I write these words on April 15, 2018 - exactly 71 years to the day when Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, ending a long period of segregation in Major League Baseball. It wound up being a momentous day not just in baseball history, but in the history of a country that has plenty of issues with equal treatment in the workplace.

In addition to the contributions he made on the baseball diamond, Robinson's words had a major impact. His unique perspective as a sports trailblazer, coupled by his eloquence, makes him one of the most inspirational sports stars in history. Here are a few of my favorite Jackie Robinson quotes:

  1. "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
  2. "The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time."
  3. "Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life."
  4. "When I am playing baseball, I give it all that I have on the ball field. When the ball game is over, I certainly don't take it home. My little girl who is sitting out there wouldn't know the difference between a third strike and a foul ball."
  5. "Above anything else, I hate to lose."
  6. "The most luxurious possession, the richest treasure anybody has, is his personal dignity."
  7. "This ain't fun. But you watch me, I'll get it done."
  8. "I don't like needing anyone for anything."
  9. "How you played in yesterday's game is all that counts."
  10. "I think if we go back and check our record, the Negro has proven beyond a doubt that we have been more than patient in seeking our rights as American citizens."
  11. "Many people resented my impatience and honesty, but I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect."
  12. "I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being."
  13. "Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead."
  14. "I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect."
  15. "The most luxurious possession, the richest treasure anybody has, is his personal dignity."
  16. "There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free."
  17. "Negroes aren't seeking anything which is not good for the nation as well as ourselves. In order for America to be 100 percent strong -- economically, defensively and morally -- we cannot afford the waste of having second- and third-class citizens."

Which of the above resonates the most with you? Do you feel heartened by how far we've come with respect to equality in the workplace, or are you surprised we haven't done more in the past seven decades?

Published on: Apr 15, 2018
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