Jackie Robinson's Influence on Today's Playing Syle
Jackie Robinson not only was a revolutionary in terms of breaking the color barrier, but also in terms of his playing style on the field. Robinson brought a fast-paced, bas-stealing style to the game that had not been seen since the days of Ty Cobb long before him. That in a way is also quite ironic because Cobb was known as a huge racist and it took a black man to bring back his style to the majors.
The National League (NL) in Major League Baseball is distinctive today from the American League (AL) because of its style of play. The NL showcases the intricacies of the game: the hit and run, stealing bases, and bunting. The AL on the other hand is known for its homerun hitters and large sluggers. Jackie Robinson was the one who is chiefly responsible for giving the NL its present identity.
In the Negro Leagues, Robinson learned how to score a run without a hit. This was an approach to the game that did not exist in Major League Baseball (MLB). In the Majors, they had a "base-to-base" philosophy. The man would get a hit onto first base, and then wait for the next batters to move him to the next bases with a hit. Robinson's style was radically different and revolutionary for the time. So many times, he would get on with a walk, steal second base, move to third on a ground ball, and then score on a sacrifice fly to the outfield. He would score without a hit. This new approach to the game helped Robinson to become so popular with fans, many who otherwise would not have supported a black player. He brought flash to the game that was sorely missing.
Although Robinson's accomplishments in terms of breaking the color barrier are much more important, it is worthwhile to note that he contributed to the style of today's game as well as to its integration of players of all races and ethnicity's.
Back to Main Playing Days Page