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New Ken Burns PBS doc explores life of Jackie Robinson

By The Canadian PressApril 7, 2016 2:01pm Before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball colour barrier, he played ball in Canada.

The story is told in the new PBS documentary Robinson, a two part, four hour film by acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns along with daughter Sarah Burns and David McMahon that airs Monday and Tuesday night on PBS.

Before Robinson made history, outstanding black athletes played in the Negro leagues. Baseball owners feared white fans would boycott games if black athletes were added to major league rosters. Resistance to integration was strong.

1945, the owners of the 16 major league teams took a vote to integrate, Burns told reporters earlier this year in Pasadena, Calif. of them voted against it. Only the Brooklyn Dodgers jerseys voted in favour.

Motivated by business sense as well as idealism, Dodgers jerseys president Branch Rickey had scouts in the Negro leagues looking for the right man to break the colour barrier. Robinson, a former soldier as well as a star athlete at UCLA, had impressed while playing for Kansas City.

Equally impressive was Robinson wife, Rachel. The two had met in college and their love story shines throughout the documentary. At 93, she remains passionate and intensely loyal to Robinson legacy, as reporters witnessed at Burns press conference.

was us against the world, and we enjoyed that, says Rachel Robinson.

The Dodgers jerseys Triple A farm team was based in Montreal and the Robinsons trip north was a fortuitous turn of events, says Burns, since they would be in a country that not have a history of slavery and gave (them) a welcome home. has warm memories of finding a home in Montreal. The couple had previously found doors slammed in their faces, even in New York City.

knocked on a door and expected to be rejected, says Rachel. The woman let her in, showed her around the apartment, made her tea and told her to make sure to use the fine linens and china.

introduction just set Montreal up for us, says Rachel. was fabulous. sports fans were just as welcoming to Robinson. When the Montreal Royals jerseys won the Little World Series in 1946, Burns says the city fans him down the street and they picked him up on their shoulders. next year, he went on to become Major League Baseball first rookie of the year, helping the Dodgers jerseys make it to the World cheap authentic jerseys Series. Robinson did all this while bearing abuse and rejection from fans, opposing players and even a few teammates. For three years, he kept his promise to Rickey to the other cheek. in mind, says Burns, that this was Martin Luther King was out of college, before there was Brown vs. Board of Education, before there were Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat. Here was Robinson, continues Burns, grandson of a slave, making the statement in the largest and most popular sport, and really the only sport that existed nationwide. made a profound impression on people of colour everywhere including Canada.

didn meet Jackie until 1968, says Ferguson Jenkins, the Chatham, Ont., native who posted six straight 20 game winning seasons with the Chicago Cubs jerseys on his way to becoming the first Canadian born player to enter baseball Hall of Fame.

wasn the physical structure of the man when he played, recalls Jenkins, I glad I had a chance to speak with him briefly and shake his hand. premiere of Burns 29th film comes right before baseball annual Robinson Day. Every season on April 15 the day 69 years ago when Robinson made his major league debut players throughout the league wear his No. 42.