Monday, April 15, 2013

Blog Entries by the Legendary Jackie Robinson (Doll)

This post is inspired by the recent release of the movie, 42, which is the "story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in American Major League Baseball, focusing on the two years of his life after he entered the game in 1947." (

In 2008, while writing The Doll Blogs, When Dolls Speak I Listen, I stumbled upon a 1950s composition Jackie Robinson doll on eBay.  It was considered what is termed a "basket case" in doll world due to its state of disrepair.  Because of the low beginning bid, I hovered over the auction until it ended with me as the high bidder even though I had no clue if or how I would restore it.  

At this time, my dolls were using me as their facilitator to record our interactions in the form of blog entries in The Doll Blogs...  Jackie Robinson (the doll) had an opportunity to record two illustrated entries.  These are shared below as they appear in The Doll Blogs...  For the purpose of this blog post, I have added my copyright to these two images.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

In mint condition I am valued $1200 to $1500.  Debbie won me in an eBay auction recently for only $54.  Even though I need a lot of tender loving care (TLC) that Debbie is more than willing to provide, $54 is an excellent price and Debbie was so glad she browsed eBay the day she decided to watch my auction.  After I arrived, I was given a thorough examination.  Debbie removed my clothing, which Allied Grand Doll Manufacturing Co. stapled to my composition body when they made me in the1950s.  She hand-washed my clothes and hung them on the shower curtain rod to dry overnight.  She washed my body with a paper towel dampened with window cleaner and removed some of the crazing from various parts of my body and face.  She spoke with Debra about me and told her about my condition.  Debra gave her several suggestions on how to repair the missing areas of composition and later told her about an eBay seller offering composition repair cream.  Debbie emailed the seller to ask if the dark cream matches African American/black composition dolls.  Unfortunately, the seller said it does not, but offered to sell Debbie her last jar of very dark composition repair cream that does match.  Debbie ordered it for $10, which included postage.  The cream has been applied and allowed to dry for several days.  When time permits, Debbie is going to use sandpaper to smooth the surfaces, paint them, and have her husband reassemble me. The front of my shirt is missing the “Dodgers” logo and the back is missing the number, 42. These will be duplicated with blue felt.  Debbie plans to ask Debra to make a blue baseball cap and put the letter “B” in white felt on the front for me.  A replacement baseball bat was found on eBay for $5.  It came with a baseball, but I did not originally come with one.  A picture of my baseball mitt hangtag will be scaled to size and printed.  After the added touches of TLC are finished, I will be as good as new! 

Jackie Robinson


Two weeks later, "Jackie" wrote:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Debbie has been sick for quite some time (food poisoning), but thank God she is much better now.  She worked on me off and on before she became ill and has finally finished restoring me.  My crazing has been repaired, painted, and sealed.  Debbie’s husband restrung me and made a replacement cap that looks better than my original one.  I am wearing my original clothing that is crisp and clean and now has the Dodger’s insignia on front.  Debbie printed a picture of my original uniform and cut out the “Dodgers” insignia.  She applied it to my shirt with double-sided tape.  My replacement bat has my signature on it.   Debbie found my authentic signature online, scaled it down, printed it, and applied it to my new bat.   I am now on display with other composition dolls in the collection.  Debbie did, however, forget to make a replica of my number, 42, for the back of my shirt, but she will get around to doing that eventually.  I am missing my blue jacket; otherwise, for Debbie I am near perfect at only a fraction of the cost of a mint doll.

Jackie Robinson


As a result of this post, some four years and four months after Jackie's restoration and book entries, the doll finally received his uniform number, 42.  I also created a new, slightly larger, Dodgers logo for the front of his shirt.  Husband said he plans to make Jackie a period-appropriate cap, but I know this will require my placing the necessary materials on his desk as a reminder. 

The #42 was made the day this post was written.
I created a "42" template by copying an image of the back of another Jackie Robinson doll's uniform that contained the number.  The numbers next were printed on white paper.  Each digit was cut out and held over a small square of sticky-back royal blue felt.  The felt numbers were finally cut out before applying to the back of the uniform as shown below.

Next, I copied and cropped the Dodgers logo from an image of another Jackie Robinson doll's uniform and printed this in two parts onto two clear adhesive address labels before applying these (Dod gers) to the front of the uniform.  The size of the logo required the use of two labels.  Initially, I was going to use the sticky-back felt for Jackie's new Dodgers logo, but choosing the alternative required less scissors use.

Prior to 1947, when Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Major League Baseball had not had an African-American player since 1889, the year American baseball became segregated. []

Hat's off to Mr. Robinson, for courageously breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier of nearly six decades and paving the way for other people of color to enter the sport.  

Jackie Robinson Doll Links:
1950 Jackie Robinson Doll in Original Box
Legendary Auctions Jackie Robinson Doll

Baseball Color Line:

The movie, 42 The Jackie Robinson Story, was released in April 2013 starring Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Richey, the major league team executive, who in 1945 recruited Robinson.  He played his first Major League Baseball game at the age of 28 on April 15, 1947, for the Brooklyn Dodgers amidst intense racism from opposing teams, fans, and his own teammates.


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  1. Great blog post! Nice how you were able to customize the uniform. Very informative post. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for reading and for commenting, thedollcafe!


  3. You put such care in your dolls and it's wonderful to see!

  4. Awesome job on his restoration. What a find! I'm looking forward to seeing the movie. We may go this weekend.

  5. Great job! I admire the work you put into bringing your dolls back to life.

  6. Hey Muff:
    Hi Vanessa:
    Hello Zindelle!

    Thanks for the comments on Jackie's restoration. It was a tedious job but I couldn't pass him up for that price. I was very fortunate to find the dark compo repair material for him.

    Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler is an optional substance to use to repair composition doll repair. It has been a while since I used it, but I imagine it can probably be used to create a molded hairstyle, too. Hmmm...



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