In 1945, Branch Rickey, general manager, and Walter O' Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, decided it was time for America to have integrated major league baseball, and began to search for an African American player who not only had the strength and content of character to withstand the racist firestorm he would face on the field, but could also perform with the bat and the glove.
Rickey and O'Malley knew that if the black man they chose to be the first could not perform on the field, and failed, then the racists and doubters would claim they were right in espousing their belief that African-Americans could not play at a major league level.
In segregated 1945, the best African Americans players were to be found in the Negro League, and although there were players more well known to the black community, and who were flashier, such as the great power hitter Josh Gibson, or pitcher Satchel Paige, it was Jackie Robinson, well educated, articulate, stable and of good morality, who seemed to be the balanced total package the Dodgers executives were looking for.
After leaving the US Army in 1945, Jackie Robinson joined the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs, who he played shortstop for and was hitting .387 when Branch Rickey signed him for the Dodgers to break the color line in baseball. The Dodgers sent Robinson to their farm club, the Montreal Royals, where Jackie hit .349. and had a .985 fielding percentage, which led the International League.
In 1947, convinced of the excellence of Jackie Robinson, as both a man and a baseball player, the Brooklyn Dodgers called him up, and Robinson made his major league debut at Ebbets field on April 15, 1947.
This began a life for Jackie Robinson where he was hated and mistreated by not only white fans but many players , which eventually united his teammates around him as they watched Robinson stoically take abuse which most men would not, and could not withstand, and still perform at a high level on the field.
But what truly made the integration of major league base a great success was the on field excellence in play of Jackie Robinson. I believe Robinson finally silenced many of his critics, who although may never have truly accepted him due to his skin color, could not criticize or dispute the fact he was a great ball player.
Robinson was selected for six all star games, played in six World Series in his ten year career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Now we have the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama, whose election is inarguably the culmination of the struggle waged by men like Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Joe Louis, and others.
Unfortunately, I don't see the history of excellence and achievement we saw in Jackie Robinson, with his performance in the Negro League, and the minor leagues, before going to the majors, in Barack Obama .
Barack Obama has no record of excellence in leadership or accomplishments in government at any level, as an elected official, since his political career began, which would make me believe that his presidency will be a successful one.
Obama's great success has been in winning elections, mainly based on his physical appearance, charisma and charm. At no point (until now) in his career has Obama accomplished anything outstanding (and I challenge anyone who disagrees to present something in comments to this article if what I state is not true).
Obama reminds me of a high school baseball phenom who signs with a team desperate to win (that would be the Democratic Party and its supporters), and that team rushes him to the major leagues, without the preparation he needs and would get playing in the minors for a while.
Obama's first few weeks in office have not been good, with the stock market continuing to drop, and average working Americans continuing to lose billions in their retirements accounts, and no light on the horizon of the economic mess this country is in.
I suppose the argument could be made that the dues Jackie Robinson paid, and the racial progress that the election of Obama outwardly indicates, should mean that even if his presidency is a failure, it should not and would not be viewed true a racial prism.
But those who are realists, as I am, know that such a failure, in America, and much of the world, will absolutely be viewed as the failure of a black man's ability to lead (even though the great majority of those badly advising our new President are white - he is the head of the snake).
More importantly (at least to me) than the racial issue are the consequences of our ongoing failure in leadership not only at the White House, but also in Congress, by both Republicans and Democrats, as we watch our economy being manipulated with bizarre and byzantine strategies, put forth and manged by the very same men who are responsible for getting us here.
What we needed in the White House is a man, black or white, of the same excellence of character and ability to perform of Jackie Robinson, and in Barack Obama, we do not have that.
It's a shame the first African American presidency will be a total failure, and a disaster for this nation.