Matt Welch on Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights, and Baseball


Credit: Library of Congress

Lawrence Ritter's charming, evocative, and profoundly influential 1966 oral history of baseball, The Glory of Their Times, has never gone out of print and consistently appears on every list of "best baseball books." Yet as Matt Welch observes, The Glory of Their Times was preceded by two years by another oral history, a powerful, indelible book titled Baseball Has Done It. What's more, it was written by a man whose biopic was the number-one movie in America this weekend: Jackie Robinson. Unfortunately, Welch writes, the popular movie 42 has so far failed to resuscitate the sports pioneer's extraordinary 1964 account of civil rights and baseball.