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Baseball Great Jackie Robinson: How His Faith Sustained Him Through Emotional, Physical Torment and Abuse

News Staff : Apr 19, 2017  Indiana University

"Much has been written about Robinson. But little has been said about how his faith carried him through the torment and abuse he suffered." — Chris Lamb, co-author of "Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography; The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero"

(Indianapolis, IN) — No athlete ever faced greater pressure and suffered more abuse than he did. Yet he didn't just endure; he thrived as he changed baseball and American society forever. How did Jackie Robinson do it? (Photo Credit: Jackie Robinson via Indiana University)

A new book answers that question just in time for the 70th anniversary of Robinson's first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, a day Major League Baseball has set aside to honor Robinson's memory.

"Much has been written about Robinson. But little has been said about how his faith carried him through the torment and abuse he suffered," said Chris Lamb, co-author of "Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography; The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero."

Robinson faced death threats daily, and no one -- not even his teammates --wanted to be around him. "He was surrounded by nothing but hate," Lamb said. "Pitchers threw at his head, and base runners tried to cleat him."

Understanding Robinson's faith is necessary to understand how he dealt with the brutal racism that came with breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier, and also with overcoming racism and poverty as a child, his court-martial in the U.S. Army, and his work as a civil rights activist after he retired from baseball, Lamb said.

Not many are aware of the role faith played in Robinson's life for a simple reason, Lamb said: "He didn't like to talk about it."

"Only when we see faith in every part of Robinson's life, from his birth to his death, will we understand that Robinson was a man for whom Christian faith acted as a source of inspiration and motivation, comfort and strength, wisdom and direction," Lamb said.

Click here to read this story in its entirety.

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