My father Alan Wiggins absolutely worshipped Jackie Robinson.
The more I read about this man the more I understand why. Eerily, they come from similar backgrounds. Both grew up in Pasadena, both attended the same middle school, high school and even junior college. Of course their fates in the major leagues weren’t matched, but they were certainly paralleled in ways that allow me to find some peace and solace in learning more about the man, and not the myth of, Jackie Robinson.
The Jackie Robinson 100 Legacy Series
To better understand Jackie Robinson, I tried to capture the three dimensions that I feel as both a follower and a fan of his; and also as a daughter born into a baseball family. A lot of the views and opinions expressed are coming from my own personal perspective. The three dimensions range in depth and detail, but all focus on the authentic discovery of his character, while discarding what his reputation became. To write and complete these pieces, I read several books on the subject, and took detailed notes in order to fully understand the world this man came from. I feel like in taking this approach, I will be able to carry with me the lessons learned for the remainder of my time on earth.
The three dimensions:
Grace Follows Faith
No matter what tragedy afflicted or humbled Jackie Robinson, the grace of God and the glory that came with his faith and determination was always there to protect and exalt him.
Think About What Jackie Robinson Had To Go Through.
Reflections of the lessons Jackie Robinson learned from Grace:
Jackie Robinson is a testament to the power of competition—his competitive spirit brought together a whole world of sports.
It is time for us to compete like it’s cost us something:
No Uncle Tom
The great shame for Jackie Robinson was standing up for the right, just messages at just the wrong time. 100 years after his birth it turns out he was, and still is, history’s greatest freedom fighting hero.
“I have been labeled militant, radical, conservative and even Uncle Tom. I have not got of life all I wished or deserved. But who does?”
–Jackie Robinson, 1970
In this piece of the Jackie Robinson 100 Legacy Series, we will explore precisely why the baseball legend was #NoUncleTom.
The fourth dimension
The most important to his legacy—his family.
The Finest Family Man
In the final tribute piece that I wrote, I took all my notes from the most sacred text of all Jackie Robinson biographies: that of his wife Rachel. The book Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait is where this entire project both started and ended. It was important to me that as I went and dove into all of this content, I always remembered that the core of who he was would be told through the lens of Rachel Robinson. My mother is also the wife of a major league baseball player, and I understand too well how much one woman is carrying the burden behind the scenes.
“By late 1947, Americans named the black infielder the astonishing second most popular man in the country. He was widely celebrated for his courage, humility, sportsmanship, and for being a fine family man.”
Jackie Robinson’s legacy will ultimately live and rest with the love of his life Rachel, who stayed by his side throughout his entire life, and his dear children for whom he lived to be a hero.
As we begin Black History Month tomorrow on February 1st, what better way to begin than with this black American hero’s 100th birthday? These blogs are meant to celebrate his past life, while also trying to make sense of his legacy as it pertains to today.
Four time All-American, WNBA Champion, Edutainer and Coach