On May 13, in Brooklyn's 7-5 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati, Robinson smashed a single in the ninth, scoring fellow rookie Duke Snider, and ran his hitting streak to 10 games. Before the game Shotton had told the Post's Murray that Robinson "has more heart under heavy pressure than any ballplayer I ever saw." Robinson had been drawing large and enthusiastic crowds to Dodgers road games. He helped bring a record 41,660 fans to the Sunday double-header in Philly, many of them literally hanging from the rafters at Shibe, and 27,164 to Cincinnati's Crosley Field on the night of May 13. Of the Crosley fans, according to press reports, as many as 9,000 were black. Scores of spectators that day had come from cities as far south as Birmingham and Atlanta, many arriving by train at Cincinnati's Union Terminal, others pulling into town in buses and cars bearing Tennessee and Kentucky plates. "Many in the crowd...were Brooklyn fans," wrote Roeder, "or, to be specific, Jackie Robinson fans."
The Dodgers had become a traveling road show, and in May, as attendance soared wherever Robinson played, the Pittsburgh Courier's sports editor, Wendell Smith, penned this ditty:
The turnstiles click
There were black faces all around Crosley Field that first night of the Dodgers-Reds series. Robinson had often expressed the fear that blacks in the crowds at his games, as energetic as they were, might one day do something that would embarrass him. Brooklyn pitcher Ralph Branca recalls that on that first trip to Cincinnati, he sat in the dugout and saw black hands and arms reach out to Robinson as he returned to the Dodgers' bench. "He had popped up, and all the blacks were screaming and shrieking, and he got upset with them," Branca says. "He said, 'Be quiet! Behave yourselves. I only popped up!' "
But Robinson also suffered racial insults in Cincinnati, and they took all forms, even musical. At the end of that May 13 game, as the crowds clambered for the exits and the players walked down the leftfield line toward the tunnel leading to their clubhouses, the Crosley organist started playing Bye Bye, Blackbird. Gabe Paul, then the Reds' traveling secretary, says he nearly keeled over when he heard the music. "I was shocked," he says. "Somebody must have put [the organist] up to it."
According to John Murdough, then the Reds' ticket manager, Paul flew into a rage, yelling, "Get rid of that guy! Get him out of here. This is a disgrace. We'll never live it down!"
At least in Cincinnati, unlike in Philly, there was no trouble over Robinson at the Dodgers' hotel. Young praised the establishment in the New York Daily News: "Magnolias to the Netherland-Plaza, which accepted Robinson's registration here with the rest of the Brooks, right on the South's borderline, too."
On May 14, in a 2-0 loss to the Reds at Crosley, the Dodgers mostly waved at Ewell Blackwell's pitching, but Robinson extended his hitting streak to 11 games by beating out a roller to second, then ripping a solid single to center. While his team had lost seven of its eight games on the road, Robinson was hitting at a .406 clip away from Ebbets Field, and Murray gloated, "He is stilling the reactionary tongues in the rival press boxes. Anti-Robinson feeling was particularly noticeable in the press coop at Cincinnati."
Among the converted local skeptics was Lou Smith, who covered the Reds for the Cincinnati Enquirer and who wrote on the eve of the May 13 game that Robinson was no lock to stay at first base. "Robinson...is no Dolph Camilli in the field," Smith wrote, referring to an earlier Dodgers first baseman. Had Robinson not been the first Negro in the major leagues and the focus of so much attention, Smith wrote, "he would have been benched a week or two ago." The next day, in quick reverse, Smith was telling readers that he had learned that Robinson "is a cinch to stick with the Dodgers" and "has already mastered all the fine points of playing the bag. Jackie is not an overpowering hitter, but he hits the ball hard. His line drive to Eddie Lukon in the fifth was one of the hardest hit balls in the game." After Blackwell tossed his shutout, Smith noted that "Robinson was the only Dodger to get more than one safety off Blackie's blazing fastball and exploding curve."
The winds were shifting for Robinson on the road. On May 15 in Pittsburgh, during a 7-3 loss to the Pirates, he went 2 for 5 to stretch his streak to 12. In the third inning, after Robinson laid down a bunt, the Pirates' Hank Greenberg, stabbing at the pitcher's rushed and wild throw to first, accidentally crashed into Robinson as he raced across the bag. The rookie was sent sprawling. Robinson singled in the seventh, and as he stood on first base, according to the Pittsburgh Courier, Greenberg asked if he was all right. "Hope I didn't hurt you," Greenberg said. "I was trying to get that wild throw.... I tried to keep out of your way but it was impossible."