Originally Posted by chicagowhitesox1
I read two books about him. I can't recall the names of them but both were very good books. Apparently Robinson wasn't as well liked as some may think. If I recall correctly, Robinson got along more with his white teammates than he did with Campanella and Newcombe. I know the book touched on this so i'm not sure how much Robinson didn't get along with his black teammates. But I always thought it was kind of a shame that they hand picked Robinson for this honor instead of Josh Gibson or Satchel Paige. I feel baseball did a great thing in finally letting blacks into baseball but I always felt they snubbed alot of people by how they chose. I realize they chose Robinson because he had the strength and courage and smarts to take the namecalling but these other guys like Gibson and Paige had been busting their tails off for years and to not get chosen to be the first black mlb player because they weren't smart or level headed enough is disrespectful in it's own way.
Perhaps it was. However, the overall goal was to integrate baseball permanently for the foreseeable future. In order to do that, it was necessary to demonstrate to those within the sport and the much larger and more influential multitudes outside of it, many of whose only information about Blacks consisted of racist propaganda, that the American pastime would only be enhanced by the skills of these wonderful Black ballplayers.
Incidents created by frustrated and angry responses to the type of race-baiting and abuse that went on would have only served to undermine this objective by giving ammunition to the vocal opponents of integration in any arena; the reason why Blacks and Whites needed to be separate "for their own good". To be successful long term instead of just one big splash, it needed to be as smooth a transition as possible and that was always going to fall on the shoulders of whichever Black player came first.
Skill was important but not as important as mental and emotional makeup and disposition.