Today would’ve been Jackie Robinson’s 94th birthday.
Jackie Robinson came from a time that most of us today only read about in books. Born in 1919 to sharecroppers in Georgia, Jackie Robinson grew up to change the game of baseball.
Adversity was nothing new for Robinson. Growing up, his family was the only African American family on their block. He went on to UCLA to be the first athlete to letter in four different sports. After being forced to leave college, he went into the Army, where the racial difficulties followed him. He was court marshalled for speaking out against racial inequalities. He eventually left the Army on honorable discharge.
After playing one season in the Negro Baseball League, Robinson was noticed by Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey and was asked about playing for his team. This allowed Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier that had been placed on the league for over 50 years.
He went on to be named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1947. He led the league in stolen bases in 1947 and 1949. He led second basemen in double plays from 1949-1952. Also in 1949 he was named the NL MVP and led the league in batting, hitting .342. He was selected as an All Star from 1949-1954. He had a career batting average of .311, led the Dodgers to 6 World Series, winning one.
After his baseball career was over, he went on to be actively involved with the NAACP to ensure that he maintained his positive example for not only African Americans, but for people everywhere. Robinson passed away in October of 1972.
Robinson had such an impact on baseball that he is honored every year on Jackie Robinson Day. Every player wears the number 42 to honor Robinson.
In April, 2013, a film about Robinson’s life will be released by Warner Brothers. The movie is simply entitled, “42”.
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