Thank You, Jackie Robinson Critical Essays

Barbara Cohen


(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Thank You, Jackie Robinson is a simple story that touches on emotionally charged issues of a complex nature set during the late 1940’s against a background of racial inequality.

Sammy and Davy’s friendship develops as they discuss baseball in a manner that carries unusual significance for them. Sammy’s short and intense experience as a Dodger fan reflects his Jewish background: When Davy asks Sammy why he chose the Dodgers rather than the Yankees or Giants, he is unable to answer because he realizes that the Dodgers chose him in a mystical way similar to God’s inspiration of the prophets. Sammy’s obsession with baseball manifests itself in his ability to recite complete Dodger games. Unlike the children at school, Davy enjoys listening to Sammy and talking with him about the games, both past and present.

Davy’s relationship to the Dodgers, unlike Sammy’s, has been long and enduring, but like the boy’s, it has mystical and ethnic qualities. Davy tells Sammy that he loved the Dodgers before World War II and before the team was successful, but the Dodgers vindicated his devotion. In the struggle against racism in baseball that reflects the larger struggle in society, the Dodgers came through: In 1947, Branch Rickey, general manager of the Dodgers, hired Jackie Robinson, officially breaking the color barrier in modern baseball.

Race is not an issue between Davy and Sammy, but Davy’s awareness of prevailing attitudes in society at first prevents him from asking Sammy to go with him...

(The entire section is 629 words.)