cover image True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson

True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson

Kostya Kennedy. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-27404-5

Journalist Kennedy (Lasting Impact), a former Sports Illustrated editor, takes an idiosyncratic and heartfelt look at the enduring legacy of sports pioneer Jackie Robinson through four seminal chapters of his life. Beginning with the spring of 1946, Kennedy reports on Robinson’s time in the minor leagues as a member of the Montreal Royals. There, the field became a stage for Robinson’s athletic gifts—including his uniquely rigid batting stance, which, Kennedy writes, “may have been the most notable and influential of them all.” After joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 as the first Black man to play in Major League Baseball, Robinson delivered on the promise of his rookie year by being named the league’s MVP in the summer of 1949. The fall of 1956 saw Robinson’s career end on a down note: he struck out in his final at-bat for the Dodgers, ending the World Series against the Yankees. With the winter of 1972 came the retirement of Robinson’s number, 42, and his death from a heart attack. Lyrical throughout, Kennedy’s narrative radiates with reverence and ends on a resonant note with his description of Robinson’s funeral procession in Harlem: “[People] gathered thick along the sidewalks.... There was a time in many of [their] lives when Jackie Robinson carried the brightest light of hope.” Baseball fans shouldn’t miss this. (Apr.)