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[Detail] Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese


Woodrow Johnson’s 1949 song, "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?" is one of many songs written to honor Jackie Robinson’s on-field accomplishments, but Count Basie’s recording of the piece made it one of the most famous. Johnson’s lyrics provide an opportunity to discuss poetic devices such as rhyme scheme, word choice, and narration.

Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball?
It went zoom in cross the left field wall.
Yeah boy, yes, yes. Jackie hit that ball.

And when he swung his bat,
the crowd went wild,
because he knocked that ball a solid mile.
Yeah boy, yes, yes. Jackie hit that ball.

  • How are Jackie Robinson’s actions described?
  • Does the songs describe a single event in a game or a general description of Robinson’s ability? Why?
  • What is the relationship between Robinson and the crowd?
  • What does the repetition of the rhyme scheme add to the song? How does it reinforce the lyrics?
  • How does this account compare to other songs about baseball players?
  • Choose an athlete and write a song (or poem) describing his or her abilities using a similar structure.