Why Was Jackie Robinson Important To Baseball

The Great Influence of Jackie Robinson

In honor of Black History Month, The Sports Museum will be featuring one essay from our annual Will McDonough Writing Contest on its website each week throughout the month of February. Victoria R. Hull High School in Hull, Massachusetts submitted this article. Entry into the 10th grade in the year 2019 The Will McDonough Writing Competition is open to all writers. The majority of people, when asked to think of a very prominent individual in sports, will immediately think of a contemporary or well-known athlete.

He has achieved great things, to be sure, but he is not one of the most prominent individuals in sports, despite his amazing accomplishments.

However, he did not have an easy road to reach to that position, much alone accomplish the incredible feats he achieved after that.

He grew up as the youngest of five siblings.

  • His family relocated to Pasadena, California, when he was 14 months old, when he was 14 months old.
  • Their neighbors petitioned to have them removed from the area, and some were even ready to pay money to have them removed from their home.
  • Baseball, on the other hand, was perhaps his least favorite sport while attending UCLA.
  • The Honolulu Bears, a football team based in Hawaii, recruited him to play there in 1941.
  • After being discharged from the service in 1945, he went on to play baseball with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Ricky was the president, general manager, and a part-owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, as well as the mastermind behind the desegregation of Major League Baseball.
  • He was scouting the Negro Leagues, looking for players who would be capable of making the jump to the Major Leagues.

He was making tremendous strides toward the integration of baseball, but many Major League Baseball owners remained staunchly opposed to the inclusion of any colored players on their rosters.

However, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the commissioner of baseball, passed dead in November of 1944.

Once he joined the club, the era of racial segregation in the Major League Baseball came to an end.

To date, he is the only African American to have won the batting championship, been selected as Most Valuable Player, and been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

For many African-American baseball players, Jackie Robinson changed the course of their lives.

“Jackie Robinson’s Influence Can Still Be Feel in Major League Baseball.” MLB.com, 15 April 2016, NewsHour, Public Broadcasting System.

PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, broadcasted on April 11, 2016. Rick Swaine is the author of this work. “Jackie Robinson,” says the narrator. a photograph by Bud Fowler taken by the Society for American Baseball Research in 2006,

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was an African-American professional baseball player who, on April 15, 1947, began playing first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking Major League Baseball’s famed ” color barrier.” Robinson was the first African-American to play first base in Major League Baseball. Until that point, professional baseball players of color could only be seen on the rosters of clubs of theNegro Leagues. Jackie Robinson Day is honored today, April 15, throughout all Major League Baseball organizations, with players donning the number 42 of the former Los Angeles Dodgers.

When Was Jackie Robinson Born?

Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of sharecroppers. She grew up in a little town called Cairo. He grew up as the youngest of five siblings. The family relocated to Pasadena, California, when his father abandoned them in 1920. His mother Mallie performed a variety of odd jobs in order to support herself and her children. He was born in 1920. In spite of the fact that they lived in what was then a rather prosperous neighborhood of Los Angeles, the Robinsons were impoverished, and Jackie and his friends from the city’s tiny Black population were frequently excluded from recreational activities.

His elder brother Mack, a track and field silver medallist at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, motivated him to continue his passion in athletics, and the younger Robinson went on to earn varsity letters in baseball, basketball, football, and track while attending Muir.

A motorcycle accident claimed the life of Jackie’s other elder brother and her decision to commemorate his memory by enrolling atUCLA in 1939 was the result of this decision.

While at UCLA, Jackie met the woman who would become his wife, Rachel.

Jackie Robinson in the U.S. Army

The end result was that Jackie dropped out of college in the spring of his senior year, just a few credits shy of graduating. He accepted a position as an athletic administrator, but his ambitions remained firmly anchored on the playing field. He spent two years playing semi-professional football for integrated teams in leagues in Hawaii and California before being conscripted into the United States Army in the spring of 1942, during World War II, despite the fact that he did not see action in the conflict.

But he maintained his closeness to Rachel, with whom he had become engaged in 1943, during this period.

Jackie was almost court-martialed for his actions.

Jackie was honorably released from the Army in November 1944, and he immediately went to work as a basketball coach at a community college in Austin, Texas.

Jackie Robinson’s Professional Sports Career

In early 1945, Jackie Robinson was signed by the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League, where he played for one season and hit.387 with a.387 batting average. For a period of time, BrooklynDodgersexecutiveBranch Rickey was scouting the Negro Leagues, seeking for players who not only had the potential to succeed in Major League Baseball, but who also had the temperament to deal with the rigors that came with integration. Robinson was one of many players that Rickey interviewed in August 1945 for a position with the Dodgers’ farm team in Montreal, the Royals.

According to reports, Rickey requested that Robinson not reply when he was the target of racist insults during the interview.

Robinson was adored by Montreal fans and batted an impressive.349.

Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers

His major league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1947 drew a great deal of attention, not all of it favorable. Despite the fact that Robinson soon established himself as a legitimate player, the color of his skin remained a source of contention for other teams and spectators. The Dodgers’ Pee Wee Reese is believed to have thrown his arm around Robinson on the field after hearing racial remarks from spectators and players prior to a game, as a way of indicating that he was embraced by those wearing a Brooklyn uniform.

  • Continue reading: Jackie Robinson Breaks the Color Barrier His performance on the field was eventually what brought his detractors to a halt.
  • The year he won the National League Most Valuable Athlete Award, he made history by becoming the first African-American player to do so.
  • From 1949 to 1954, Robinson was named to the All-Star team every year.
  • As a result of his retirement following that season, Robinson did not accompany the Dodgers when they relocated to Los Angeles following the 1957 season.

Jackie Robinson Quotes

The fact that you like or dislike me isn’t important to me. all I want is that you treat me with dignity as a human being.” “A life is only valuable in the context of the influence it has on other lives,” says the author. “Baseball is similar to a game of poker. Nobody wants to give up while he is losing, and nobody wants you to give up when you are winning.” “Life is not a spectator sport,” says the author. You are squandering your life, in my opinion, if you want to spend your entire life sitting in the grandstand and simply watching what happens.” “Until every one of us is free, there isn’t a free American in this nation,” says the author.

“As I sit here typing these things, I am unable to stand and sing the National Anthem. “I’ve come to realize that I will always be a Black person in a white world.” “I despise losing more than anything else in the world.”

Jackie Robinson: Legacy and Death

After leaving the Dodgers, Robinson worked as a sportscaster, as a business executive at Chock full o’Nuts, and as a member of the NAACP and other civil rights organizations after retiring from baseball. Robinson, who had been weakened by heart disease and diabetes, passed away in 1972 at the age of 53 after suffering a heart attack at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. Thousands of people, including former colleagues and other professional sportsmen, turned out for his memorial ceremony. The Reverend Jesse Jackson presented his eulogy, in which he stated, “When Jackie took the field, something reminded us of our birthright to be free.

Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship

Immediately following his death, his wife Rachel, who was at the time an assistant professor at Yale School of Nursing, created the Jackie Robinson Foundation. In addition to honoring Jackie Robinson and other trailblazers in sports, the Jackie Robinson Foundation provides the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship to deserving minority students. A year after Robinson’s death, the jersey number 42 was retired by all of the major league clubs. This meant that it could no longer be worn by any player.

As a gesture of respect for Robinson’s legacy and the historic impact he had on professional baseball, sports in general as a result of which American society has benefited, and in recognition of the difficulties the athlete faced in breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier, a plaque was unveiled in his honor at the end of the game.

Jackie Robinson Movies: ‘The Jackie Robinson Story’ and ‘42’

In 1950, Robinson starred as himself in a biographical film based on his life, “The Jackie Robinson Story.” In addition, a film on Robinson’s life, 42, was released in 2013 to great acclaim, with his widow playing a role in the production.


“Jackie Robinson,” according to the Baseball Hall of Fame. BaseballHall.org. C. Lamb’s et al (2019). “How Jackie Robinson’s wife, Rachel, aided him in his efforts to break baseball’s race barrier.” TheConversation.com. Jimmy Breslin’s biography (2011). Branch Rickey’s Story: A Biography Penguin Random House is a publishing house based in New York City. Seven remarkable lines from Jackie Robinson. ABC7NY.com. Jackie Robinson, according to Baseball Reference.

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Jackie Robinson

A quote from Jackie Robinson famously stated, “A life is only valuable in the context of the influence it has on other lives.” The influence Robinson had on Major League Baseball will be remembered for a long time to come. Every big league baseball team observes Jackie Robinson Day on April 15 each season in commemoration of the day when he broke the color barrier in baseball by becoming the first African-American player in the twentieth century to take the field in either the American or National leagues.

  • Robinson was an outspoken advocate for equal rights even before he became a baseball player.
  • The allegations against him were subsequently dropped, and he was awarded an honorable discharge.
  • Robinson began his professional baseball career as a shortstop with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, where he remained until Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey identified him as the player who would bring integration to the white big leagues.
  • The fact that Robinson would be subjected to mental and physical abuse was something Rickey wanted him to accept without retaliating against the abuser.
  • Upon joining the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ top farm team, in 1946, Robinson set a major league record with a.349 batting average and 40 stolen bases, leading the International League.
  • “It was the most anxiously awaited premiere in the history of the National Pastime,” the writers Robert Lipsyte and Pete Levine said in their book on the National Pastime.
  • A mere two years later, in 1949, he was voted National League Most Valuable Player after leading the league in batting with a.342 average and steals with 37, while also recording a career-high 124 RBI.
  • A.313 batting average, 972 runs scored, 1,563 hits, and 200 stolen bases were Robinson’s last stats before retirement.

“Jackie Robinson made my accomplishment possible,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remarked of Jackie Robinson. It would have been impossible for me to do what I achieved without him. In 1962, Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. On the 24th of October, 1972, he died away.

Jackie Robinson

A life is not significant unless and until it has an influence on the lives of others.- Jackie Robinson, to name a few. With his debut in 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball outside of a segregated black league. He was hailed as a living symbol of racial equality and was instrumental in changing the sport of baseball forever. Robinson’s incredible baseball career not only opened doors for other African-Americans in the early history of baseball, but it also opened numerous doors for a nation that was striving to live up to the tenets of the 14th Amendment at the time.

  1. He would be confronted with difficulty from an early age in his life.
  2. The Robinsons who remained on the Jim Sasser plantation were subjected to racial segregation and mistreatment.
  3. A sharecropper family who had lost their primary earner was on the verge of extinction.
  4. The seven of them couldn’t fit in Uncle Burton’s house because it was too tiny.
  5. Mollie convinced a light-skinned black guy to pose as a buyer for the house on Pepper Street in Pasadena, despite the fact that the neighborhood was segregated and blacks were not permitted to live there.
  6. Mollie, on the other hand, was not deterred from following her aspirations in spite of the circumstances.
  7. The Reverend Karl Downs, the pastor of ScottsMethodistChurch in Pasadena, recognized that Jackie was on the verge of getting into trouble.

As a friend and mentor, the pastor instilled in Jackie a sense of organization that would carry him through high school and into college.

Jackie was a standout athlete at PJC, excelling in football, track, and baseball, among other sports.

Robinson met Rachel Isum, a young nursing student, during his first year at UCLA, and the two were married on February 10, 1947, in Los Angeles.

During his time at the institution, Robinson shared the field with Kenny Washington, who was one of the first African-American players to play in the National Football League since the 1930s.

Jackie’s brother, Matthew “Mack” Robinson (1912-2000), competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, finishing second in the 200-meter sprint behind none other than Jesse Owens.

Robinson left UCLA without a degree in 1941 and was hired to play football for the semi-pro Honolulu Bears, a team that competed in the Pacific Coast League.

Robinson was onboard the Lurline when the assault occurred.

While Jackie was in training, Rachel, Jackie’s fiancée, was keeping herself busy as a nursing student by day and an arrival at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation by night.

Robinson has been accepted into officer candidate training school.

Because of his experience with severe racial prejudice, he was sent to Fort Hood, Texas, for more training and development.

Robinson was empowered by a presidential executive order that desegregated the military in 1948, which gave him the confidence to defy instructions from a military bus driver to “move to the rear of the bus.” As a result, Robinson was court-martialed for insubordination and was not allowed to accompany his unit on its deployment to Europe.

  • The racial history of professional baseball It was a whites-only system of the eight-team National and American leagues as well as hundreds of Minor league clubs that the young Jackie Robinson was familiar with as he was growing up.
  • In response to the infamousBlack Sox Scandal of the 1919 World Series, commissionerKenesaw Mountain Landis included more of a power-hitting game, which eventually became the dominating playing style, and baseball stadiums were significantly larger.
  • Robinson finally gets his chance.
  • Despite the fact that he had a college degree and no actual trade skills, he opted to follow his ambition of being a professional basketball player.
  • While playing for the Monarchs for a year, BrooklynDodgers president Branch Rickey scouted Robinson and, after considerable clandestine coaxing, ultimately signed Robinson to a one-year contract with the organization, paying him a minimum of $5,000 per month in salary.
  • Several players and coaches, not only from the Dodgers but from teams across the whole all-white league, were incensed that Robinson had been drafted.
  • A handful of Dodger players, led by Dixie Walker, expressed their desire to go on strike rather than play with Robinson on the field.

Robinson made his major league debut on April 15, 1947, playing first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

When Robinson made his debut in 1947, he was awarded Rookie of the Year, and by 1949, he had earned the honor for Most Valuable Player in the National League.

He also saw action at third base and in the outfield on several occasions.

With shortstop Pee Wee Reese at his side, Robinson used an efficient double-play combination to degrade the opposition’s players.

Jackie Robinson has been acknowledged to as the most aggressive, clever, and effective base runner of his generation by several other players.

Due to the fact that Robinson was already 28 years old when he entered the league, injuries began to bother him and he was forced to hunt for other work opportunities down the road.

With aspirations to either coach or manage in the Major Leagues, he was once again a victim of discrimination in the baseball community.

He also served as an executive on the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1967 to 1968.

The legacy of the number 42 Robinson became the first African-American to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame when he was honored in 1962.

On April 15, 1997, the whole Major League Baseball organization retired the number 42, formally designating the 15th of April as “Jackie Robinson Day,” in commemoration of his professional debut on April 15, 1947.

He was just 53 years old.

The Jackie Robinson Foundation was established in his memory following his death. The charity awards scholarships to 141 students each year, who are then enrolled in more than 60 schools and universities around the country.

Effect on Society

On April 12, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke through the color barrier, which not only altered baseball, but also the culture and civilization of the United States of America. Besides being an outstanding baseball player, Jackie Robinson was also an outstanding human being who possessed immense amounts of courage and pride. Whenever he went with the Dodgers, he was subjected to verbal abuse. The Dodgers were unable to stay at their customary hotels on occasion because the establishments did not allow black people to remain there, according to reports.

  1. Because most black people looked to Jackie Robinson for courage and considered Jackie as a hero, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ fan base grew as a result of Jackie’s efforts.
  2. Some Dodgers players demanded trades, while others refused to take the field with Jackie because they were uncomfortable with her.
  3. It may appear like Jackie Robinson only had an impact on the lives of those who played baseball, but in actuality, he had a profound impact on the whole world.
  4. Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany had been defeated by the Soviet Union, commonly known as the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and the United States of America.
  5. The fact that such nations repressed their own people meant that they could not regard Americans to be “leaders of the free world.” Jackie Robinson couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune moment in history.
  6. Fans of the Dodgers, both black and white, were ecstatic about the team’s success, and it helped to bring the fan base together.
  7. He was instrumental in altering the course of history and politics through sports.
  8. Jackie was forced to take a seat in the back of a military transport bus.
  9. Jackie’s leadership abilities on the field were carried over into his army service, and the armed forces were integrated primarily as a result of his charisma and leadership.

When Did Jackie Robinson Integrate Baseball and Why Is It Important

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play professional baseball in the United States. He went 0 for 3 on the night. He reached base once and scored a run in a win for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In terms of the statistical record, this wasn’t the most auspicious of debuts. The fact that Robinson made his debut at all was the most significant achievement of the day. In 1947, the United States was still legally segregated across the southern states, and tradition and custom continued to separate most of the rest of the country as a result.

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It was practically hard to imagine that any of these rules, conventions, or institutions would be altered in the near future.

As impressive as Robinson’s first season was, it had been years in the making and would have repercussions that would go way beyond that year.

Early Years

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia, in the year 1919. He was the son of a sharecropper and the grandson of a slave, and he came from a poor family. Since slavery, the position of African-Americans in the southern United States had remained mostly unchanged. Even though there was freedom, African-Americans were denied the ability to vote in an almost unanimous fashion. Almost twenty-five years had passed since the Supreme Court decision that established “separate but equal” as the law of the nation, and the concept had been firmly entrenched in the state of Georgia.

  1. His mother relocated Jackie and his five brothers and sisters to Pasadena, California, in the hopes of finding a better life for the family of six.
  2. At order to be near to his family, he enrolled in Pasadena Junior College while still in high school.
  3. Robinson was a strong athlete in a variety of sports, including track and field, football, basketball, and baseball, among others.
  4. He took on a variety of professions, including playing football in a semi-professional league, where he put his talents to good use.
  5. Robinson was recruited into the army in 1942, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent admission of the United States into World War II.
  6. An incident during Robinson’s military service anticipated his eventual involvement in civil rights activism.
  7. In contrast to baseball, the Army did not explicitly bar African-Americans from participating in OCS.
  8. Robinson and his companions were admitted into the organization.
  9. Robinson was subjected to discrimination even while serving as an officer in the army.
  10. He was summoned before a court martial on charges of disobedience and insubordination.

Getting the Call

Following his discharge from the army, Robinson sought for employment opportunities that would allow him to use his athletic abilities to their full potential. The Kansas City Monarchs, one of the most successful organizations in the Negro Leagues at the time, signed him as a free agent in 1945. He was a competent player on a squad that had several excellent players. After the death of Kenesaw Landis, the first commissioner of baseball, in 1944, the concept of integrating the Major Leagues gained momentum.

  • Rickey wasn’t only seeking for the best player on the field; he was also looking for someone who would be able to deal with the pressure and opposition that would come with becoming the first African-American to break the color line in professional sports.
  • Rickey was impressed by his history of restrained dissent, which included permitting protests and the legal system to determine his destiny in the Army.
  • Robinson was a well-educated, smart, and motivated young man who had shown courage and determination in the face of adversity.
  • Rickey got things started by giving Robinson a position in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ minor league system.
  • Because of his talent and the severity of the Negro Leagues, Robinson was assigned to the Dodgers’ top minor league club, the Montreal Royals, to begin his professional baseball career.

Robison led the Royals to a championship season in the International League, when he was named the league’s top batter and earned the league hitting title. Robinson had no choice but to climb to the top of the building.

First Season

During the 1947 spring training season, there were rumors flying about. The Brooklyn Dodgers were planning to elevate Jackie Robinson from the minor leagues to the major leagues, maybe at the start of the season or later in the year, depending on his performance. Whether or not he would be willing to share the field with a black guy was a contentious issue among the white players in the league and on his own club. Two days before the start of the season, several Dodgers had decided to boycott the game and refuse to take the field with Robinson in support of Robinson.

  1. After going hitless in his first game of the season, Robinson was able to settle into the season, batting.300 for the most of the season and leading the club in home runs, steals, and total bases.
  2. Robinson’s debut had an almost instantaneous impact on the whole baseball community.
  3. In 1947, Willard Brown and Henry Thompson were both called up to the St.
  4. As a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947 to 1948, Dan Bankhead had three appearances.
  5. The color line was retreating into the past, but racial intolerance and prejudice were still prevalent.
  6. Verbal abuse, physical threats, and real violence were all widespread, as was the use of force.
  7. In the midst of it all, Robinson retained his poise and elegance of character.


Jackie and Rachel Robinson are a couple from New York City. Robinson was a professional baseball player for a total of ten seasons. His career came to an end in the fall of 1956 when the Dodgers moved him to the New York Giants and he refused to report to the new team, thereby terminating his baseball career. When he retired, 13 of the 16 big league teams had integrated their rosters at the time of his retirement. Six African-American players who played in the big leagues during the first wave of African-American players to reach the major leagues were eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame, including Monte Irvin, Ernie Banks, and Willie Mays.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers retired his uniform number 42 in 1972.
  • In terms of both sports and society, Robinson and the integration of baseball were trailblazers, not just in sports but also in society.
  • Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court decision that brought segregation in public education to an end, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955), which many consider to be the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.
  • Despite the fact that progress had been made, it was sluggish and unproductive.
  • Despite having a successful business and broadcasting career, Robinson remained actively involved in the community throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
  • In 1962, he delivered a speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Council, and he was there at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
  • He backed Richard Nixon in 1960, but he believed that President John F.

Barry Goldwater resigned from the Republican Party when the party nominated him for president in 1964.

Unfortunately, it was just for a brief period of time.

He was 53 years old at the time.

Not only was he the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues, but he did so in the most difficult of circumstances.

Throughout his playing career and even beyond, he was a staunch opponent of racism.

With his Major League debut, Jackie Robinson’s campaign against prejudice and injustice had only just begun; in fact, it had only just begun. His distinguished professional career, as well as his subsequent advocacy, distinguish him as a hero.

Suggested Readings

Two Pioneers: How Hank Greenberg and Jackie Robinson Transformed Baseball – and America, by Robert Cottrell, published by Potomac Books in 2012. University of Nebraska Press published Chris Lamb’s book, Conspiracy of Silence: Sportswriters and the Long Campaign to Desegregate Baseball in 2012. Ballantine Books published a biography of Jackie Robinson, written by Arnold Rampersad, in 1998.


J. Tygiel is a writer who lives in New York City (1983). Baseball’s grand experiment: Jackie Robinson and his legacy, published by Oxford University Press in New York. R. Peterson, et al (1970) Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams is a book on the history of legendary black players and all-black professional teams. Oxford University Press is based in New York. A. E. Gurevitz, A. E. Gurevitz (2015). “Breaking Baseball’s Color Line” is the title of this article.

Five Important Years in Jackie Robinson’s Life

Jackie Robinson (1919 – 1972) is renowned for breaking down the color barrier in major league baseball and for his achievements in the sport of baseball, which is America’s favorite pastime. He rose to the status of national hero, with a special place in the hearts of Brooklyn Dodgers supporters. 1962 marked the year that he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The exception was two difficult years in which he made a promise to Dodgers owner Branch Rickey that he would remain silent in the face of racist taunts.

Here are five years in which Robinson made significant personal and public statements, whether as a professional athlete or as a champion for civil rights.


First and foremost, Robinson took a stand as a commissioned second lieutenant in the United States Army, stationed in Texas, long before Jackie Robinson broke down the color barrier in Major League Baseball and before Rosa Parks gained national attention in December 1955 by refusing to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama He refused to relocate to the rear of a military bus when the driver asked him to do so while on the road.

Ultimately, his stubbornness resulted in his detention and subsequent court martial.

More information regarding his case may be found in a blog post by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.


On the first day of the baseball season, April 15, Jackie Robinson made his major – debut as the first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, wearing the number 42 uniform. At Ebbets Field, he not only played the Boston Braves, but he also faced a crowd of 26,623 people, many of whom were watching for the first time in their lives as they witnessed a black player in the major leagues. That day, Robinson became the first African-American player in Major League Baseball. News of his signing with the Dodgers had nearly triggered a walkout by National League clubhouses opposed to desegregation in baseball only days before.

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Robinson had a difficult, but great, first season.

In September, he was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which highlighted the racially-motivated, rough treatment Robinson had received from opposing teams, writing: “It had only been a month since St.

It’s possible that it was an accident, but Jackie doesn’t believe it was.

A large number of other people who attended the performance felt the same way. Jackie clenched his teeth and didn’t say anything. “He didn’t have the guts to do it.” Read the story in the New York Times about Robinson’s debut game at Ebbets Field.


Robinson’s most successful season in baseball was in 1949. In addition to boosting his batting average to.342, he collected 203 hits, 16 home runs, 124 runs batted in, led the league in stolen bases with 37, and finished second in doubles and triples. He was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player, and fans chose him to start at second base in the first All-Star Game to feature African-American players, which took place in 1997. Outside of the stadium, the athlete enjoyed a historic year as a whole.

Robinson also received an unexpected call from the House Un-American Activities Committee, which he agreed to testify before.

Robinson’s only response was that Robeson’s alleged comment was “silly.” He also expressed confusion as to why a baseball player was being asked to participate in a “public dispute.” In terms of Robinson’s personal life, he and his wife Rachel just purchased a property in St.

By the end of 1949, preparations for the filmThe Jackie Robinson Story, in which Robinson played himself and Ruby Dee played his wife, were well underway.


Guests of Grossinger’s Resort in Liberty, New York include Jackie Robinson and his wife Rachel, as well as their three children Jackie Jr., David and Sharon. Rachel Robinson provided the photograph. Following his retirement from baseball and while working as Vice President for Chock Full of Nuts, Jackie Robinson began writing a weekly column for the New York Post’s sports section, which he continued until his death in 1992. It was written in collaboration with Bill Branch, although it was released under Robinson’s byline because of the collaboration.

Robinson made it a point to address topics that were not directly related to athletics.

A collection of Robinson’s columns from the New York Post and other publications.


On the eve of the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco, 35,000 activists demanding civil rights marched across the city. Jackie Robinson (fourth from left) and others were among them. In the spring of 1964, civil rights rallies in Birmingham, Alabama, to desegregate businesses and lunch counters were in full swing, and Jackie Robinson flew to Birmingham to lend his support. At the conclusion of that year, Robinson made a commitment to himself, saying, “Whenever and wherever in the South the leaders feel I can help just a tad bit, that is where I aim to go.” In order to earn bail money for imprisoned demonstrators, Robinson staged a benefit performance on the lawn of his house in Stamford, Connecticut, including jazz greats.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Remembering that day, Robinson remarked, “I have never been more pleased to be an African-American.” “I have never been more pleased to be an American than I am right now.” On September 15, 1963, when a white supremacist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, resulted in the deaths of four young girls, Robinson assisted in organizing a gathering in front of the Hotel Theresa on 125th Street in Harlem.

One of the speakers Robinson introduced was Malcolm X, who has been a longstanding admirer of Robinson’s work.

Breaking the Color Line: 1940 to 1946

By the 1940s, organized baseball had been segregated on the basis of race for several years. Several members of the black press, as well as some of their white colleagues, have long advocated for baseball’s integration. Mr. Wendell Smith, of the Pittsburgh Courier, was particularly outspoken. After World War II, many people began to criticize segregation policies as a result of their experiences. The “great experiment” (see Jules Tygiel’sBaseball’s Great Experimentin the bibliography) was started by Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey after various persons in major league baseball attempted to remove segregation in the sport without success.

  • Robinson would go on to play in the major leagues for the first time the following year.
  • While their own teams were on the road, several owners of major league clubs rented out their stadiums to teams from the National Football League (NFL).
  • Some business owners were also concerned that a white audience would be hesitant to attend games featuring black athletes.
  • A speech to the One Hundred Percent Wrong Club in 1956 provided Rickey with an opportunity to reflect on the difficulties he was experiencing and the circumstances that shaped his decisions during this period.
  • branch rickey He is commemorated on his Hall of Fame plaque for both his role in the development of baseball’s farm system in the 1920s and his signing of Jackie Robinson.
  • At the time of his employment with the Cardinals, he had been particularly dissatisfied with the team’s policy of denying African-Americans access to grandstand seats.
  • Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday, October 31, 1955.) Rickey became a member of the Dodgers in 1942, and he immediately began working on efforts to introduce black players to the organization.

He would also need to be a strong individual who could agree to refrain from engaging in open conflict when confronted with hostility and insults, at least for a period of time.

It wasn’t until 1948 that a presidential decree desegregated the armed services, and it wasn’t until 1954 that the Supreme Court prohibited segregated public schools.

His mother relocated the family to Pasadena, California, in 1920, and Robinson went on to attend John Muir Technical High School and Pasadena Community College before moving to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1930.

As a result, he had gained valuable expertise via participation in integrated sports.

When he was drafted in 1942, he was stationed at military stations in Kansas and Texas.

Robinson was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant shortly after.

The order was found to be in breach of Army regulations, and he was found not guilty.

Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey first met in August 1945 at the Brooklyn Dodgers’ office, after Branch Rickey had scouted a number of players from the NegroLeague.

During the discussion, Rickey disclosed that he wanted Robinson to join the Los Angeles Dodgers’ big league team.

Robinson maintained his calm and agreed to a deal with the Montreal Royals, a Triple-A minor league farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Rickey quickly signed additional black players to contracts, but Robinson remained the center of attention.

Robinson’s signing was reported in both the black and white press.

A letter from Robinson to Rickey was preserved in the Branch Rickey Papers as a response to Rickey.

When Robinson, wearing the number 42 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in April 1947, he became the first player in big league history to do so after a good season in the minor leagues with the Montreal Royals in 1946.

  • Branch Rickey is the manager and owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Harold Rhodenbaugh captured this image (Look staff photographer). “A Branch Grows in Brooklyn,” Look, March 19, 1946, p. 70, contains a photomechanical reproduction of the image. (Source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction: LC-USZ62-119888)
  • Jackie Robinson in Kansas City Monarchs uniform. (Source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction: LC-USZ62-119888). From the 1945 issue of The Call (Kansas City), a photograph. (From the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.) The Call has granted permission for this reprint. Ordering a reproduction (reproduction number: on order). In 1945, Robinson appeared in 47 games for the Monarchs of the Negro American League, as well as the East-West All-Star game
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Vol. 3, plates 334 and 335, edition copyrighted in 1937
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (updated 1951). Sanborn Map Company is the publisher of this map (Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division). EDR Sanborn, Inc. has granted permission for this reprint. Blues Stadium was the home of both the American Association Kansas City Blues and the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs during their respective tenures in Kansas City. The land, which had previously served as a frog pond, swimming hole, and ash heap, was transformed into a baseball field in 1923. A portable lighting system was installed on the field by J. Leslie Wilkinson, the facility’s inaugural owner, so that games in the Negro League could be played at night. Despite the fact that it took two hours to set up, this invention made it impossible for fielders to see fly balls and hitters to see pitches, and it generated so much noise that the center fielders were unable to hear the infielders. Despite the harsh circumstances produced for the players by the night-lighting system, it boosted ticket sales and allowed the Monarchs to survive the Great Depression. At the period from 1923 to 1972, when the last game was played at Blues Stadium, the stadium’s dimensions and fence height altered more frequently than in any other baseball stadium. Jackie Robinson played for the Monarchs in Blues Stadium for a brief period in 1945 before being purchased by Branch Rickey. Lobby card for the documentary The Jackie Robinson Story. Pathe Industries acquired the copyright in 1950. (Library of Congress, Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZC4-6146.) Scene in which Branch Rickey interviews Jackie Robinson

See an extract from the script as well as some lobby cards from “The Jackie Robinson Story.”

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