But Robinson didn't just come to play. Central Ave. Though Robinson's career as a major-league baseball player was over, he wasn't about to retire from the spotlight. To be American is to know that we strive for freedom and at the same time we practice its opposite.
But former tennis great Bill Talbert, a close friend of Robinson's and the first famous athlete known to perform with diabetes, believed that Jackie became insulin-dependent in midcareer. He was the most dangerous base runner since Ty Cobb, embarrassing and intimidating the opposition into beating themselves with mental and physical errors.
He grew up in a racially mixed environment, attended school with white classmates, and matriculated at UCLA. The second centered on financial concerns — the fear that white fans wouldn't pay to watch Negro players and didn't want to sit in the stands beside black fans.
He had experienced the glare of the spotlight and reveled in it.
Harry Belafonte. Everybody knew that, but to see the real Jackie Robinson, you must de-emphasize him as a ball player and emphasize him as a civil rights leader. His older brother Mack became a world-class track star, finishing second in the yard dash to Jesse Owens in the Olympics.
The Robinsons ended up enjoying polyglot Brooklyn.