Jack Roosevelt Robinson, or Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. Robinson was raised in a family of five by a single mother and grew up in poverty. Robinson crossed barriers when he became the first Black athlete to play Major League Baseball when he signed to join the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Prior to Robinson's MLB commitment he played four different sports in highschool: football, basketball, track, and baseball. He had influence from his older brother Matthew to pursue baseball even further, so Jackie went to UCLA where he became the first student to ever win varsity letters in four sports. Although Robinson was never able to graduate from UCLA due to financial difficulties. Robinson then went into the army to fight for the U.S. during world war two. By the time 1944 rolled around, Robinson began to play on the "Negro Leagues" when the sport was still segregated.
Robinson always had a passion for playing baseball and different sports throughout his childhood. Robinson played four different sports in highschool: football, track and field, baseball, and basketball. Robinson continued to play all four throughout college at the University of California Los Angeles, but ultimately dropped out. Robinson did not continue his baseball career until after he was discharged from the war in 1944. Robinson started out in the Negro Leagues, but was chosen by the President of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, to play for them in order to integrate the sport of baseball. Robinson persevered through many trials and tribulations of racism and had his first game with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947. By 1955 Jackie helped lead his team to the World Series in which they finally won. The Brooklyn Dodgers also won many National League pennants several times, and every accomplishment Robinson made was a stride towards equality for all.
Because Robinson was the first Black Major League Baseball player, there were not many awards and titles that he had a fair chance at winning. Although Robinson persevered through the constant and consistent racism that came his way everyday and managed to be recognized for his achievements. In Robinson's first year he batted .297 with 12 home runs and helped the Dodgers win the National League pennant. Robinson won Rookie of the Year for his incredible contributions and teamwork. During the 1949 season Robinson had a phenomenal batting average of .342 which was incredibly rare during that time. By 1955 Robinson had helped the Brooklyn Dodgers win the World Series and also helped his team win against the famed New York Yankees. Finally, Robinson also helped his team win the National League pennant one more time as well. By December of 1956, Robinson was traded to the New York Giants but ended up retiring before he could play for them.
Jackie Robinson was raised by his single mother, Mallie Robinson in a household with his four siblings Mack, Edward, Frank, and Willa. Robinson's brother, Mack, was also an extremely talented athlete and even went to the Olympics and won a silver medal in the track and field division.
Robinson made incredible strides toward eliminating segregation and bringing equality to the sports world by being the first Black major league baseball player. Robinson was very vocal about civil rights during his life and in 1949 even testified about discrimination before the House Un-American Activites Committee. Robinson also made waves for calling out the New York Yankees for not breaking the color barrier when they had not signed a Black player to their team five years after Robinson was signed to the Dodgers. After Robinson's death, his wife started the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which helps struggling young people that are in financial need with scholarships and mentoring programs.
Jackie Robinson wore the number 42 jersey throughout his whole athletic career. On the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first major league baseball game with the Brooklyn Dodgers, a ceremony took place at Shea Stadium to mark the anniversary of that monumental event. This ceremony retired Robinson's number in order to uphold his legacy and all that he had done for the MLB community and the Black community as well.
Jackie Robinson was known to be an exceptional base runner and had incredible stats all around during his baseball career. Robinson stole home 19 times during his time as a player, setting a league record. Robinson has a .311 batting average, 137 home runs, 4877 times at bat, 734 runs batted in, 197 stolen bases, .409 on base percentage, and an impressive .883 on base slugging. Overall Robinson stats were extremely impressive and are still some of the best baseball stats out there today.
Jackie Robinson stated that during his time as a Major League Baseball player, he wanted to fight for breaking down the color barrier that blocked him and so many other Black baseball players from truly participating in the sport that they cared so much about. After World War II ended and Jackie was recruited to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he had a mission in mind to finally end the segregation barrier that restricted him from doing what he loved fully and Robinson completed that mission.
Jackie Robinson was a hero because of the barriers he broke down while playing in the Major Leagues. Before Robinson there were no Black athletes allowed to play in the Major Leagues because of segregation and the civil rights movement had not taken place yet. Without Robinson's commitment to the team and sticking out the constant racism directed towards him segregation would have lasted much longer in the baseball community.