Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was the first black player in the major leagues in 1947 and became Rookie of the Year the same year. He played for the Negro Leagues and the Montreal Royals in his early years and later signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the first athlete to win varsity letters in sports, basketball, baseball and track at UCLA. When their family encountered financial struggles, he left college and enlisted in the US Army for 2 years and became second lieutenant.
Greatest Sporting Achievements
In 1949, Robinson became National League MVP and World Series champ in 1955. With 12 homers, a league-leading 29 steals and .297 average and a battling title with a .342 average. He helped his team win the World Series after failing before in four other series match ups finally beating the New York Yankees.
In 1962, Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal for his achievements with the sports and society.
Why Was He So Good?
Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line on April 15, 1947 when he was first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He made improvement in the grounds of civil rights for black athletes. By being non-violent, he confronted the long-established isolation that manifested other aspects of American life and contributed drastically to the Civil Right Movement.
He accomplished in putting the injustice and racial strife out of the way and proved the whole world that he was indeed a talented player.
What You May Not Know
- Matthew Robinson, Jackie’s older brother, inspired him to pursue his love for sports.
- After baseball, he became active in business and continued to be an activist for social change.
- Jackie Robinson was the first black television analyst in MLB and the first black vice president of a major American corporation “Chock full o’Nuts”.
- On October 24, 1972, Jackie Robinson died from heart problems and diabetes complications. His wife Rachel Islum instituted the Jackie Robinson Foundation where they help young people with scholarships and mentoring programs.
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