There are so many underlying pressures that come with being the first and the overwhelming feeling to prove your worth.
Before stepping to the plate in his Major League Baseball debut in 1947, Jackie Robinson knew the impact his presence would have on, and ultimately, off the field.
With We Are All Jackie, available exclusively on ESPN+ starting Thursday, May 29, ESPN’s The Undefeated presents a collection of stories devoted to Robinson’s excellence and how his courage still strengthens the firsts of today.
ESPN MLB analyst Doug Glanville, narrator of this month’s 30-minute special, discussed the program and the historical importance of Robinson.
What are your thoughts about the idea of Black History Always? What can MLB and ESPN do to bolster the overall concept?
It is an important initiative to think about history as always present. It lives with us and gives us perspective while positioning us to celebrate what and who came before. Those lessons can be painful and magical but teachable moments. Despite it being Black History Always, it is for the benefit of all people. Black history is one of great inspiration for the unfathomable obstacles that were overcome to create our present. MLB and ESPN can continue to tell the stories of not only great pioneers but the many who came before, with, and after. Storytelling is a critical part of preserving any history, and ESPN has great tools to be able to tell these stories, especially since sports have been central to so many who broke barriers.
Robinson holds a special place in your heart. How does it feel to do this show about him?
This was a tremendous honor. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jackie’s family through many years around baseball. His family feels like my family, so to be placed in a position to write about his impact through the personal letters of a diverse group of people was a dream. It felt like I was doing just a little to give back to his family that has given me so much.
What is your favorite part of working on this particular show?
I cannot express enough how much I enjoy working with a great team, especially when I can combine my writing with the many gifts that team possesses. The team really wanted to tell the best version of the story. Whenever I work, despite being called the “talent,” I always believe that everyone is the talent. ESPN has some incredibly capable people in all fields, and I need to bring my best because when we all do, we can create something truly memorable. I love that collaborative spirit. It embodies the best of team sports, and there is no better figure to center it around than Jackie Robinson.
Explore the storytelling behind ESPN and The Undefeated’s recent Jackie Robinson-related content.