Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson, who joined Major League Baseball in 1947, was born into a family involved in farming in Cairo, Georgia, On this day in history, January 31, 1919.
His fight for racial equality and his exploits on the field of play made him the first North American athlete to have his jersey number (42) retired by every team in his game.
Among his many accomplishments on the diamond, Robinson was a four-sport all-star at UCLA. It was widely considered one of the most exciting College football players of his era. Additionally, he served in the US Army in World War II, where he first advocated for racial equality.
says Jackie Robinson.com, the official website of the late-night sports legend.
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From this humble beginning, he will grow to be the first baseball player to break Major League BaseballThe color barrier that has separated sports for more than 50 years.
Robinson hit the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, after excelling on the Montreal farm team in 1946.
“This was an eagerly awaited debut on National Amusement Records,” authors Robert Lipsit and Pete Levine write in Idols of the Game.
It represented both the dream and the fear of equal opportunity, and would forever change the nature of the game and the attitudes of Americans.
“It was the eagerly awaited debut on National Amusement Records.” – Robert Lipsit and Pete Levine in Idols of the Game
Robinson played well enough that season to earn National League Rookie of the Year honors and earn fans nationwide.
His presence changed the game of baseball, opening the doors for it to become the diverse, multinational sport it is today.
In addition to white, black, Asian, and Hispanic Americans, more than a quarter of Major League Baseball last season were foreign-born—representing 21 different countries around the world.
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In addition to changing the future of baseball, Robinson also changed the fortunes of a historically struggling Brooklyn franchise dubbed the “Dem Booms”.
The Dodgers have played for decades in the shadows of their crosstown rivals New York Yankees in the Bronx and the New York Giants in Manhattan.
They soon reached their greatest period of success with Robinson on the list.
Brooklyn won National League pennants in 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953, though it lost the World Series each year.
Robinson and the Dodgers finally broke through and beat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series, the organization’s only championship in more than half a century of play in Brooklyn.
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Robinson left baseball after the 1956 season. The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
In just 10 years, Robinson has amassed an incredible list of individual and collegiate honors: Rookie of the Year, National League Player of the Year, National League Champion, two-time stolen base captain, six-time All-Star, and World Series champion.
“Robinson’s presence changed the game of baseball, opening the door for it to become the diverse, multinational sport it is today.”
Before baseball, Robinson served the nation honorably in the US Army in the Second World War.
Enlisted in 1942, commissioned a second lieutenant in January 1943, and assigned to the 761st Tank Battalion “Black Panthers” at Fort Hood, Texas, according to the US Department of Defense.
There, he made a public stand for equal treatment on a military bus.
He wrote, “The driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus, but Robinson refused. The driver called the military police, who detained Robinson. He was subsequently court-martialed, but acquitted.” Ministry of Defense.
After his acquittal, he was transferred to Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky, where he served as its instructor Military athletics Until receiving his discharge in November 1944.”
Robinson attended UCLA before Uncle Sam called him home.
He remains the only player in school history to write in four sports: baseball, football, basketball, and track and field.
I remembered today about his exploits on the diamond, he was a bigger star on the gridiron in college.
“Robinson became an All-American football player who set the UCLA record for yards per carry in a season at 12.2 yards per attempt on 42 carries in 1939,” the NCAA reports of his success with the pulque.
“Jackie Robinson made my success possible.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“He led the country in punt return average in 1939 and 1940… He made the crucial goal-line tackles in front of over 103,000 fans in a scoreless game against eventual national champion Southern California in the regular season finale for rivals in Los Angeles.”
In track and field, Robinson won “Pacific Coast Conference and NCAA titles in the long jump with jumps of 25-0 and 24-10,” the NCAA reports.
“Had the 1940 and 1944 Olympics not been canceled because of World War II, Robinson probably would have competed.”
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However, he fought his fight for equality as a professional and won a baseball diamond.
Robinson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. He received an unprecedented honor on April 15, 1997, the 50th anniversary of his debut with the Dodgers, when his number was retired by every major league team.
This rare recognition has only been repeated twice since then in North American sports.
Wayne Gretzky retired No. 99 by an all-NHL team in 2000; The National Basketball Association announced last year that Bill Russell’s No. 6 would be retired by every team in his league.
“Without him, I could not have done what I did.”
Robinson suffered from ill health after his playing career. He was only 53 years old when he suffered a heart attack and died in 1972.
“Life is only important in its effect on the lives of others,” Robinson said in a widely famous quote.
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In this regard, few excelled better than the great baseball player.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. later said, “Jackie Robinson made my success possible.” “Without him, I could not have done what I did.”