“I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back,” Rickey replied (“Jackie Robinson”).
Jackie knew why he shouldn’t fight back. If he acted out, it would affect the chances of other black players hoping to join the majors. Jackie knew how to control himself, so before he left the building, he signed up with the ball club.
On February 10, 1946, Jackie married Rachel. A week after they were married, the newlyweds set off for spring training in Daytona Beach, Florida. Being black, they had difficulties with the flights to Florida. They made it to Pensacola, Florida, but then their seats were taken away by whites. Jackie and Rachel decided to take a bus and sit in the back for the rest of the way. Jackie was exhausted, but nothing could explain the amount of excitement and anxiety he felt walking onto a field with two hundred other players.
Only one other player was black. His name was Johnny Wright and he was trying out too, but all eyes were on Jackie. Jackie tried to keep a positive attitude, but sometimes it was hard. He couldn’t stay at the same hotels as the other players. Sometimes the other teams cancelled the games because they didn’t want to play a black man. Even some of Jackie’s own teammates looked through him like he wasn’t even there (Herman 58). At times, Jackie wanted to quit, but he always persevered and became a better ballplayer. The crowds helped Jackie’s confidence immensely. The black sections overflowed and some fans even had to be turned away.
After spring training, the Royals returned to Montreal with Jackie as their second baseman. Johnny Wright was only on the team so Jackie had someone to room with on the road. On April 18, 1946, Jackie and the Royals played their first game of the regular season in New Jersey against the Jersey City Giants. It was a huge event, being the first baseball season since World War II ended. Jackie’s first at bat, his hands were sweaty and his legs felt weak. Even with this nervousness, he grounded out to shortstop. Jackie’s second at bat, two Royals were on base. The pitch came in high and fast and Jackie swung hard (Herman 62). The ball sailed over the left field fence for a three-run homer! The Royals won 14-1 thanks to Jackie.
Throughout the season, Jackie continued to gain more and more fans, both black and white. He played with confidence and grace. He was a master at stealing bases. Jackie led the Royals to the Little World Series, which was just like the World Series in whoever won the best of seven series would win the Minor League Championship.
The Royals were playing the Louisville Colonels in the series. It was the first time Kentucky was hosting an integrated baseball game, so the fans were loud and mean. Jackie didn’t play his best because of all the remarks from the fans, and that resulted in the Royals being down two games to one. In the fourth game, everything changed. Jackie scored the tying run. Then he drove in the winning run and the Royals won 5-3...