Jackie Robinson’s legacy: ‘Black and white should be equal and not divided. He taught America a very important lesson.’

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic Major League Baseball debut, our legislative office interviewed the Hall of Famer’s former teammate Carl Erskine, who at 95 years old recalls playing nine seasons alongside Robinson as if those memories were made just yesterday.

Join us in honoring Robinson’s legacy, which obviously transcends the diamond, with a listen to our interview with Erskine, embedded below.

Author of “What I Learned From Jackie Robinson: A Teammate’s Reflections On and Off the Field,” Erskine was a teammate of Robinson’s from 1948 through 1956.

Both helped the Dodgers win their first World Series championship in franchise history, defeating the Yankees in seven games in 1955.

A year later, Robinson saved one of Erskine’s two career no-hitters, robbing Willie Mays of a base hit in Brooklyn’s May 12 game against the New York Giants.

During our interview with Erskine, he discusses Jackie breaking the color barrier, handling pressure, opening the door for Black players, as well as Robinson’s gifts and clubhouse presence, and also reflects upon how Jackie embraced him when the two first met.

“Jackie was a class person and he was a very intelligent person,” Erskine said during a seven-minute phone interview.

“He understood that the race thing was deep in America. He kind of stepped out and challenged some of the racial divides that existed, and he did it with such class and determination. People quickly said, this is a good example of the way things should be.
Black and white should be equal and not divided. He taught America a very important lesson.

“It was an interesting experience to not only watch what Jackie accomplished but to actually be with him as he accomplished it and share in the attitude change that America saw with this great athlete performing. He taught lessons without a word being said that he certainly belonged in the big leagues.”


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