinson is ready. He’s won a tryout with the Boston Red Sox, and if he makes the team, he will become the first player to break baseball’s long-standing racial divide. Robinson puts his supreme athletic skills on full display… but never hears back from the Red Sox. The tryout was just for show. It’s not the first deception or indignity that Robinson has endured because of his race. But ultimately, nothing could stop him from breaking baseball’s color line. What does his experience reveal about the history of race in America? And how did Robinson’s life prepare him for his historic achievement?

Special thanks to Howard Bryant, senior writer for ESPN and author of Full Dissidence: Notes from an Uneven Playing Field; Ralph Carhart, baseball historian and editor of the upcoming book Not an Easy Tale to Tell: Jackie Robinson on the Page, Stage, and Screen; and Amira Rose Davis, assistant professor of history and African American studies at Penn State and co-host of the sports podcast Burn It All Down and host of season three of American Prodigies: Black Girls in Gymnastics.

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